Viki Buckley: “When I first came to live here I thought I’d never get used to the trains…”
The sound of passing trains, a maze of railroad tracks (entwining, separating… just like people’s lives), steam coming out from engines.. (the heat of desire…) are always present in this bleak movie.
The cold, gloomy railway stations are the setting for this destructive love story.
Human desire - a melodrama with noir aesthetics and pessimism - is based on a novel by Émile Zola which had already been made into a film by Jean Renoir.
Viki (Gloria Grahame) is a femme fatale who drags Corea war veteran Jeff Warren (Glenn Ford) to a passionate love affair. She plans the murder of her violent jealous husband Carl (Broderick Crawford) – a fact that may remind us of Double Indemnity.
In this movie Columbia was taking advantage of the success of the couple Ford-Grahame in “The Big Heat” (also directed by Lang); the chemistry between the two stars is still there but not as thrilling as it was in the former film.All in all Human desire is a good Lang film in a period when the German director made a series of remarkable films.