Welcome to William Schoell's GREAT OLD MOVIES blog. Feel free to leave a comment regardless of the date the review was posted -- I read 'em all. Or if you prefer -- and especially if you have any questions directly for me -- email me at tawses67424@mypacks.net and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Click on a label link (labels can be found at the bottom of each post) to find other movies from that year, the star, that director or genre and so on. Or enter a title, director, genre, star or supporting player in the small Blogger "search blog" box at the far left up above and click search blog. [NOTE: While this blog mostly reviews films -- and TV shows -- that are at least twenty-five years old, we do cover films up until the present day.] HAVE FUN AND THANKS FOR DROPPING BY. William.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


HUMAN DESIRE (1954). Director: Fritz Lang.

Vicki Buckley (Gloria Grahame) is married to the rather bestial and jealous Carl (Broderick Crawford) who forces her to accompany him when he plans to murder one of her alleged lovers. Into this unpleasant mix comes railroad engineer Jeff Warren (Glenn Ford), who falls for Vicki and whom she hopes will help her get out of the trap that her marriage has become. The opening with the train zooming along is excellent, and everything that follows certainly holds the attention, but a big problem with the picture is that it has no real climax. Brockerick is terrific; Ford gives one of his better performances; and Grahame has her moments as the femme fatale but she's uneven and never altogether convincing. Well-directed by Lang and beautifully photographed by Burnett Guffey. Despite her somewhat cold nature, it's hard not to see Vicki in part as a victim, but the film doesn't encourage the audience to feel much sympathy for her. Kathleen Case as the "good girl" in the story is just as sexy as the bad girl, if not more so. Her first appearance, filling out her sweater, makes you wonder why Warren even bothered with Vicki. Inspired by a novel by Emile Zola.

Verdict: Compelling if imperfect. ***.


Colin said...

I like this film a lot and I'm actually a bit disappointed and puzzled that it doesn't look like it's going to make it onto either of the two forthcoming noir sets from Sony - an odd omission.

I'm probably more forgiving of Gloria Grahame than you Bill, I think she's wonderful in just about everything I've seen her in. A very balanced review though.

William said...

Thanks for your comments, Colin. I actually like Grahame a lot, and she certainly wasn't bad in this film. She had a unique quality, didn't she? -- William