• Human Desire (Eureka Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Eureka Entertainment
    Released on: February 18th, 2019.
    Director: Fritz Lang
    Cast: Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford
    Year: 1954
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    Human Desire – Movie Reviews:

    A late period film noir directed by the inimitable Fritz Lang, 1954’s Human Desire, adapted from Émile Zola’s novel stars Glenn Ford as a railroad engineer named Jeff Warren. Having just returned home from a tour of duty serving his country in the Korean War, he’s adjusting to life back in America. When a passenger named Vicki Buckley (Gloria Grahame) catches his eye, he does a poor job of hiding his attraction to her, and she responds in kind.

    Of course, Vicki’s got a past and poses no shortage of problems for Jeff. Not only is she the wife of Carl (Broderick Crawford), the hard-drinking supervisor who runs the railyard where Jeff is employed, but she’s also messed up in a murder that Carl committed. To say that her husband is the jealous type is an understatement, and her involvement means that Carl is able to hold sway over her, even while she yearns to be free of him. The solution to their collective problem? Get rid of Carl… permanently.

    Tightly paced and plenty stylish, Human Desire does a fine job of reuniting Lang with the stars of his earlier hit The Big Heat made just a year earlier. And once again, Ford and Grahame do not disappoint. He’s cool, tough, smart and a real man’s man, but there are times where he’s also putty in her hands. She’s equally smart, sexy and manipulative. Both performers play their parts perfectly – you couldn’t ask for anything better. Throw Broderick Crawford into the mix as a man with serious anger issues and a penchant for shocking violence and it’s easy to see why this one remains as well regarded as it is. Supporting work from Edgar Buchanan, Kathleen Case and Peggy Maley is also rock solid.

    Thematically, this one is pretty dark. Not only does it deal with murder but it deals with the resulting cover up and all of the nastiness that comes from that as well. Lang does a great job of exploiting this for our entertainment, with the script from Alfred Hayes doing a fine job of providing all of the drama and tension that the director needed to pull is in hook, line and sinker. The cinematography from Burnett Guffey (who has some pretty prestigious credits to his name like The Harder They Fall, From Here To Eternity and In A Lonely Place) is also fantastic. The movie looks great from start to finish with the widescreen camera work framing the action from the railyard to the living room equally well.

    Human Desire – Blu-ray Review:

    Human Desire Street looks very good indeed on this disc framed at 1.85.1 and presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. The black and white picture shows strong detail throughout, especially in close up shots which really benefit from the added resolution. Some minor specks appear here and there but nothing really distracting at all, while black levels stay pretty deep here without ever crushing things. Compression artifacts don’t factor into this at all, the bit rate stays pretty healthy throughout playback and there’s no evidence of any obvious noise reduction or edge enhancement. This is a nice, film-like transfer that should make fans of this picture very happy.

    The only audio option on the disc is an English language LPCM Mono track, there are no alternate audio options available although removable subtitles are provided, again in English only. This track sounds fine. There’s more depth in some scenes than you might expect to hear while the levels remain properly balanced throughout. If a few spots sound a little flat we can safely assume that’s due to the original recording and not a flaw in the audio on the disc. Hiss and distortion are never a problem and the score sounds quite good, adding to the tension when and where you’d expect it to.

    The main extra on the disc is a new and exclusive interview with film historian Tony Rayns who talks for twenty-nine-minutes about the film’s literary origins and the source material on which it was based, how and why the movie wound up being shot in the locations that it used, some of the original casting ideas, the effectiveness of the performances and, of course, Lang’s work behind the camera. Interesting stuff.

    Aside from that, there’s a trailer included for the feature along with some menus and chapter selection options.

    Human Desire – The Final Word:

    Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame make a fantastic pair in Fritz Lang’s Human Desire. It’s rock solid noir from start to finish, offering up all the suspense and requisite lush visuals you’d hope for alongside some interesting characters and a strong story. Eureka’s Blu-ray release is light on extras but it does look and sound very good, making this one easy to recommend to film noir fans.

    Click on the images below for full sized The Human Desire Blu-ray screen caps!