La Bete Humaine [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1938]

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La Bete Humaine [Criterion Collection] (DVD)  (Black & White)  (French)  1938 - Larger Front
La Bete Humaine [Criterion Collection] (DVD) (Black & White) (French) 1938
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Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer of the original, uncensored version
  • Introduction to the film by Jean Renoir
  • New interview with director Peter Bogdanovich
  • Archival footage of Renoir directing actress Simone Simon, and interviews with Renoir, Émile Zola scholar Henri Mitterand, and others on adapting Zola to the screen
  • Gallery of on-set photographs and theatrical posters
  • Theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • A booklet featuring critic Geoffrey O'Brien, film historian Ginette Vincendeau, and production designer Eugène Lourié


La Bête Humaine
Based on a novel by Emile Zola, La Bete Humaine weaves a mesmerizing tale of a tragic triangle. Train engineer Jean Gabin lusts after Simone Simon, the wife of his co-worker Fernand Ledoux. When Ledoux is in danger of losing his job, Simon offers herself to her husband's boss. In jealous pique, Ledoux kills the man. Gabin is witness to this, so Simon promises to reward him sexually if he'll keep quiet. As this romance intensifies, Simon tries to finagle Gabin into killing Ledoux. Sick of the whole sordid affair, Gabin murders Simon and then kills himself. When Fritz Lang remade La Bete Humaine as Human Desire in 1953, he carefully copied several of the best visual selections made by Jean Renoir in the original film; what he was not permitted to copy was the story itself, which had to be heavily laundered to accommodate Hollywood's censorship limitations. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Jean Gabin
    Jean Gabin - Jacques Lantier
  • Simone Simon
    Simone Simon - Séverine
  • Julien Carette
    Julien Carette - Pecqueux
  • Fernand Ledoux
    Fernand Ledoux - Robaud, Séverine's Husband
  • Jean Renoir
    Jean Renoir - Cabuche, the Poacher
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