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FILM NOIR: La Bete Humaine (1938)

Based on a novel by Emile Zola

Screenplay by Jean Renoir

Directed by Jean Renoir

French with English subtitles

Jean Gabin. Simone Simon, Fernand Ledoux

Zola loves the working class! In this case, the story focuses on railway workers.

The station master, Roubard (Ledoux) murders the wealthy lover of his wife Severine (Simon) on a train. The lover is lured by Severine and she is fully aware of his fate. There is one problem. Railway engineer Jacques Lantier (Gabin) sees the couple enter one of the cabins and pull down the blinds. Later, the wealthy man is found dead.

Knowing they have been discovered, Saverine flirts and befriends Lantier, so he will not reveal what he knows to the police. Soon, Saverine and Lantier fall in love. Fearing Roubard, Saverine convinces Lantier to kill her husband. Both stalk the man at night, but when Lantier has the opportunity to ambush Roubard, he looses his nerve. Saverine is furious.

If Saverine had reason to fear her husband, she has yet to find out that Lantier is even more deadly.