Based on the classic Emile Zola novel, Jean Renoir’s La Bête humaine was one of the legendary director’s greatest popular successes—and earned star Jean Gabin a permanent place in the hearts of his countrymen. Part poetic realism, part film noir, the film is a hard-boiled and suspenseful journey into the tormented psyche of a workingman. —The Criterion Collection
The son of the painter Auguste Renoir, Jean Renoir became one of France’s most important and respected filmmakers during the middle of the 20th century. A Philosophy and Math student, Renoir became a cavalryman, but was invalided out of the army before World War I. Later, he married a model and aspiring actress, and, following the death of his father and the acquisition of an inheritance, set up his own production company to produce movies for his wife. Renoir learned from these early experiences of financing movies and watching other films, and became a director in 1924. With the advent of sound, Renoir’s career was quickly made with a series of profitable films, including La Chienne (1931), a savage and dark drama about a man’s self-destruction, which was later remade by Fritz Lang as Scarlet Street. Renoir’s subsequent films, including The Lower Depths (1936) and Grand Illusion (1937), were among the finest made in France before the war, and were well acknowledged at the time of… read more
Gabin gives one of his finest performances in Renoir's powerful and atmospheric adaptation of Zola's novel. The film fits easily into the genre of poetic realism that was so prevalent in French cinema at the time and is also a precursor to the film noir movement which came to prominence in the next decade. Simon is the femme fatale trying to tempt Gabin's tormented train driver into murdering her husband. Gripping...
A tale of a murderous ménage à trois, infused with rich symbolism and social commentary by the undisputed master of early French cinema.
Director Jean Renoir veers from his humanist… read review
La Bête Humaine (1938) The Human Beast
Jean Renoir adapted this film from a novel by Emile Zola because its star Jean Gabin wanted to do a film about locomotives and… read review