Week One of the Summer of Darkness I twittered the comment that I couldn’t wait to watch this movie because it featured the actor Jean Gabin (loved him in Moontide with Ida Lupino). I was doubly blessed when I found the DVD in the Criterion Collection. I was able to watch the movie plus the interview with Director Jean Renoir about the making of the movie.
La Bete Humaine was made in 1938. Gabin’s character is in love with two women, Simone Simon and Lison the Locomotive he engineers between Le Havre and Paris. Renoir states he chose Simone for the ‘vamp’ as he put it because she had an innocent face. Renoir and Gabin ever the realists never shared with train passengers that sometimes the engineer at the throttle driving their train was Jean Gabin himself. This movie is pre- Double Indemnity (1944), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) but follows the same type scenario. I’m hoping some of those Noir buffs got a chance to watch it.