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Wednesday May 22nd 2024

La BÊte Humaine | 1938

Melodramatic filming of Emil Zola’s novel, with Jean Gabin as Jacques Lantier, the doomed train driver plotting with femme fatale Séverine Roubaud (Simone Simon) to murder her station-master husband.

Lantier’s engine breaks down at Le Havre Station, in Normandie, where there was much location filming. A section of the Roubauds’ apartment was built on a raised platform in the railroad yard at Le Havre to allow views of the sidings from the window.

Similarly, Lantier’s Paris apartment overlooks the exit of the enormous Gare St-Lazare, the third largest railway station in the world, rue St Lazare. The rail journey filmed was on the line from Evreux to Le Havre.

The village where Lantier stops off to see his godmother, is Breauté, about 15 miles from Le Havre.