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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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La Bete Humaine response


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#1 piperhaven

piperhaven

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 11:27 AM

The opening scenes are a metaphor for the trajectory of the plot of the film.-  the speed of the train wheels, the scream of the whistle, the roar of the engine and the flames convey a sense of dangerous passion. What is more, we are watching man and machine working together, each mutually dependent.  As the engine is driven by fire, so the men need their cigarettes.  They communicate with body language and unintelligible sounds, human beasts in fact.  This is significantly different from Chaplin's Modern Times which portrays mankind as a prisoner of the machine.  The train passes through tunnels, alluding to dark passages in the narrative.  Arriving at last at Le Havre, music is added to the soundtrack.  It has the grandeur which evokes a sense of achievement.  Gabin checks his watch as if to confirm they have arrived on time or maybe beaten a record.  As the train slows, so does the music.  We have arrived and it is good.

These scenes do not necessarily signal a film noir but on reading the plot, you will find that we are deep in noir country.  It is reminiscent of Double Indemnity and you can't get more noir than that.






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