Steam on Film: “La bête humaine” (1938) – Slides & Vids

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Some of the most beautiful scenes of vintage European steam in film were crafted in French filmmaker Jean Renoir’s 1938 film entitled La Bête humaine (English: The Human Beast; and in the UK released also as Judas Was a Woman).

The film centers on an express train engineer who discovers his wife was seduced by a wealthy godfather and plots their murder. This murder is witnessed by a co-railway worker.  The plot complexifies further with the ramifications of this murderous path.

The express steam train pulled by French steam type 231 plays a major star role in the movie throughout, representing and symbolizing the human journeys, with beautiful photography and atmosphere.

Read more here:


IMDb site

Here are some clips:

Great Railway Stations: Gare du Nord

Looking up at the face of Gare du Nord. Photo by Mark Hillary (flickr).

Railway stations, especially in the Golden Age of railroad travel from around the 1920s to 1950, were the centerpieces of location and identity.  Most often, the rail station was the center of a town’s activity which housed all things having to do with everyday postal mail, links to other transportation, and were noted for some of the finest hotel and dining experiences.

The architecture of the rail station was a thoughtful project that reflected the city, town, or village’s personality and showcased themselves to the world’s passengers that came to and through.

This photo is the face of the famous railroad station in Paris, the Gare du Nord, meaning “North Station,” which is one of the six largest railway terminals of Paris and is the busiest station in Europe today.

French Railways – The Glorious 241.A.65

The SCNF beautiful and elegant 241.A.65 is one of my all-time favorites, along with Germany’s 010 series locomotives, the USA’s NYC Niagaras and Hudsons, the C&O614, and UP844, Japan’s C62,  Spain’s 4-8-4s, the UK’s ‘The Duke,’ Russia’s Pm36 and the Czech Republic’s ‘Albatross.’

The 241 and 242 series locomotives were among the later steam engines to be built for France’s Railways and were among the largest in Europe.

In the videos below, we can capture some recent glimpses of the magnificent artistry and power of this locomotive.

Coupled with the beautiful and famous 241.P.17 on May 2009 in Koblenz.

Riding on the doubleheader!

A wonderful portrait of the 241A standing in display.

Rapperswill tour in 2009.