"The Wages Of Fear" by director Henri-Georges Clouzot is a classic example of an action/suspense film for the thinking man. Filmed almost fifty years ago, the story and cinematography hold up well, much better than those of many American films that were produced during that time frame, c. 1955.
The story: Four drifters (presumably in exile from native France) are hired to drive two tanker trucks of nitro glycerine through rugged South American terrain in order to to extinguish an oil well fire. In the series of events that follows, the four encounter a variety of circumstances that threaten to end the road trip and send them to kingdom come.
"The Wages Of Fear" is not the sort of film that you'll see on "Dinner and a Movie"; The landscape, the cast and the ensuing events as portrayed in the movie typify a sort of squalid existence that most people, fortunately, never have to deal with. "The Wages Of Fear" is most definitely NOT a "date" film.
The film is french, in glorious black and white, with subtitles and some spoken english. Yves Montand and Charles Vanel give solid performances, as do Peter van Eyck and Folco Lulli. The direction of Clouzot helps to wonderfully illustrate the unfolding story of the four, and is simply outstanding.
A previous reviewer mentioned that a 1977 remake, William Friedken's "Sorcerer," is also a good film. He's absolutely correct; it is. However, "Sorcerer," was filmed in color, not black and white. And because the film's spoken language is English, the tone of the film is a little different. "Sorcerer" is a little bit softer around the edges, and not as dark.
"The Wages Of Fear" isn't a film that I'd like to watch on a regular basis - it is a rather dark film. However, it is worth seeing more than once. It's an impressive film.