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The Wages Of Fear - Criterion Collection [Blu-ray] (Version française) [Import]

Yves Montand , Charles Vanel , Henri-Georges Clouzot    Unrated   Blu-ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
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Henri-Georges Clouzot's gripping 1953 thriller throws four men into a primal struggle against the jungle armed with modern machinery and their own nerves and endurance. The squalid, isolated South American town of Las Piedras is a veritable refuge turned prison for criminals from all over the world. When an oil fire ignites 300 miles away, dozens of desperate volunteers apply for the dangerous job of driving highly volatile nitroglycerin across rugged jungle roads--for a $2,000 payday. The bulk of the film charts the slow, grueling trek over bumpy, pothole-dotted dirt roads and worse. A dangerous cutback forces the trucks to back over a rotting wooden platform built over a cliff, a boulder in the road must be blasted away, and a river of oil (gushing from a broken pipeline) must be forded--all with one ton of explosive nitro resting in the back of each truck. The ordeal forges a tough-guy trust between German Bimba (Peter Van Eyck) and Italian Luigi (Folco Lulli) but tears apart Frenchmen Mario (Yves Montand) and Jo (Charles Vanel). Former gangland hotshot Jo finds his once-fearless exterior cracked, while Mario discovers in himself a new grit and tenacity. Clouzot's stark, simple imagery and painstaking attention to detail create a riveting tension that never lets up, intensified by the ruthless drive of Mario, who proves he will do anything--anything--to get his truck through. William Freidkin remade the film in 1977 as the stylish Sorcerer. --Sean Axmaker

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HEART-GRABBING, NIHILISTIC RIDE ON BLU-RAY ! April 21 2009
Format:Blu-ray
Criterion's restored hi-def transfer of Henri-Georges Clouzot's controversial, visceral and prescient thriller still grabs the viewer by the throat for a breathless, nihilistic ride.

This iconic film of suspense and despair was deemed 'evil' by Time magazine during its 1955 US release. Based on the harrowing 1950 book by George Arnaud, it's a cautionary tale of the true blood toll of oil and greed.

Filmed in 1951 and first shown in France in 1952, 'The Wages of fear' (Le Salaire de la peur) is about four European men at the end of their ropes in a hell-hole of a South American village who accept a job from an American oil company to drive two trucks of unstable nitroglycerine along a treacherous mountain route to an oil fire.

Clouzot, who made less than a dozen films including the acclaimed 'Les Diaboliques' and 'Quai des orfevres' never flinches from his vision. Although the first half seems a bit unfocused and meandering as we get to know our characters, the squalid S.A. setting and the uncaring, greed-driven, business-as-usual of the American oil company, the movie literally jump starts when the four hapless men hit the road in their two trucks overloaded with nitro. We know these men. And we ride with them and their emotions. Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter van Eyck and Antonio Centa are terrific as the frantic, fraught drivers.

There's a lot of post WW II existential angst in this tale and that's not surprising. After all, it is French and the ideas of Camus and Sartre permeate this film as they did the decade in which it was produced.

My only memory of this film was a washed out video tape copy with impossible to read subtitles and later a faded 16mm print in film school.
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Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I had waited for at least 30 years for a refurbished version of The Wages of Fear, and now I have it! The BluRay version is the best and latest technology, and I have the choice of watching it with subtitles or not. All the low-tech problems of the original have disappeared, leaving the movie in pristine condition, better than the original.
The price was excellent, the delivery quick, and I couldn't be happier.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable Film May 25 2004
Format:DVD
"The Wages of Fear" is considered one of the truly great films. It not only delivers terrific suspense and excitement, it is also a rather telling comment on the human condition. Some drifters are trapped in a hot, bug-infested South American hell-hole. They are out of luck, out of money and seemingly doomed to remain where they are, fighting hunger, heat and each other. Suddenly, they are offered a small fortune to drive trucks through the jungle, across a mountain range to a destination 300 miles distant. The catch ? The trucks are loaded with nitroglycerine--one bump--one spark--one mistake--and the truck and any unfortunate humans on board are history.
Four men agree to drive two trucks, and their journey will have you biting your finger-nails down to your elbows ! All four actors are fine, with Yves Montand particularly memorable in the lead. I agree with the reviewer who notes that the first half hour of the film is slow, but it sets the mood. It's important to understand why these characters would volunteer for such a "mission impossible", even for a big payday.
The film has a chilling message about the lengths that people will go for money. I couldn't help but consider some of the "reality" television programs we see today like "Fear Factor". It's sad to see what indignities and dangers people will subject themselves to just to make a buck, and how easily they can be exploited.
The picture quality of the DVD is fine. I was surprised to find no extras, given that this is a Criterion release. An interview with one of our current, respected directors would have been a nice bonus. I'm sure that a film buff like Martin Scorsese would have some fascinating comments. Then again--I'm sure he's a busy guy !
Bottom line--a timeless masterpiece for serious film collectors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A superb suspense an anthological film May 3 2004
Format:DVD
Wages of fear is one of the milestones in all the cinema's story.
The lives of two men engaged in a mission that you qualify as no sense. And so that's precisely the most relevant point.
How far can the greed, the ambition generate such tension state when you accept the special condition of carrying this special delivery?
Montand an actor that grew up with la port de la nuit, years before makes an outstanding performance.
The film, far from being dated, it revalues with the years. Maybe this film is the masterpiece of Clouzot.
And it constitutes one of the eleven best french films of that ddecade, together with Rififi, Forbidden games, The four hundred blows, Elevator to the gallows, The amants, Bob le flambeur, Les cousins, Diary of a country priest, Pickpocket and le travesee de Paris.
Buy it this DVD. You'll be always rewarded.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great film but the first part is boring. April 11 2004
By Ted
Format:DVD
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
This is one of the most exciting films that I have seen. The first 35 minutes I think are nonessential to the plot and knind of boring.
In the film, an oil well in South America catches fire and the only way to put it out is with nitroglycerin. There is a stockpile in a town some 300 miles away. The only problem is that they don't have refrigerated trucks. Nitro melts at 86ºF and when in liquid form, the slightest bump can cause it to go off. They hire a team of 4 to carry a couple tons of is across dangerous mountain roads in 2 trucks to where the fire is.
The film will have you on the edge of your seat as they encounter obstacles and poor road conditions. There is a scene when there is a boulder blocking the road and they use the nirto to blow it up.
There are no special features in this edition but it is still a great film that I would like to see remade.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It's the oil, stupid!
There are only 3 reviews of the Blu-Ray version of this masterpiece (compared with 33 for the regular Criterion DVD) and two of these hardly count. Read more
Published on July 22 2011 by David M. Goldberg
4.0 out of 5 stars Road trip of hell
Very dated beginning & end, especially the treatment of women but the actual road trip delivery was nail biting suspence! Read more
Published on July 29 2010 by nobrakes77
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best releases I have seen on Blu-ray
You would think a movie that is two and a half hours long could not be entertaining from start to end, but this one kept me thrilled the whole way through. Read more
Published on July 7 2009 by Rec Puyol
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the weak minded...
"The Wages Of Fear" by director Henri-Georges Clouzot is a classic example of an action/suspense film for the thinking man. Read more
Published on March 24 2004 by TFR
4.0 out of 5 stars A perilous journey
Yves Montand stars in Henri Georges Clouzot's suspenseful 1953 thriller "The Wages of Fear". Read more
Published on March 19 2004 by Cory D. Slipman
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great movie
A great classic and well worth watching a good movie well restored. I am pleased that I was able to obtain it after searching for over a year to get a copy
Published on Jan. 8 2004 by Jon Pridie
5.0 out of 5 stars Awsome movie!
This film is a classic ranked highest in my list. To really apreciate this film, you must see the original version which is in french: "Le salaire de la peur". Read more
Published on Dec 29 2003 by Michel Tremblay
2.0 out of 5 stars Very over-rated with a weak ending.
This film does create some great suspense,but the ending is so contrived and unbelievable that it spoils the whole film,in fact it is a very annoying ending. Read more
Published on Dec 25 2003
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