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

4.6 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter van Eyck, Véra Clouzot, Folco Lulli
  • Directors: Henri-Georges Clouzot
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Import
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: April 21 2009
  • Run Time: 148 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B001PYD0KM
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Product Description

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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: DVD
"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.
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Format: DVD
Bless Criterion for giving us this oft-fogotten masterpiece. All the griping about anti-Americanism and slow-moving set-up is just minutae. The pace is almost unnerving. The most telling scene happens a little over halfway through the film: Two trucks loaded with decaying sticks of dynamite, spaced apart for safety, each take a different approach to a portion of the road where it is necessary to drive over a long stretch wooden ties. The men in the first truck choose to move slowly, minimizing the jostling of the dynamite. Unable to communicate with the first truck, the men driving the second decide to maintain a speed which will enable the tires to glide over the bumps with ease. The ensuing panic caused when the second truck closes on the first, neither able to change speed without causing the dynamite to explode, is unrelenting. You expect that a last-minute save will happen, but as more and more of these sorts of situations occur, the less convinced you are that anyone will survive their torturous journey. That is just a small portion of the many moments of anguish and fear the four principle characters face.
It is funny that some reviewers have commented on how different the film would be if done-up Hollywood style. Well, William Friedken did just that in his 1977 follow-up to The Exorcist. Entitled "Sorcerer," his re-make of this film is actually quite good, and while certainly different at times (it's about a half-hour shorter for one thing), comes out much the same. I used to point folks to Friedken's film (when WOF was still hard to find), because I think it is just about as good. One thing you get in Friedken's version is a glimpse at the events which lead the four priciples into hiding in the first place.
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