In the South American jungle supplies of nitroglycerin are needed at a remote oil field. The oil company pays four men to deliver the supplies in two trucks. A tense rivalry develops between the two sets of drivers and on the rough remote roads the slightest jolt can result in death.Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
The film was cut for U.S. distribution in 1954, in part due to scenes that denounced crooked U.S. business interests in Latin America. The Criterion Collection laserdisc restored the film to its uncut version with 21 minutes of footage removed from other versions of the film. See more »
A gripping action film and a powerful study of failure
"The Wages of Fear" was awarded by unanimous verdict the Grand Prix at 1953 Cannes Film Festival where it won over 27 films, some of which were made by Jacques Tati, Alfred Hitchcock, and Luis Buñuel. Cluozot's own screenplay (based a novel by George Arnaud) focuses on four down-and-out European adventurers (Yves Montand, Folco Lulli, Peter Van Eyck, Charles Vanel) who stuck nearly penniless in a festering town in an unnamed South American country. An oil company need a load of highly dangerous and explosive nitroglycerin to be delivered to a remote well fire 300 miles away burning out of control. The route is through jungles and over crude and treacherous mountains and those men are desperate enough to take the chance. None of these men is heroic or generous, they are in for the money. The four were chosen by the managers of oil company because "if something happens to them, no one would care, they have nobody to worry about them". Henri-Georges Clouzot's view on humanity is not particularly optimistic but he finds a way to make a viewer care about disenchanted but desperate characters. Thanks to Clouzot's ability to create not only a gripping action film but a powerful study of failure, the four men will stay for long time in our memory.
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