EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|THE WAGES OF FEAR (LE SALAIRE DE LA PEUR) (director/writer: Henri-Georges Clouzot; screenwriter: from the novel by Georges Arnaud; cinematographer: Armand Thirard; editors: Madeleine Gug/Henri Rust; music: Georges Auric; cast: Yves Montand (Mario), Charles Vanel (Jo), Peter Van Eyck (Bimba), Folco Lulli (Luigi), Vera Clouzot (Linda), William Tubbs (O'Brien), Centa (Chief of "Boss" Camps), Mario Moreno (Hernandez), Jo Dest (Smerloff), Luis De Lima (Bernardo); Runtime: 140; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Raymond Borderie/Henri-Georges Couzot; Image Entertainment; 1953-France-in French with English subtitles)|
exciting existential adventure film."
by Dennis Schwartz
filmmaker Henri-Georges Clouzot
("Manon"/"Inferno"/"Diabolique") directs and scripts
this bleak anti-capitalist exciting existential
adventure film, whose motto is taken from the American
oil company depicted: ”Wherever there’s oil, there’s
Americans” This is Clouzot's best
realized film. It's based on the best-selling novel by
The gritty pic is set in the impoverished, sweltering,
dusty rural fictional town of Las Piedras, in Latin
America, that's under the thumb of an American oil
company. The town draws a number of foreign derelicts,
stranded there without money or work prospects when
their oil company jobs don't pan out. When the
American oil company needs two truck loads of nitro-glycerine
to put out a well fire, a desperate foursome is hired
to take it 300 miles through the jungle and rugged
terrain. They are only given a 50-50 chance, but are
offered good pay ($2,000 for one week of work). The cynical oil boss
manager, Bill O'Brien (William Tubbs), wants two in a
truck and gives them a road test to see who qualifies.
The cocky Corsican lover boy Mario (Yves Montand), the resourceful loner
Dutchman named Bimba (Peter Van Eyck), the genial
terminal lung illness bricklayer Italian Luigi (Folco
Lulli) and the older French con man on the run Jo (Charles Vanel) are finally hired. Jo
might have murdered Smerloff (Jo Dest), to be his replacement when Jo doesn't
show for the midnight run.
The suspense mounts as the
men risk their lives for a paycheck and must overcome
truck breakdowns, a fragile bridge crossing, a boulder
on the road, passing through a pool of oil, their own
stress and riding for long stretches with explosives
on roads that are bumpy.
Vera Clouzot, the
director's wife, plays the cleaning lady bar maid in
Hernandez's hotel, whose lover is Mario. Her role took
away from the pic's authenticity as she was hardly
William Friedkin directed the inferior American remake, Sorcerer, in 1977.
REVIEWED ON 3/23/2013 GRADE: A
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ