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The Wages of Fear

by

Roger Davidson

The Wages of Fear
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Here is a film that could almost be two films in one. Director Henri Georges-Clouzet's masterpiece takes place in a dying village in South America, where people from all over the world are living life on the streets and bars of this small town. The town is run by the Southern Oil Company (SOC), which profits at the expense of the villagers. After a fire breaks out at one of the oil fields, killing a good deal of the workers, the company asks for experienced drivers to haul a truckload of nitroglycerine across the dangerous mountain roads. Two trucks are to be loaded with the cargo and two people per truck. Four men are picked out from village. A rather handsome Corsican (famed French actor, Yves Montand), his husky Italian roommate (Folco Lulli), an egotistical German (Peter Van Eyck) and a fugitive French gangster (Charles Vanel).

Here's where the real fun begins. The four truckers face danger after danger, trying to get their cargo through safely, without blowing up. The film could be two films in one. The first half introduces us to the villager's and company's characters and lifestyles. The second half is the best. Incredibly suspenseful in every detail. There are many moments, where danger is barely avoided, that just make you want to go "phew!" The performances by Vanel and Montand, as friends that stick together all the way through, are excellent. One of the best films I've ever seen, The Wages of Fear is a definite must-see.

My Rating = Four Stars


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