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  • Criterion Collection: Wages of Fear [Blu-ray] [1953] [US Import]
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Criterion Collection: Wages of Fear [Blu-ray] [1953] [US Import]

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Product details

  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: NR (Not Rated) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001PYD0KM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 81,792 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 13 Sept. 2002
Format: DVD
We can thank the Movie Gods that Jean Gabin didn't want to play a coward or else we'd never have had Charles Vanel's superb performance in Clouzot's The Wages of Fear: it's notable that Friedkin's intriguingly feverish but suspense-free remake didn't even attempt to give its equivalent deadbeat killer a similar arc, despite the fact that the character and his curious shifting relationship with Yves Montand cuts to the very core of the story's take on the nature of courage, bravado and machismo. At the beginning of the film Vanel is the tough guy who can walk the walk, while Montand is his puppy doggish sidekick, throwing over his best friend for his new crush until his feet of clay are revealed when the chips are down. Even in a place where, in the absence of white women the white men cling to each other, this relationship seems to go a few steps beyond mere hero-worship, but when they hit the road the power in the relationship shifts, and in the process we get to watch Yves Montand become a genuine movie star before our very eyes, which is almost as exciting as the road trip to Hell with a truckload of unstable nitro and miles of very, very bumpy roads. Almost, because I doubt there's anything to beat the film's extraordinary double-jeopardy sequence on a rotting platform on a mountain road - a scene pretty much done for real - which takes your breath away until you suddenly realize that the second truck is going to have to do the same thing in even worse conditions... I remember when I saw that at a revival house a couple of years ago I genuinely forgot to breathe during that sequence, and found myself doing the same even on DVD.Read more ›
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By James Miller on 19 Jun. 2004
Format: DVD
This is one of my favourite foreign language films. A true masterpiece of suspense, nerve-jangling tension, excitement with a cool French existentialist philosophy underpinning it all. The Wages of Fear would certainly be a contender in my Top Ten films ever made.
BUT, please don't waste your money on this DVD of the film. The print that was used is in a shocking condition. It is dirty, out of focus, creaky, and the subtitles are so faint they are barely readable. I think it was a disgrace to release a DVD in this condition at all. Without doubt it is worse than VHS, in fact the copy I have, taped off the TV about ten years ago is MUCH better even now. I had hoped to replace it with a sharp DVD edition, but this was a complete waste of money.
As well as the technical shortcomings there are also no DVD extras at all, when a classic like this should be accompanied by documentaries about its greatness and great influence on scores of action films since.
If any film is crying out for restoration and remastering this 1954 French classic is it - especially if this is the best print available for the public in 2004.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Jun. 2007
Format: DVD
The Wages of Fear is a magnificent thriller, the last hour-and-a-half of which will have you chewing your nails up to your wrists. The first hour is interesting but, to my mind, a bit slow. We spend a lot of time getting to know the squalor of Las Piedras. The anti-American point of view now just seems quaint.

Las Piedras is a tiny South American (or possibly Central American) town that reeks of poverty and bakes in the hot sun. Children with sores, tired donkeys and mangy dogs fill the dirt streets. It's the final stop for down-and-outers whose only hope is to find work with the Southern Oil Company (you can infer SOC easily is a stand-in for Standard Oil), which dominates the place. "Americans here? You kidding?" says one man. "If there's oil around they're not far behind," says his companion. SOC has a headquarters office in Las Piedras; the oil field is 300 miles away. Into this fly-infested hole arrives Jo (Charles Vanel), a tough, middle-aged French gangster out of luck and out of cash. He encounters Mario (Yves Montand), a ne'er-do-well in his twenties from Corsica who's stuck in Las Piedras. Mario does odd jobs to make enough money for meals and whiskey, beds and takes for granted the young woman who works at the town's cantina, and longs to get out of the place and back to Paris. The two of them bond in a way, the confident tough guy and the young, not-quite-amoral thug-in-training. The shifting relationship between these two is what drives the story; that they can get blown sky high at any moment after the first hour is what keeps us watching.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Robert Murphy on 10 Mar. 2006
Format: DVD
Through Amazon's excellent rental scheme, I'm trying to educate myself by watching films I haven't seen before in genres I wouldn't normally watch. Although I love much modern French cinema, perhaps I'm showing my ignorance and youth by saying I hadn't heard of Wages of Fear.
Great film, though! It is pretty long, and if it were directed today so much of it would have been cut. But it's the opening twenty minutes or so under the beating South American heat which really set the tone for this claustrophobic thriller. The action scenes are fantastic, there are more set-pieces than you can shake a cinematic stick at and there are some great characterisations by a fine acting ensemble. Yves Montand is, of course, excellent in the lead.
I didn't actually fancy watching this when it came down to watching it (footie and phone calls seemed a priority) But as soon as it started I was hooked. A fantastic suprise.
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