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Wages Of Fear [DVD] [1955]

4.2 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter van Eyck, Folco Lulli, Véra Clouzot
  • Directors: Henri-Georges Clouzot
  • Writers: Henri-Georges Clouzot, Georges Arnaud, Jérôme Géronimi
  • Producers: Henri-Georges Clouzot, Raymond Borderie
  • Format: PAL, Black & White
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 21 Jan. 2002
  • Run Time: 147 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UDY1
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,167 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

DVD Special Features:

Original Theatrical Trailer
Les Diaboliques Original Trailer
Stills Gallery
Poster Gallery
Cast and Crew Biographies

English subtitles


In 1953, before any American studio exec used the phrase "high concept", Henri-George Clouzot's The Wages of Fear boasted a premise so literally explosive that audiences were excited before they got into the theatres. With an oil-fire burning out of control deep in the South American jungle, two lorryloads of highly unstable nitro-glycerin have to be driven through miles of unstable terrain littered with dangerous turns, crumbling planks, falling rocks and mediocre hardtop. One good jolt will vaporise truck, nitro, drivers and a substantial swathe of the countryside, so the company recruits desperate souls among the loser tramps who loiter around the nowhere town of Las Piedras, begging for any kind of work.

On the road, Clouzot stages a string of unforgettable sequences: one stretch of badly paved track can only be crossed by driving at under six miles an hour or over 40; a mountain turn requires that the trucks back out onto a rickety, rotten wooden structure; a 50-ton boulder has fallen into the road, and one of the drivers calmly drains a litre of nitro into his thermos to blow it up, only remembering when the fuse is lit that this will rain pebbles all over the countryside and a few good hits on the cargo will set it off. This is perhaps as great a mix of action-adventure and contest as The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and still a textbook example of sustained suspense.

On the DVD: The print is in great shape, though the image is a little soft; the menu has a clever explosive aspect and uses the same vintage artwork as the sleeve cannily combined with a snippet. There are trailers for both Wages and Clozuot's other masterpiece, Les Diaboliques, as well as biographies of the principal cast, eight stills and three posters.--Kim Newman

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Item as described, fast delivery, well packed – a great seller. Thanks A+++++++++++
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Format: Blu-ray
Mining the same emotional and visual territory as “The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre” - “The Wages Of Fear” (“La Salaiere De La Per”) is a stunning French thriller set in South America featuring desperate-men doing desperate things to survive. But for UK and European fans and buyers – that’s where the good news ends. The movie is only available on ‘BLU RAY’ in the States and therein lies a problem…

The US issue is REGION-A LOCKED - so it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK Blu Ray players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't). Don’t confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front – that won’t help.

Until such time as someone on this side of the water gives this 1955 Black and White nugget a REGION B and C release – check your BLU RAY player has the capacity to play REGION A – before you buy the pricey Criterion issue…
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By OG on 29 Jan. 2015
Format: DVD
During the first hour or so, you may experience first hand the sheer boredom and frustration of what it feels like to be in a position of not knowing where to go and realising there is nowhere to go. This is the hellish backwater of a place that our protagonists are trapped within.

Then finally an opportunity arises that, under normal circumstances, any rational human being would walk away from. To drive a truck filled with Nitro Glycrine over the worst possible road conditions you can imagine.

Our protagonists are not rational and are so desperate to escape their hellish day to day existence, they compete with each other to win this opportunity of a grand pay day and begin a new life.

It is at this point Wages of Fear really changes and the tension of observing this journey can become unbearable at times.

The Director H G Clouzot succeeds admirably on both counts. Firstly letting us experience the boredom and desperation of their exile and secondly he puts us right there in the drivers cabin to experience every gear change and bump in the road.

Perhaps Cluozot succeeds too well in the first hour by providing viewers with an experience they'd rather not have. I imagine some viewers may get frustrated, bored and give up.

This is perhaps one of the many great suspense filled films ever made.

I really hope, one day soon, this will be released on Blu Ray for region B/2.
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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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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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