The Wages of Fear (R/I)
Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter van Eyck
Henri-Georges Clouzot more than earns his title as the ‘French Hitchcock’ in The Wages of Fear. Based on Georges Arnaud’s 1950 Le salaire de la peur, and serving as the basis for William Friedkin’s 1977 The Sorcerer, this adaptation brought Clouzot the international fame necessary to make Les Diaboliques, and marked him out as a master filmmaker.
In an unnamed South American country, four shady characters find themselves thrust together on a dangerous job. They are each offered $2,000 to drive two trucks of highly volatile nitroglycerine to a remote oil field. One truck is manned by the happy-go-lucky Luigi (Fulco Lulli) and calculating Bimba (Peter Van Eyck), the other by aging hood Jo (Charles Vanel) and the young Corsican Mario (Yves Montand in one of his first roles). Tension builds between the men as they inch their way over the treacherous mountain roads, in the knowledge that the slightest jolt could have explosive consequences.