LE SALAIRE DE LA PEUR (1953)
A film by Henri-Georges Clouzot
Cast: Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter van Eyck
English title: The Wages of Fear
A friend of mine told me about this film when I was in the states he say”do not miss Wages of Fear on TCM you better tape it” So I did, and what a great French Thriller that is. Four desperate men, broke and stranded in a backwater of Latin America, in order to make some money a job was offer to them drive two truckloads of nitroglycerin 300 miles down a hazardous road. That is got to be the greatest job in the world you sneeze you blow you head off. The film’s most famous scene Clouzot requires them to turn their trucks around on a rickety, half-finished timber platform high above a mountain gorge, and what a great scene it is. Their journey also requires them to use some of the nitroglycerin to blow up a massive boulder in the road, Ho! yes after a pipeline ruptures, a truck has to pass through a pool of oil that seems to tar them with the embarrassment of their task. What I love about this film is that the man are in this town where it is dusty and hot they are waiting for jobs a man comes by and tells them there is jobs for that and that and they go. Those men are at the bar drinking causing fights from time to time but here it is you do not know who those men are, what they are doing here or even are they running from somebody or are they criminal hiding. Even between each other they don’t talk about it. It is a great intense film grippy and you will be on your edge of your seat watching this and by the way a great great ending funny but not. William Friedkin remade “The Wages of Fear” as “Sorcerer” in 1977, you know that great scene on the half-finished timber platform high above a mountain gorge well Friedkin did it in a jungle setting, to create a sequence where a truck wavers on a vast, unstable suspension bridge. Great scene there too. He got inspire by Clouzot. Here is the thing many Hollywood studio goes for an happy ending but the Foreign film takes a detour towards it they do things differently and that is a good thing there is a sense realizing in it and honesty. Here is a great French Thriller that you should not miss.