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The Wages Of Fear (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1953)

Yves Montand , Charles Vanel , Henri-Georges Clouzot  |  Unrated |  Blu-ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter van Eyck, Véra Clouzot, Folco Lulli
  • Directors: Henri-Georges Clouzot
  • Format: Blu-ray, Black & White, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: April 21, 2009
  • Run Time: 148 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001PYD0KM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,694 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Review

A big, masterly movie...it joyfully scares the living hell out of you as it reveals something about the human condition. --Vincent Canby, The New York Times

Product Description

In a squalid South American oil town, four desperate men sign on for a suicide mission to drive trucks loaded with nitroglycerin over a treacherous mountain route. As they ferry their expensive cargo to a faraway oil fire, each bump and jolt tests their courage, their friendship, and their nerves. The Wages of Fear (Le salaire de la peur) is one of the greatest thrillers ever committed to celluloid, a white-knuckle ride from France s legendary master of suspense Henri Georges-Clouzot.

BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
Restored high-definition digital transfer with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Video interviews with assistant director Michel Romanoff and Henri-Georges Clouzot biographer Marc Godin
Interview with Yves Montand from 1988
Henri-Georges Clouzot: The Enlightened Tyrant, a 2004 documentary on the director s career
Censored, an analysis of cuts made to the film for its 1955 U.S. release
PLUS: An booklet featuring an essay by novelist Dennis Lehane

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars *EXPLOSIVES* June 15, 2000
By karl b.
Format:DVD
It is difficult to overstate what a terrific blend of suspense, biting images, and nihilistic philosophy this film is. It works at several levels, the most compelling being a thoroughly existential treatment of the action adventure movie. Clouzot layers his irreverent cynicism into every aspect of the film, but it is actuated by the tight interplay of the characters. They are the kind of fugitives, hucksters, fortune seekers, down on their luckers you'd expect to find at a squalid, end of the world drilling camp. The director portrays them all in a dour, brave light as they struggle with futility and fear.
The corruption, exploitation and innocence, are brought to a boil by a raging inferno and a couple of truck loads of nitroglycerine. Three hundred miles of rugged roads are all that separates these desperadoes from a ticket out of town. Clouzot rolls his audience into the drama with ingenious visual cues, cables stressed to snapping, tobacco blown from its paper. He uses no gimmicks, though, to impose an artificial sense of spectacle. Everything is shown with a taut authenticity. The film never loses its devil-me-care bravado in spite of all its tension and pathos. Clouzot intersperses little milestones of grace, in a prayer or a dance, with images of death. Alternately-- ambivalence, compassion and admiration are elicited for characters pushed beyond human boundaries and endurance.
It resembles Treasure of the Sierra Madre (another excellent film), but caves in to none of its happy endings, higher ideals, saving benedictions. All here is carried out in a quiet desperation as every vestige of hope, purpose, escape are systematically sabotaged. All that is left is the moment, and survival.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
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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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie in 148-minute format December 23, 1999
By A Customer
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I wanted to amend my earlier review. I reviewed the 148-minute VHS version, which I highly recommend. I strongly caution against getting the (less expensive) 131-minute VHS version. The picture quality is very poor and the subtitles are often almost unreadable, i.e. white writing against an almost white background. The full-length VHS and DVD versions are terrific, with clear, crisp picture and perfectly legible subtitles.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well, the most suspenseful film I have ever seen May 17, 2009
Format:Blu-ray
There are two things often said about this film that I would like to strongly agree with: first, it begins rather slowly, and second, it really is one of, if not THE, most suspenseful films ever made.
The first third of the movie moves inexplicably slowly. I can understand many of the reasons why: the attempt to define the characters, to show their interactions with one another, to depict the quiet desperation of their lives to make it plausible that four men would undertake such an astonishingly dangerous job as hauling nitroglycerin over treacherous jungle and mountain dirt roads. Even granting all that, however, the start is by any standard really, really slow. And I suspect that of the people you encounter who proclaim the film a bore either gave up before getting to the good parts or never recovered from the slow start.

The most suspenseful film ever made? Some people assert that the film has been so overhyped along these lines that it would be impossible for any film to come up to one's expectations. There are two edges to this sword. I am far more impressed that despite being hyped as the most suspenseful film ever made, I was nonetheless utterly on the edge of my seat for most of the final 100 minutes. And if some of the scenes seem somewhat familiar, it is undoubtedly because of the score of films that have plundered this film for their own tension-filled scenes.

I have often thought that Yves Montand was, at his best, one of the more compelling performers of the last half of the twentieth century. He wasn't consistently successful internationally. Sometimes one or two decades would come between some of his greatest triumphs.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty.
I first saw "Sorcerer," the William Friedkin remake of this, and it remains my favorite version, but both are well worth seeing and interesting to compare.
Published 1 month ago by Michael Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars A fistful of thrills
Step by step the suspense builds in this excellent and original French film. The argument unfolds in South America, where a group of volunteers must take a shipment of... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jose Esteves
3.0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as good as expected! > Spoiler Alert! < Plot reveals in...
Having seen "Sorcerer" back when I was a teen/young adult, (which I remember to this day as being an "edge of your seat-er" interesting & good movie), I decided to... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Old & Wise
5.0 out of 5 stars ONe of the best
Thank you to the Criterion Collection for saving this movie. I still think it is the best thriller movie ever.
Published 3 months ago by Eleanor Takahashi
5.0 out of 5 stars Wages of the Road
This is probably one of the most powerful films of all time. It was made during the time of the French new wave and existentialism thus you can only guess at the ending, it... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Bartok Kinski
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this classic.
If you like Bridge over River Kwai you'll probably love this film too: Talented actors, terrific suspense. A must see for vintage action thriller buffs. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Guy Duval
5.0 out of 5 stars If movies were this good? We'd be happy about our oscar winners...
This is a simple--yet so, so precariously complex in equal measure--testament on the drive for survival and what we learn from love altering experiences, some for better and some... Read more
Published 4 months ago by John Cockerton
5.0 out of 5 stars A great movie!
This is one of the best movies I have seen. The first time I have seen it was many years ago, and this time around I loved it just as much. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Suzan K.
5.0 out of 5 stars A new favorite!
Not much to add to other comments. It does start out slow, but it is just classic character development... a somewhat lost skill these days. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Phil A.
5.0 out of 5 stars Two trucks, four men, several tons of nitroglycerine = a first-rate...
The Wages of Fear takes it's own sweet time to get going, but once it literally starts rolling, it grips you by the throat and doesn't let go. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Anthony L.
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