In the South American jungle supplies of nitroglycerin are needed at a remote oil field. The oil company pays four men to deliver the supplies in two trucks. A tense rivalry develops between the two sets of drivers and on the rough remote roads the slightest jolt can result in death. Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
Filming began on 27 August 1951 and was scheduled to run for nine weeks. Numerous problems plagued the production, however. The south of France had an unusually rainy season that year, causing vehicles to bog down, cranes to fall over and sets to be ruined. Director Henri-Georges Clouzot broke his ankle. Véra Clouzot fell ill. The production was 50 million francs over budget. By the end of November, only half the film was completed. With the days growing short from winter, production shut down for six months. The second half of the film was finally completed in the summer of 1952. See more »
As the nitro glycerin is a liquid how do they propose to get it to the heart of the raging fire?
Although the explosive is so volatile Bimba gets down from the truck with a whole jerrycan of it
in one hand and risks it exploding. See more »
The Hell with the Union! There's plenty of tramps in town, all volunteers. I'm not worried. To get that bonus, they'll carry the entire charge on their backs.
You mean you're gonna put those bums to work?
Yes, Mr. Bradley, because those bums don't have any union, nor any families. And if they blow up, nobody'll come around bothering me for any contribution.
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A gripping action film and a powerful study of failure
"The Wages of Fear" was awarded by unanimous verdict the Grand Prix at 1953 Cannes Film Festival where it won over 27 films, some of which were made by Jacques Tati, Alfred Hitchcock, and Luis Buñuel. Cluozot's own screenplay (based a novel by George Arnaud) focuses on four down-and-out European adventurers (Yves Montand, Folco Lulli, Peter Van Eyck, Charles Vanel) who stuck nearly penniless in a festering town in an unnamed South American country. An oil company need a load of highly dangerous and explosive nitroglycerin to be delivered to a remote well fire 300 miles away burning out of control. The route is through jungles and over crude and treacherous mountains and those men are desperate enough to take the chance. None of these men is heroic or generous, they are in for the money. The four were chosen by the managers of oil company because "if something happens to them, no one would care, they have nobody to worry about them". Henri-Georges Clouzot's view on humanity is not particularly optimistic but he finds a way to make a viewer care about disenchanted but desperate characters. Thanks to Clouzot's ability to create not only a gripping action film but a powerful study of failure, the four men will stay for long time in our memory.
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