Henri-Georges ClouzotFrance148 minutes1955B&WFrench
Make sure you leave plenty of fingernails to chew through! Suspense was never more nerve-shredding than in this, "one of cinema's most revered thrillers" (Danny Peary), presented here in a new, full-length print. The Wages of Fear opens in a hellish South American village (metaphorically called Las Piedras) where, amidst the dust, heat and vermin, four variously desperate men are chosen by an oil company to drive two trucks loaded with nitroglycerine over primitive roads to the site of a distant well fire. Headed by a French-born Corsican (Yves Montand), they drive through a landscape that seems designed to make their volatile cargo explode. Tonight's version restores several minutes originally censored, reportedly for hints of homosexuality and for its portrayal of American corporate recklessness and exploitation. Winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes, The Wages of Fear is "spectacular. One of the most breathtaking thrillers ever made." (Vincent Canby, The New York Times).
Print courtesy of the TIFF Film Reference Library.