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Le salaire de la peur
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The Wages of Fear (1953) More at IMDbPro »Le salaire de la peur (original title)

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Overview

User Rating:
8.3/10   26,410 votes »
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Writers:
Georges Arnaud (novel)
Henri-Georges Clouzot (adaptation) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Wages of Fear on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 February 1955 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The complete restored version of the 1953 French classic [reissue] See more »
Plot:
In a decrepit South American village, men are hired to transport an urgent nitroglycerine shipment without the equipment that would make it safe. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Riveting and Involving See more (124 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Yves Montand ... Mario
Charles Vanel ... M. Jo
Folco Lulli ... Luigi

Peter van Eyck ... Bimba (as Peter Van Eyck)

Véra Clouzot ... Linda (as Vera Clouzot)
William Tubbs ... Bill O'Brien
Darío Moreno ... Hernandez (as Dario Moreno)
Jo Dest ... Smerloff
Antonio Centa ... Camp Chief (as Centa)
Luis De Lima ... Bernardo
Grégoire Gromoff
Joseph Palau-Fabre
Faustini
Seguna
Darling Légitimus (as Miss Darling)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
René Baranger ... (uncredited)
Pat Hurst ... (uncredited)
Evelio Larenagas ... (uncredited)
Jeronimo Mitchell ... Dick (uncredited)
Ricardo ... (uncredited)
François Valorbe ... (uncredited)
Rico Zermano ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Henri-Georges Clouzot 
 
Writing credits
Georges Arnaud (novel)

Henri-Georges Clouzot (adaptation and dialogue) (as H.G. Clouzot) and
Jérôme Géronimi (adaptation and dialogue) (as Jérome Geronimi)

Produced by
Raymond Borderie .... delegate producer (as R. Borderie)
Henri-Georges Clouzot .... delegate producer (as H.G. Clouzot)
 
Original Music by
Georges Auric 
 
Cinematography by
Armand Thirard 
 
Film Editing by
Madeleine Gug 
Etiennette Muse  (as E. Muse)
Henri Rust 
 
Art Direction by
René Renoux 
 
Set Decoration by
René Renoux 
 
Makeup Department
Georges Bouban .... makeup artist (as G. Bouban)
 
Production Management
Henri Jaquillard .... unit manager (as H. Jaquillard)
Lucien Lippens .... unit manager (as L. Lippens)
Louis Wipf .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Michel Romanoff .... assistant director
Roberto Savarese .... assistant director: Italy
 
Art Department
Marc Desages .... assistant set decorator (as M. Desages)
Pierre Tyberghein .... assistant set decorator (as P. Tyberghien)
 
Sound Department
William Robert Sivel .... sound
Arthur Van der Meeren .... sound assistant (as A. Van Der Merren)
Pierre Zann .... sound assistant (as P. Zann)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Lucienne Chevert .... still photographer
Jean Clouzot .... still photographer (as J. Clouzot)
Jean Dicop .... assistant camera (as Dicop)
Robert Florent .... assistant camera (as Florent)
Robert Juillard .... camera operator (as Robert Juilliard)
Jean Lallier .... camera operator (as J. Lallier)
Louis Née .... camera operator (as L. Née)
Bob Pater .... assistant camera (as Pater)
 
Music Department
Georges Auric .... musical director (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Charles Borderie .... general administrator
Favre .... studio manager
Lily Hargous .... script girl
Lemoigne .... studio manager
Vergne .... studio manager
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Le salaire de la peur" - France (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
131 min | France:156 min | 148 min (director's cut) | West Germany:150 min
Country:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric)
Certification:
Australia:M | Australia:PG (TV rating) | Canada:14+ (Ontario) | Finland:K-16 | Finland:K-18 (DVD rating) | Japan:G (2014) | Norway:16 | South Korea:12 (2004) | Sweden:15 | UK:PG | UK:A (original rating) | USA:Not Rated | West Germany:16
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
This was the film debut of Vera Clouzot. She was the wife of director Henri-Georges Clouzot. She acted in only three films, all for her husband.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: Near the end of the film, when Jo is leaning against Mario in the cab of the truck, the oil smear on Mario's right cheek changes between shots.See more »
Quotes:
Mario:When someone else is driving, I'm scared.See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
The Blue DanubeSee more »

FAQ

How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
Is this movie based on a book?
Why do they have to carry the nitroglycerin to that plant?
See more »
28 out of 44 people found the following review useful.
Riveting and Involving, 4 November 2002
Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.

In the opening scene of Wages of Fear (1953), director Georges Henri-Clouzot provides an inkling of the kind of claustrophobic ride we are in for. In a steamy, impoverished Latin American town called Las Piedras, insects grope clumsily in the dust, struggling to escape the strings that children have tied to them. People from all over the world congregate in the streets and bars and the air is thick with choking dust. Clouzot makes clear the desperation of the residents, "It's like prison," explains one of them. "Easy to get in, but escape is impossible." The Southern Oil Company (SOC - same initials as Standard Oil) runs the town and enjoys its profits while the villagers are compelled to work odd jobs just to stay alive. After a fire breaks out at one of the oil fields killing many workers, the anti-union American boss seeks experienced drivers from among the townspeople to put out the fire. It is here that the anti-American flavor runs thick and where much of this part of the film was originally excised for American audiences (but has since been restored).

Four men, desperate to escape their trap, agree to drive a truck loaded with nitroglycerine 300 miles over treacherous mountain roads in the hot sun for the sum of $2000 each. Transporting the nitroglycerine for them is a way out of hopelessness -- either through a big paycheck or through sudden death, with the latter appearing the more probable. Though sadly past the point in time when we can still be shocked over gangster capitalism and men selling out for money, the story is nonetheless compelling. The four who are chosen to go on this fool's errand include Mario, a young Corsican played by Yves Montand in a role that brought him widespread attention. He is carrying on an affair with a local servant girl, Linda (Vera Clouzot) who is in love with him. His treatment of her, however, is atrocious and reflects the attitude of the male-dominated society they live in. Also picked to drive one of the trucks is Jo, an aging Parisian small-time crook (Charles Vanel), Luigi (Folco Lulli), an Italian with less than a year to live, and an ex-nazi pilot (Peter van Eyck). This unlikely group will play a cat-and-mouse game with death for the remainder of the film.

Clouzot depicts several incidents that bring the tension to the boiling point. In the first one, the trucks must travel at least 40 mph over a pot-holed stretch of road to prevent the vibrations from setting off the nitroglycerine. The second involves a sharp, narrow turn that requires the trucks to back up onto an unstable, rotten wooden platform causing it to buckle. Almost immediately afterwards, the trucks are stopped by a huge boulder in the middle of the road and must siphon off some of the nitroglycerine to blow it up. Finally, Mario must deftly maneuver the truck over a depression of spilled oil with the wheels stuck in reverse. As the long treacherous journey unfolds, roles are reversed between Mario and Jo as Mario becomes the strong dominant one and Jo, in Charles Vanel's brilliant performance, becomes shaken, fearful, and docile. Their relationship becomes the highlight of the film as the two become mutually dependent on each other for survival and comfort.

I found Wages of Fear to be an involving experience that kept me riveted throughout, though I did sense that there would not be a two and a half-hour film unless somebody survived. Although the unexpected plot twists were gripping, the best part of the film for me was the revelation of each character when faced with fear. It reminded me of the "Treasure of the Sierra Madre", a film that also showed men discovering the truth about themselves and others while pursuing their dream of wealth. Wages of Fear lived up to its accolades, but for me the discordant ending clashed both with the tone of the film and with my experience of the universe not as arbitrary or capricious but as filled with meaning and purpose.

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