1953 – The Wages Of Fear

★★★★★ France / Italy. 2h28m. Thriller. Original title, “Le salaire de la peur”. Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot. Written by Henri-Georges Clouzot, Jérome Geronimi (screenplay) and Georges Arnaud (“Le salaire de la peur”). Cinematography by Armand Thirard. Edited by Madeleine Gug, Etiennette Muse, Henri Rust. Music by Georges Auric. Starring Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Folco Lulli, Peter van Eyck, Véra Clouzot, William Tubbs, Dario Moreno, Jo Dest, Luis De Lima, Antonio Centa, Darling Légitimus.

When an oil well owned by an American company catches fire, the company hires four European men, down on their luck, to drive two trucks over mountain dirt roads, loaded with nitroglycerine needed to extinguish the flames. The film brought Clouzot international fame — winning both the Golden Bear and the Palme d’Or at the 1953 Berlin Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival, respectively — and enabled him to direct Les Diaboliques. In France, it was the fourth highest-grossing film of the year. Sorcerer, directed by William Friedkin in 1977, is an American remake described by the director as an adaptation of the original novel.

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