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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Georges Arnaud's novel LE SALAIRE DE LA PEUR has been filmed twice, by Henri-Georges Clouzot as THE WAGES OF FEAR (1953) and by William Friedkin as SORCERER (1977). While both films are worth seeing, the earlier version is the one regarded as a classic, and rightly so. Although SORCERER goes into more detail about the political climate and the various misdeeds that led the four desperate protagonists to the South American hellhole where they accept high-paying but life-risking jobs driving nitroglycerin through treacherous terrain, WAGES... distinguishes the men's personalities better, giving the audience more rooting interest in them. Both films have excellent casts, with charismatic leads in Yves Montand (WAGES...) and Roy Scheider (SORCERER), plus WAGES... also provides feminine charm in the form of beguiling Vera Clouzot as the café waitress who loves Montand. Both films have tense action sequences as well, but somehow for all the staging and skillful editing, SORCERER's action scenes seem strangely slow, slogging along in the mud just like the protagonists in their less-than-state-of-the-art trucks. Both versions have enough good things in them to be worth a look, but if you only have the time and resources to check out one of them, it's WAGES... that really pays off!
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