Fifth about The Seventh

The Wages of Fear (Le Salaire de la Peur)

The Wages of Fear: starting with a deceptively simple setup, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s thriller is great evidence one doesn’t need much to ramp up suspense to high levels. The crucial factor, here, is to show how high the stakes for the characters are since their situation is so despairing; as a result, anything (a rock, a pothole, a rope) can become the source of white-knuckling tension. Still, the film still finds time to allow some insight into the main characters and scathing critique of dehumanized corporations. The acting is good: Yves Montand is convincing as the rascally charming tough man; Charles Vanel is excellent as the not-so-tough tough man; Véra Clouzot is an alluring presence. The film is quite well-shot by cinematographer Armand Thirard, and beautifully edited to maximum effect.

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