The Wages of Fear (The Criterion Collection) (1953)
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Product Description In the squalid, impoverished South American town of Las Piedras, desperate men and women from all over the world scrape out a living and dream of escape, under the watchful eye of the ruling Southern Oil Company. When a well explodes 300 miles away, the American company conscripts four of these unfortunates to drive trucks loaded with volatile nitroglycerin through treacherous mountains, a suicide mission that is their only way out. Additional Features The 1999 DVD release was prominent since it contained the recently rereleased 148-minute version after playing the art-house circuit, but the disc (#36 in Criterion's line) didn't have much else going for it. This 2005 release (still number #36) adds the usual Criterion luster, starting off right with a beautiful transfer (virtually none of the dirt on the original DVD) and a smarter take on the subtitles. The cut is slightly different, but just by a few frames. As for the extra disc, there's a deft documentary on director Clouzot and some so-so new interviews. The excerpt from Yves Montand shot a few years before he died in 1991 is charming. --Doug Thomas