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The Bigger Picture film club – ‘The Wages of Fear’ (1953) at the Ivy House on 22 March 2018
Posted by: The Bigger Picture 16 March, 2018 11:42

The Bigger Picture film club will be showing ‘The Wages of Fear’ (1953) at 8pm on Thursday, 22 March 2018, at the Ivy House.

Classed in many ‘top 10 of all time’ action films, and unique in winning the Golden Bear in Berlin and the Palme D’Or at Cannes in 1953, this is the story of four desperate men who take on an almost impossible challenge. Set in a South American backwater, where a possibly exploitative (US) oil company ‘owns’ the community, an oil well-head fire can only be extinguished by explosives. The four are eventually hired (the job is too dangerous for regular company employees) to drive unstable nitro-glycerine (which should be kept refrigerated for stability) in unrefrigerated trucks across impossible roads. For once the ‘antagonist’ is nature, circumstances and fate (and the men themselves, not exactly saints) rather than some wicked opponent. This is a seat-clenching film, and, despite the unattractiveness of the protagonists (even Yves Montand, playing Mario, a Corsican playboy who treats his lover badly cannot be said to be a good guy), you cannot help but care for their fates.

The narrative arc of the film was good enough to be re-made twice (by Howard W Koch in 1958 and William Friedkin (The Exorcist) in 1977) for the American market – but, because the original suggested that the US oil company was exploiting its workforce and the environment, this was never that popular in the US.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot.
France & Italy
Running time: 131 minutes.
Cert: PG

We say: This film may start slowly as it scene sets, but the pace accelerates as the tension and peril mount. Very obviously a European-made film, it takes no prisoners. One of the cinema greats.

Film at 8pm.

Tickets £7 from WeGotTickets:
The Bigger Picture website:
The Bigger Picture Facebook page:

40 Stuart Road
London SE15 3BE

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