Nov. 10, 2020

Midweek Mention...Wages of Fear

Midweek Mention...Wages of Fear

We don't just watch the big blockbuster fare round at the Man Cave. Sometimes we like to delve into the cinematic history books and revisit the films of bygone days...

We took an explosive trip back to 1953 to discuss the merits of The Wages of Fear. 

Should we file this one as one to forget, or is the an underappreciated classic. Only Dan and Reegs have the answer! 

Until next time, we remain...

Bad Dads


Wages of Fear

Sidey:  Right now the installment of our midweek movie mentions what we're going to chat about this time And that's

Dan: There's a movie wigs and I watched a couple of weeks ago now I filmed that I've Recommended for saying it once before probably 10 years ago but a film that stayed with me it's called wages of fear and it was a 1953 film So quite quite an old film and black wine obviously directed by Henry's yours cruiser and it starves Yves Montand It was based on a French novel the salary of fear by George Arnone And basically it's a film that starts out in a shitty town in South America where nobody is getting out of that town The people that are there there's no work There's

Sidey: you mistake it for some peer support

Dan: You can you can Potentially it's a misdiagnosis somewhere but from the very first scene there's like a naked child playing in a puddle on the main street with donkeys and chickens and everything going

Reegs: tied together a bunch of cockroaches which is Sam Peckinpah use the same shot for the opening of the wild bunch

Dan: Y yeah Yeah So this influenced lots of lots of films going into it And I think students have film have probably seen it yeah And would have taken a lot from the different influences but it's a thriller is almost in two parts You've got the lead into the episode which we'll we'll chat about the The beginning of it when we watched it it was there's French there's Italian there's English The Spanish is all into change So depending on the scene

Reegs: the actors sort of seamlessly move between the languages Some of them are better some of the accents but the lead in particularly Yves Montand is is fantastic switching between all of the different languages because there's it's sort of this town less PA dress where they are as attracted The sort of losers and Desperate's and possible ex war criminals Obviously this is

Dan: Yeah There's a there's a bit of dodgy kind of feeling around there Americans have made it a base as well because there's oral in them there

Sidey: kind of like a frontier So a town

Reegs: almost almost in a way

Dan: Yeah

Reegs: there's certainly that element I mean it certainly feels like a Western at points in the in the

Sidey: Yeah

Dan: Middle of nowhere though you know I mean it's it's the end of the run runways that's it There's there's nothing It all centers around one little bar and our our hero I call him a hero He's not there's not really heroes in this film It's Mario which is EAs Monto is a a good looking deadbeat those sponges off his hardworking roommate  Luigi Who's always working in saving to try and get out

Sidey: we've got a Mario and Luigi and yeah

Reegs: And the amazing thing is that the Luigi actually wears a cap and has a mustache like

Sidey: yet

Dan: He looks yeah Luigi

Reegs: at the same thing when we were watching it

Dan: Luigi looks like Mario and Mario looks like Luigi If you're looking for the character

Reegs: Yeah

Sidey: Pre taking the computer games back a few years though

Dan: yes

Reegs: you don't lay like you kind of say you don't really know anything about Mario who's the French course couldn't except he was an adventurer who ran out of money and then there's Luigi who we see he's a TBI Baker and a cement mixer that is actually his job and he is dying because of his inhalation of cement dust

Sidey: Yeah

Dan: Yeah So he the the the clocks tick him for him and the other characters there's Joe who comes in as the last kind of piece of the jigsaw And he's he just comes on the on the plane I'll go into him a little bit in a second but the barmaid Linda who's the the director's wife veer occlusal she had a bit of a womb She was pretty Kind of hot in in the in the scene And she was Mario's squeeze really I mean she was she was phoning around them all the

Reegs: not especially

Dan: No no

Reegs: he's quite off This is quite a risky movie actually because you get several shots she's bending down polishing the floor and the camera lays on her ass Like it's a Michael Bay movie and there's another scene where I mean it's clearly staged so that you can see down the top So

Dan: I didn't know In 53 babies we talked about it at a time because maybe it's is European It wasn't it didn't have the Hollywood or the the British kind of hang It was a lot more free and yeah that's that's fine

Sidey: Sounds like objectifying She just there for set dressing or is she

Reegs: she's played an important role in one of the themes that I read about which is the repressed homosexual bond between Mario and Joe who is the character that

Dan: Potentially I wasn't sure I thought that when we were talking about that during the film I thought it was just again a European thing where they were kissing Haagen you know and they were actually as we gear up to the second part of the film we've already established he's a dead beat town Nobody can get out There's no work but suddenly there's a huge explosion

Reegs: oil

Dan: Yes And they said this American oil company who has an explosion or or there's some kind of massive catastrophe and accident in an oil

Reegs: it's where they're drilling for

Dan: yeah Where they're drilling for

Reegs: they're on fire and they in order to put these monstrous fires out that are going to probably swallow less PA dress they have to dump

Dan: Nitroglycerin nitroglycerin NAFTA Joy Yeah So they've got two two big lorries with no good suspension to take full light loads of nitroglycerin They send two because they only need one but it's such a risky job that they're going to send to just

Reegs: the an hour apart

Dan: an hour apart one of them makes it every man and his dog goes for this job because although it is dangerous they're paying around two grand which is a hundred dollars is a ticket out this place two grand makes them King at a call So and so everybody's going for it And it comes down to the four guys in the film

Reegs: Mario and Luigi who we've already mentioned Joe who is a former mob

Dan: Yes So Joe drops into this shit How town in a white suit off the plane and you think wow exactly man from Del Monte's coming and people are smelling money because they think he skinned He hasn't got a a cent the last $10 he's got Slips in the passport to give to the customs guy to get him into this town and he can't get out So when this job comes up he's he's well Keenan up until this point he's played like is rich He plays it around town He goes on or every fence on his tab But yeah And he's also a mafia man Like he's the big hard man That kind of changes as the danger of this trip starts to unfold And then it

Reegs: Well there's also one other character Isn't it

Dan: Yeah Bimba who

Reegs: is possibly an ex German war criminal It's not clear exactly His character is probably the least sketched out

Sidey: Let's just say that he is

Reegs: but you've got four desperate men their only Avenue is this ridiculous plan to go and throw nitroglycerin on a fire it kicks off the second half of this movie which is just an unbelievably tense series of set pieces basically about these guys trying to get this hazardous liquid

Dan: through the jungle Paul at one point they're not allowed to slow down on the 40 miles an hour because the so speed Yeah The bus will explode So then they have to keep this pace up but then they

Reegs: going on this new fangled thing called

Dan: concrete Yeah

Reegs: sure what would happen So

Dan: So yeah so they had to speed up all the way through it because there was lots of divots in the in the road that would just give it that constant there's The directed in this is fantastic And he's got all the tension He can squeeze out of every scene particularly in the in the van I mean at one point they did to give it a why you know they they wanted the the vans blows up and they took

Reegs: not really clear why it just kind of happens

Dan: yes it can happen at any time you know Yeah It's so but they they talk about I never liked him anyway I never you know they because they are upset and they don't want to be so they start talking about how how they disliked the people that were there and they never did that And they never did this

Sidey: What's the plan for actually getting the ban

Dan: So once the

Sidey: How do you do that

Dan: so basically it's the end it's the end for the show They're just the drivers If they can get it there they've not got to worry about putting it on the phone Somebody's always got to do that We've got load of people there already fighting fires in everything there They just need this Nobody's crazy enough to drive the truck there apart from these guys So

Reegs: w Mario and Joe then arrive at the spot We've already seen a scene earlier on where Joe's sort of cowardice is revealed they have to do like a million point turn you know like in Austin Powers when he's trying to turn the golf buggy round in the corridor he has to do that But with the truck hanging over the edge of a ravine and Joe sort of completely bottles it at this point anyway Joe and Mario arrive at the spot where the explosion took place Of Bimba and the other guy Luigi they there's like a puddle of oil in the middle that they have much difficulty crossing Joe and gets out of the car to guide the truck to guide the truck through it Can't stop because once it stopped in the middle of the oil it will Not be able to start again

Dan: It's really quite deep You call it a puddle I mean it's it's it's well yeah it's right up to his waist A good good waist height

Reegs: Joe falls but Mario can't stop the truck So he just drives over him drives over his right leg And you see it in quite gory detail he's mangled at the side of the oil pit With his leg like you know it's it's again this is like something you would see in a more modern movie It's quite graphic

Dan: Yeah It's it's an ag film you know particularly if you think it's 1950s this film it's Even the acting though is is not kind of you know Polish is brilliant it's brilliant acting but you can see that it's you know some of these have a developed that you know that acting

Sidey: you compare it to modern

Dan: if you compare it to modern standards and things but it adds to the film and it adds to kind of tension and The the storyline between the the guys in the film that have to partner up with with two different trucks in everything bilges Well it's

Reegs: It's quite bleak Everybody dies Mario dies well so Luigi and the other guy Bimba die in the explosion Joe dies from his wounds have been driven over and at once having successfully delivered the nitroglycerin Mario gets a bit cocky on the way home

Dan: He's got four grand in his pocket because he gets to keep Joseph as well who just died as they pulled in He's done the mission and died So

Reegs: starts like weaving all over the road and then basically just drives off the edge of a

Dan: it it kind of cuts to The news is obviously filled at food that they've made it They're having a big part in the ball where he's going to be turning up and he's Oh yeah this is great I'm cruising along and price to the party There will pop in It goes on to the road It's a wind in hilly road He's fucking around in his truck which has been for a hell of a lot Ill-advised and yeah And he ends up going as well And it's

Reegs: I wondered whether the implication was that you went over the side and hit the bar in Las PAA dress I mean it is so bleak and

Sidey: to make an entrance


Dan: Yeah well I've noticed that but there's little things like no you know nitroglycerin no smoking within 50 feet but they're all having to go in the fog in in in the cab it was you know a real real eye for tension To to make this I imagine at the time there wouldn't have been a lot to compare it with is what we get today And the tension you could cut with an eye for it Sometimes it was

Reegs: I know what you're thinking The 1950s French black and white thriller sign me up But I have to say this was absolutely brilliant It's it feels like a really modern movie It's kind of a meditation on death in it There's a pretty much scathing commentary on American imperialism and exploiting countries for oil which you know Hmm Still Something you could possibly talk about today Yeah this is a really honestly great great movie I'm so glad that you showed it to be done Cause I don't think I would have watched it in any other circumstance

Dan: Well they there's a there's a few fantastic films that hopefully I'll get to nominate in in the future as well Another one is the treasure of which is Not dissimilar to this And I think it was around the same era but regardless of the floors it does have floors It's not it's not perfect It is a classic and highly recommended