Clouzots "The Wages of Fear", the adaptation of Arnauds identically named novel, is, without a doubt, one of the great adventure classics. It may be not as "breathtaking" today (for some) as it must have been fifty years ago but it has earned its place as one of the greatest films of all times. The art direction is amazing for its time, the locations are chosen well, the actors are doing one hell of a job and the whole movie is shot excellently. Also, the unconventional ending and the overall roughness only adds to the qualities and puts conventional Hollywood adventures to shame.
The opening credits are different. While the uncut version shows the original French credits the VHS version shows translated credits.
No time difference
The short trip to the airport and the corresponding dialogue between Bimba and his co-driver is missing. The co-driver is sure that he will find a pilot willing to fly him into the United States. He wants to show Bimba his green card but he replies that it is dangerous to show it to everybody.
The group of people is talking some more.
A man has a longer conversation on the phone about a gas bubble that claimed thirteen victims including an engineer named Reiner who suffers from severe body burns. After ordering someone to provide the committee investigating the incident with enough food and drink one of his workers enters the office, saying that Reiners mother is on the phone. The man orders him to stall her and that they will call her once Reiner is dead. Back on the phone he tells the man on the other end of the line that Reiner will most likely die which will be a relief for him and everybody else.
Marios girlfriend tries to convince him not to take the driving test.
The drivers are sitting in the Café, waiting. The Italian is writing a letter to his mother in which he tells her not to worry, even if she doesn't hear from him for a long time because he has found work. He gives Linda the letter and asks her to send it to his mother the next day.
Mario asks about Jo, gets into an argument with Linda and sends her outside where she finds the Italians body hanging from a tree. She screams and runs back inside to get the others. They all agree that the Italian must have taken his own life because he didn't find work as a driver and blame O'Brien for it.
Mario and his colleague are discussing the proper speed for the next part of the track. Both teams agree that forty miles per hour is the ideal speed with the least vibration while anything under thirty would be very dangerous for the Nitroglycerin.
Mario explains the track and says that there is a gas station after half of the track. In the meantime, the other two have reached the "washboard"..
Inter-cut to Mario and Jo talking. The others are having problems with their engine and just let the truck roll while Mario and Jo are already driving. Mario tells Jo several times to speed up but he doesn't.
Jo approaches the "washboard" too slow and they have to stop. After a short argument they reverse to try again. Cut to he others who have reached the gas station by now and are busy repairing the engine. Since the asphalted road is not long enough to gain enough momentum for the next "washboard" they decide to drive real slow. They lay out a handkerchief for the other team so that they won't drive right into them.
Mario has reversed enough and wants to drive himself. Luigi and Bimba are driving very slow on the second part of the track. Meanwhile, a native has noticed and picked up Luigis handkerchief and waves with it when Mario and Jo speed past him.
Overall 548,16 sec.
Shot of Mario and Jo.
Mario and Jo are speeding when they suddenly notice the other truck driving slowly in front of them. They send off warning signs that are noticed by Bimba who then orders Luigi to speed up – but they can't due to the poor condition of the road and because the cargo might explode. At the same time, Mario and Jo are unable to slow down without risking to blow up themselves. Bimba sees the end of the track right in front of him and they are finally able to speed up and avoid a disaster.
A short dialogue is missing in which Mario and Jo are arguing about their job. Mario claims that Jo does not really deserve the money since he himself is the one driving the truck and that Jo must drive the truck as well in order to really deserve the money. Jo answers that he is not paid for driving but for the danger and fear. He claims that Mario is not better than him and that while Mario drives, he sits next to him, dying of fear.
Mario hammers an iron pole into the ground.