Monday, January 15, 2007

The Wages of Fear

It occurred to me that even the remake of this film is old! That remake is called "Sorcerer", and it starred Roy Scheider. The original came out in 1953, released two years later in America heavily censored.
While the idea that censorship existed(s) in the "land of the free" is not news to anyone paying attention, I was surprised at the delay before the American release. I was under the impression that that was something new, brought on by distribution rules and DVDs, not just the country of origin.
Regardless, this is a double-dip feature rereleased(again) by Criterion, and thankfully so. The censored scenes have been put back in, the transfer cleaned of debris and the English subtitles--when English is not being spoken--are apparently closer to what is being said.
This film is a "Treasure of Sierra Madre" for the discarded. The spoils are hardly worth the risk but appear to be the only escape. The set-up is the truck loaded with volatile nitroglycerin across the country on a dirt road. Survive the trip and get enough cash to leave the forgotten land.
Tension and fear mount as psyches fray.
There is backhanded political stuff sprinkled throughout this character study, not too heavyhanded. The cast is universally superb, there are no special effects.
I believe the characters Mario and Luigi from Super Mario Brothers were modeled after characters from this movie. Video game fans...check it out and tell me I'm wrong!

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