Peter Van Eyck

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The Wages Of Fear Review


Essential
"The best thriller ever made" is perhaps too much praise for the movie, while "best examination of the human condition" is too faint to be heard. Nevertheless, one can safely say that Henri-Georges Clouzot's The Wages of Fear is to film of the nail-biter variety what Raymond Chandler is to detective fiction: pretty damn essential. For pure thriller mechanics, it's a textbook in step-by-step screw-tightening, while those looking for something of more substance will find themselves swimming in the stuff.

The South American village of Las Piedras is located just past the edge of nowhere, baking in the sun and providing just the correctly seedy backdrop for a number of Europeans to wallow in their own misery, abusing the locals, and lazing about the saloon, to the pained chagrin of its hapless owner. There's no work, the road doesn't go anywhere, and a plane ticket out it too expensive. It's the kind of place where dead-enders show up after getting kicked out of the Last Chance Saloon, a hole to crawl in to die. The most dashing of the dead-enders is Frenchman Mario (Yves Montand), a dashing and immoral louse who sponges off his hardworking roommate, acts abusively towards his erstwhile girlfriend, the barmaid Linda (played with va-va-voom naïveté by the director's wife Vera Clouzot) and looks cooler than Humphrey Bogart through all of it.

Continue reading: The Wages Of Fear Review

The Longest Day Review


Excellent
D-Day wasn't just fought at Omaha Beach, though Hollywood may have thought so before The Longest Day. D-Day involved a cast of thousands, and it took producer Darryl Zanuck, five screenwriters, four directors, and three hours just to bring it to the big screen. In fact, Spielberg cribbed large chunks of this film verbatim for Saving Private Ryan. Ultimately, Ryan is the better picture, but The Longest Day shows you more of the story (and it's closer to reality), from the paratrooper force sent in as a diversion, to a half-dozen beach battles, to the French Resistance and how they helped. Aside from a great war tale, Day also marks what must be the only film where you can see John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Fabián, Sal Mineo, Eddie Albert, Red Buttons, Peter Lawford, and Sean Connery all fighting the same war. And on the same side, no less.

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold Review


Very Good
For those who like their spy thrillers convoluted, talky, and depressing, John Le Carre's The Spy Who Came In from the Cold sticks James Bond in the belly with a sucker punch. Sad and chilly, the story gives us Richard Burton as an aging British spy who reluctantly semi-retires to work in a library, where he meets a communist gal (Claire Bloom) he fancies. He picks up a final job -- defect to East Germany, but not really; the job is to feed the communists misinformation. Or is he serious? What about the girl? The Berlin Wall makes for an ominous and chilling symbol, a reminder of our Cold War heritage. Burton and Oskar Werner (who plays his nemesis) earned various acting nominations.
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The Wages of Fear Movie Review

The Wages of Fear Movie Review

"The best thriller ever made" is perhaps too much praise for the movie, while "best...

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