It’s raining here tonight and by “raining” I mean it’s coming down like a sonofabitch.
Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.
Anyway, I got nothin’ tonight blogwise, but I do have a brand new Criterion edition of The Wages of Fear, so the dogs and I are going to stretch out on the bed and watch it without the english subtitles. I don’t speak french, but Satchmo does so he’s going to interpret.
I swear, half the time I think he just makes most of the dialogue up, which would explain all of the knock-knock jokes in Au revoir les enfants
Notes of TWOF:
When Wages of Fear was initially released in the ’50s, certain “anti-American” scenes were cut from U.S. versions of the print. The movie portrays an American oil company (modeled after Standard Oil) as being ruthless, amoral, and money-grubbing. The corporation hires four down-on-their-luck individuals to transport the nitroglycerine because, if the men don’t make it, no one will miss them and there will be no messy union problems. It’s important to note that Clouzot does not openly criticize Americans or the American lifestyle (something that would have been risky less than a decade after the end of World War II), but American big business practices. Watching a restored version of the film nearly 50 years later, this aspect seems neither offensive nor hard-hitting; in fact, if anything, it adds to Wages of Fear’s believability. And, by today’s standards, Clouzot’s approach is barely tough enough to be considered cynical.
Tomorrow night the lovely and talented Casey & I are going to go see V for Vendetta…because we probably hate America. And love popcorn.
(Added): I thought this was really interesting. In the booklet accompanying The Wages of Fear is an introduction to the film by novelist Dennis Lehane who writes:
Critics at the time charged that The Wages Of Fear was virulently anti-American (Time magazine, in 1955, called it “a picture that is surely one of the most evil made”) but this is missing the ravaged forest for the blighted trees. As director Karel Reiscz pointed out in a 1991 Film Comment article, the film is “anti-American,” but only insofar as it is “unselectively and impartially anti-everything.”
Compare that with Apuzzo’s take on Vendetta:
Emerging from the cinema after watching V For Vendetta, it occured to me that had Goebbels lived a bit longer he probably wouldâ€™ve offered the job to the Wachowskis – whom, I suspect, wouldâ€™ve given him something much closer to what he wanted than Herr Lang.
This is another way of saying that V For Vendetta is essentially the Jud SÃ¼ÃŸ of our time. Of course, some of you may never have heard of Jud SÃ¼ÃŸ or the people who made it – and will therefore need to do a little research. Others of you will know what Iâ€™m talking about â€¦ but wonâ€™t care, or will think Iâ€™m being â€˜over the top.â€™ Fine.
But I can say with complete assurance that thereâ€™s going to come a day in the future – and itâ€™s a pity weâ€™ll need to wait for that day – when the people associated with the production of V For Vendetta will be as reviled and despised as the people associated with that most notorious film.
It’s 1955 all over again!