‘1 Man 365 Films 365 Days’ – Day 245

#210 / 365 – ‘The Wages of Fear’ (1953) – 131 mins
IMDb Challenge #124 / 250 – Ranked #179 – DVD Collection

In the South American jungle supplies of nitroglycerene are needed at a remote oil field. The oil company pays four men to deliver the supplies in two trucks. A tense rivallry develops between the two sets of drivers and on the rough remote roads the slightest jolt can result in death.

There is an old saying in life which says “desperate men do desperate things.”, and I can think of no better way to describe the motivations of the four men in director Henri-Georges Clouzot’s thriller – The Wages of Fear. This was the first time I had seen a film by the man dubbed the French Hitchcock. The first hour of the film establishes up the four characters, but it’s here where the films main problem lie. Whilst Cluozot does a fantastic job here to some extent, but a good film to me shouldn’t take an hour to develop just four characters, two of which are only in a few scenes come after the hour mark.

Cut to the meat of the film and it really is a thrilling, tensest and suspenseful ride. The ever looming threat of an explosion, as the drivers set out on their hazardous cross-country mission, to drive a ton of nitroglycerin to a burning oil derrick over 300 miles of precarious and unpaved terrain. The Wages of Fear is worth seeking out just for these atmospheric filled sequences, which Clouzot crafts expertly well.

#211 / 365 – ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ (2008) – 120 mins
IMDb Challenge #125 / 250 – Ranked #116 – DVD Collection

When the unlikely Jamal (Dev Patel) gets through round-upon-round of India’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, he is arrested for cheating. During the interrogation, as he tells his tragic life story, it seems fate may be calling the shots…

The fantastic British filmmaker that is Danny Boyle, summons up a flashy, stylish, inspirational and delightful feel-good movie with Dickensian undertones.

#212 / 365 – ‘Jaws’ (1975) – 124 mins
IMDb Challenge #126 / 250 – Ranked #114 – DVD Collection

The peaceful community of Amity island is being terrorised. There is something in the sea that is attacking swimmers. They can no longer enjoy the sea and the sun as they used to, and the spreading fear is affecting the numbers of tourists that are normally attracted to this island. After many attempts the great white shark won’t go away and Sheriff Chief Brody (Roy Scheider), with friends Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and Quint (Robert Shaw) decide to go after the shark and kill it.

Da-Dum…Da-Dum…Da-Dum…Da-Dum-Da-Dum. Humming just a couple of notes of that instantly recognisable, legendary and pulsating John William’s score, and everyone immediately knows what film you are talking about. Jaws in 1975 effectively gave birth to the concept of the Summer Blockbuster as we know it today, and its a wonder it ever got made. Steven Spielberg was a young, relatively unknown filmmaker maker at the time, but as he demonstrated four years earlier in the perfectly streamlined suspense thriller ‘Duel’, he had supreme confidence in his ability.

Yet Jaws isn’t just your run of the mill suspense movie. It is a surprisingly intelligent film with a great strength of character that not only includes nerve-wracking and nail-biting chills, with some inventive camerawork. But also includes fantastic performances by Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw.

Not only is Jaws one of finest pieces of work from one of the Gods in the filmmaking world, it’s also one of the most entertaining films ever made.

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