The Louis Jourdan Website - Wages of Fear
Director: Norman Felton
Writers: Georges Arnaud (novel Le Salaire de la Peur), Adrian Spies (adaptation)
Cast also included: Hope Miller
Aired on: Robert Montgomery Presents The American Tobacco Theater,
NBC, May 3, 1954
Louis Jourdan plays a vagabond European stranded in a remote part of Guatamala, who takes up a lucrative offer to drive a volatile cargo of nitro glycerine along a highly dangerous route to put out an oil fire.
Originally a 1950 French novel, following the year that the movie version directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot was released in France, “Robert Montgomery Presents” brought the story to US television starring Louis Jourdan (before its 1955 appearance in American cinemas).
The drama surrounds five men with no future in a remote oil town where working practices are questionable. When an oil field catches fire in near-inaccessible jungle, volunteers are sought to deliver a highly explosive cargo along an exceedingly perilous route, presenting a lucrative opportunity which could turn around the men's grim and hopeless existence.
Four are chosen to drive the two trucks, one mysteriously meeting his death to give the fifth his place, and the tension amongst the drivers fills over from the beginning of the journey, the hazards before them never worth the “wages of fear.”
This was the part Louis Jourdan had been waiting for - devoid of glamour and high on intensity, and beginning a series of productions which lead to a relaunch of his career.