Beyond genre
Le Salaire de la peur
in Henri-Georges Clouzot
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The main purpose of this chapter is to study Henri-Georges Clouzot's Le Salaire de la peur and the particular ratio it exhibits between convention and invention, between the requirements of genre and the ingenuity and worldview of an auteur working with that genre. Le Salaire de la peur, released in April 1953, rose to immediate critical acclaim and commercial success, winning prizes at the Cannes festival for best film and best actor and proving the second most popular film of the year in France. There may be some initial hesitation about what genre Le Salaire belongs to. In practice the film shares many of the defining features of the action-adventure movie. Clouzot seems to adopt many of the conventions of the expensive and expansive adventure film with considerable relish; he invests them with added value, formally, psychologically and morally.

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