The plot of William Friedkin's suspense thriller originated with the same Georges Arnaud novel that inspired Henri-Georges Clouzot's French suspense classic The Wages of Fear (1953). Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal, and Amidou play four men who, for various reasons, cannot return to their own countries. They end up in a dismal South American town where an American oil company is seeking out courageous drivers willing to haul nitroglycerin over 200 miles of treacherous terrain. The four stateless men have nothing to lose -- and, besides, they'll be paid 10,000 dollars apiece, and be granted legal citizenship, if they survive. The suspense is almost unbearable at times, even outdistancing the tension level of The Wages of Fear in certain scenes. Unfortunately while this film should have been a blockbuster given Friedkin’s preceding films (French Connection & Exorcist) it’s ultimate BO success was hampered by being released one month after Star Wars.and arguably by it’s title. This is a fascinating movie with an even more fascinating back story.
A couple travels to an old castle in France for the reading of the will of the woman's recently deceased wealthy uncle. It turns out that he left her his castle and its grounds. They turn down an offer by a local businessman to buy the castle, and not long after that strange things begin to happen, most of them directed at the young woman.
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