The Prize of Peril (1983)

The Prize of Peril (1983)
The Prize of Peril (1983)

Movie Details

The Prize of Peril (1983)
Director-: Yves Boisset
Cast-Gérard Lanvin Michel PiccoliMarie-France Pisier
Movie type- Sci-fi/Thriller
Release date- January 1983
IMDB Rating-6.7
Languages- English and French
Duration-1 Hour 40 Minutes



If you thought The Fugitive – the one-time video rental hit starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Conchita Alonso – was an original film, think again.

A terrified man runs through the city streets from a group of armed executioners dressed in blue uniforms. The chase is watched by enthusiastic passers-by, and the whole thing is filmed by cameramen on motorbikes and in a helicopter. Finally, the pursued man is shot and falls into the water, where his executioners finish him off with oars and chains. The pursuit and murder of a man is part of “The Price of Risk” – a record-breaking popularity game show whose participants voluntarily volunteer to play a life-or-death game; the main prize is one million dollars, but to get it, you have to escape from the hunters and simply survive. So far, no one has achieved this feat. The next candidate is François Jacquemard, an unemployed man who is fed up with living in poverty. Jacquemard quickly becomes the audience’s favorite, but his participation in the game show may pose a threat to the television authorities.

Sounds familiar? No wonder: the starting point of And Death is at Stake is very similar to The Fugitive (1987) by Paul Michael Glaser – a loose film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. The French-Yugoslav co-production directed by Yves Boisset was based on the story The Price of Risk by Robert Sheckley from 1958, which had previously been adapted into a German film ( Das Millionenspiel by Tom Toelli, 1970). Glaser and King borrowed the bloody game show idea and entire sequences and characters from Sheckley and Boisset: the show’s host Mallaire from Death is at Stake is a clear progenitor of Killian from The Runaway . If the recipients still had any doubts about the similarities between the two films, the Supreme Court in Paris did not, which agreed with Boisset’s motion and found Glaser’s painting to be plagiarism, ordering the payment of compensation for moral and financial damages.

There are more associations (apart from The Fugitive , the later series The Hunger Games and reality shows such as American Gladiators and Survivor come to mind ), and in Boisset’s film itself there are echoes of earlier titles, such as Death Live (1980) by Bertrand Tavernier or The Tenth Victim (1965) by Elio Petri . The second picture was also based on Sheckley’s prose (the story The Seventh Victim ), and its main theme is a television program whose participants try to eliminate each other. The American writer was fascinated by the overwhelming influence of the media on society – many of his works are full of absurd humor, bitter satires about the threats posed by technology. Filmmakers have used Sheckley’s work many times, most recently in Casper Christensen and Anthony Hines ‘ Fake Lovers (2023).

And Death is at Stake is not as lavish as The Tenth Victim or as dark as Death Live , but in terms of action cinema with science fiction elements it is in no way inferior to The Fugitive . The film has fast-paced action and a fast pace, contains a large dose of humor and does not play with understatements, and its ending is appropriately bitter and far from a happy ending. Elements of dystopia and satire from Sheckley’s work are also present here, but to a lesser extent than in the above-mentioned productions. This should not be an accusation, because it seems that Boisset – a craftsman known mainly for his well-made thrillers – did not intend to create an in-depth analysis of the social order in which the demoralized mass media dictates what is universally acceptable to the numb masses, but an unpretentious action film with a rough edge. a hero who is impossible not to like. And it worked.

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