Wake in Fright is the story of John Grant, a bonded teacher who arrives in the rough outback mining town of Bundanyabba planning to stay overnight before catching the plane to Sydney. But his one night stretches to five and he plunges headlong toward his own destruction. When the alcohol-induced mist lifts, the educated John Grant is no more. Instead there is a self-loathing man in a desolate wasteland, dirty, red-eyed, sitting against a tree and looking at a rifle with one bullet left... Written by
John Grant's comments about moonlight - "like snow on the desert's dusty face" - is taken from 'The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam', Quatrain 14. See more »
As Grant leaves the hotel bar in Tiboonda, he takes one last swig of beer - leaving his glass half full. In the next shot, when the camera focuses on the interior of the bar, his glass is now empty. See more »
The aim of what you call civilisation is a man in a smokin' jacket, whiskey and soda, pressing a bottom... button, to destroy a planet a billion miles away, and kill a billion people he's never seen.
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I noted that Speen and some other media commentators think that 'Wake in Fright' was a foreign product that just happened to be made here in Oz.
My father was approached by EMI in 1967 or there abouts. The introduction of colour TV in the US had created a demand for weekly films on the networks, and they were rapidly exhausting the supply of colour films (colour only became the norm post WWII).
EMI was approaching media companies around the world to produce films for cinema release. The two caveats were that the films must contain at least one US marqee name (a recognisable draw card), and the rights for US TV must be given to EMI. All other matter of production were a matter for locals.
My father - who was running a large company in OZ (which had a recording arm) and had been involved in the start of TV, signed up.
The result were to very different films. "Squeeze a Flower" with Walter Chiari (who had starred in 'They're a Weird Mob' two years earlier) with Jack Albertson as the US star, and 'Wake in Fright' with Donald Pleasance as the star.
They utilised largely Oz casts, largely Oz crew and were moderately successful financially (from the Oz viewpoint, I don't know how EMI faired). Even Dave Allen who many now think of as an English or Irish star was the host of 'In Sydney Tonight' at the time (the Harbourside version of Graham Kennedies 'In Melbourne Tonight').
The follow on from this scheme of EMI was the beginings of TV features - specifically filmed for TV as feature films. But "Squeeze a Flower" and "Wake in Fright" were Oz films created for a TV market.
The success of 'Wake in Fright'and 'Walkabout' at the same time, along with the support of the Gorton Government for backing the new film push, started the ball rolling for Oz film's renaissance.
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