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Wake in Fright (1971)

 -  Drama  -  21 July 1971 (France)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,946 users   Metascore: 88/100
Reviews: 47 user | 99 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

John Grant, a bonded teacher, arrives in a rough outback mining town planning to stay overnight before starting his holiday. But one night stretches to several and with the aid of alcohol he plunges headlong toward his own destruction.

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(screenplay), (based on the novel by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Doc Tydon
Gary Bond ...
John Grant
Chips Rafferty ...
Jock Crawford
Sylvia Kay ...
Janette Hynes
...
Dick
Peter Whittle ...
Joe
Al Thomas ...
Tim Hynes
...
Charlie
John Armstrong ...
Atkins
Slim DeGrey ...
Jarvis (as Slim De Grey)
Maggie Dence ...
Receptionist
Norm Erskine ...
Joe the Cook (as Norman Erskine)
Owen Moase ...
1st Controller
John Dalleen ...
2nd Controller
Buster Fiddess ...
Charlie Jones
Edit

Storyline

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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

mining town | teacher | night | holiday | visit | See more »

Taglines:

Have a drink, mate? Have a fight, mate? Have some dust and sweat, mate? There's nothing else out here.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

21 July 1971 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Outback  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$6,761 (USA) (5 October 2012)

Gross:

$50,394 (USA) (21 December 2012)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There are two drink sizes ordered - a middy (10 fluid oz or 285 ml) and a schooner (15 fluid oz or 425 ml). See more »

Goofs

Inside Doc Tydon's hut, there is a window near the back door seen when Grant wants to go to the toilet. However, from outside, the window is at least a meter from the door. See more »

Quotes

'Doc' Tydon: 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.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 40,000 Years of Dreaming (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

She'll be coming around the mountain
(uncredited)
Traditional, based on a Negro spiritual
Sung by passengers on the train
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Quite Possibly The Most Realistic Film I've Ever Seen
21 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The first time I watched this, I really didn't know what to make of it; it was so different from any other film I had ever seen. It seemed as if it was filmed with virtually no budget, the sets and atmosphere were completely dingy, the setting and much of the language was foreign to me, and it felt like a kind of homemade independent film. However, upon a second viewing, I see it for the richly-textured masterpiece that it is, and for the awesome attention to detail that must have gone into it which I had taken for granted the first time.

There have been other films with similar subject matter in alternate settings of cultured men reduced to a kind of forgotten primitivity, but I think the thing that sets this movie apart is the fact that director Ted Kotcheff remains completely neutral toward all of the characters - both the cultured schoolteacher as well as the locals. By the end of the film, no character remains unscathed, and yet no character is completely without sympathy, either. It must be quite difficult for a director to remain impartial, especially when most stories require audience sympathy for a protagonist versus an antagonist for story momentum. This impartiality establishes an incredible realism in the film which is difficult to shake off. Here, as in life, things just happen to the main character organically - whether there is any rhyme, reason, or moral to any of it is the complete burden of the audience to figure out.

Another key aspect to the film is its universality. Most people would like to believe that in the modern world, and especially a modern country such as Australia or the U.S, that such ugly colloquial primitivity has been largely purged from polite society, but they would be quite wrong. I can equate some of my own personal experiences with those of the main character in this film, and so felt an uncomfortable recognition as I was watching this. Moroever, virtually every scene in the film I could envision actually occurring - something I cannot say about any other I can think of. Sam Peckinpah's filmic explorations of perverse masculinity, some of Samuel Fuller's work, and "Deliverance" are the only movies that achieve something close to the kind of effect this movie has, and even Peckinpah felt the need to resort to flashy cinematic stylistics to get his points across.

This movie has not aged one bit, and probably never will. It is a tragedy that it has all but disappeared even in its own country of Australia. Director Kotcheff displayed an amazing early talent; it is too bad that his career never reached another peak like this - even in "First Blood" and "Uncommon Valor" - two of his other films with similar themes. And that the same man ended up directing "Weekend at Bernie's" and episodes of "Zalman King's Red Shoe Diaries"!!! The world is a crazy place, and one need only watch this film to realize this fact.


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