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Wake in Fright (1971)

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2:02 | Trailer
After a bad gambling bet, a schoolteacher is marooned in a town full of crazy, drunk, violent men who threaten to make him just as crazy, drunk, and violent.

Director:

Ted Kotcheff

Writers:

Evan Jones (screenplay), Kenneth Cook (based on the novel "Wake in Fright" by)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

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

John Grant, a teacher working in the remote Australian town of Tiboonda, is under a financial bond with his Government job. At the end of term before Christmas holidays, he plans to visit his girlfriend in Sydney. In order to catch a flight to Sydney, he takes a train to the nearby mining town called Bundanyabba (or "The Yabba"), and plans to stay there overnight before moving on further to the airport. But things go grossly out of script as he is engulfed by the Yabba and its disconcerting residents. Written by PipingHotViews

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The 40th anniversary of a lost classic from the Outback [2011 re-release] See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Australia | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 October 1971 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Outback See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

AUD800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,761, 7 October 2012

Gross USA:

$50,394

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$218,164
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

NLT Productions, Group W See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (censored)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Ted Kotcheff recalled that Chips Rafferty, whose last film appearance this was, insisted on drinking real pints of beer during the bar sequences. Kotcheff substituted non-alcoholic beers for the real stuff, but Rafferty could tell immediately that it had no alcoholic content and demanded proper pints be served. He told Kotcheff: "You concentrate on the directing, I'll concentrate on the drinking." The director calculated that due to this, Rafferty was drinking up to 30 pints per day. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
John Grant: [checks his watch] Alright, off you go.
[children clamour as they leave the classroom]
Young Girl: Happy Christmas, teacher!
Dave: Happy new year.
John Grant: Thank you, Dave.
Sam: Give my love to your girlfriend in Sydney, sir.
John Grant: I'll do that, Sam, thank you.
Chris: Have a happy holiday, sir.
John Grant: [shakes his hand] And you, Chris. Thank you. Enjoy yourself.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Aside from changing the title to "Outback", all international prints credit Group W Films (the more-recognized American production partner) ahead of NLT Productions. With the restoration of the uncut Australian release, this has been reversed. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the original Australian release Gary Bond is shown naked during two shots. In the international version he is wearing underpants. See more »


Soundtracks

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
(uncredited)
Written by Johnny Marks
Performed by a band at the RSL Club
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Quite Possibly The Most Realistic Film I've Ever Seen
21 August 2005 | by Sturgeon54See 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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