Author Topic: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'  (Read 2570 times)

neveragain

  • like those swamp tar pits that bubble and go Gloop
My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« on: March 16, 2021, 03:11:38 PM »
New to the Yabba?

Here's what I said on a CaB thread a little while ago...
Wake In Fright (1971) An English primary school teacher working in an isolated Australian outpost decides to sample the local nightlife and soon wishes he hadn't.
I've fallen in love with this film. Firstly, the atmosphere is perfect. The arid, stultifying wasteland full of decrepit shitheaps where's there nothing to do but get pissed. Following on from that, the way alcohol is treated as a horror-film threat that you can't escape from - and which the locals will get very annoyed if you decline - is wonderful. Every time the night, which turns into a weekend, could stop it is furthered by the friendly siren call of "Have another beer?" ... leading to a very upsetting turn of events, featuring real footage of kangaroo hunting spliced in... to make a point about how awful it is I suppose which you may wish to fast forward.
A wonderful slow burn psychological thriller. Donald Pleasance is slimy and sinister as a struck-off doctor.

And here's the link to see it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLUIi02FMK0

Of course, do skip the awful documentary (by which I mean shot, in the sense of recorded, by the director because it was happening and not structured especially for the sake of the film) footage in the middle if you must. I always do.

I would love some more people to see this to enable a bit of discussion. The performances are brilliant all round - particularly the very nuanced turn from Pleasence but also the affable/subtly menacing Chips Rafferty, dislikeable but easy-to-follow Gary Bond, avuncular Al Thomas and poor sad wife Sylvia Kay - not to mention the friendly but threatening feeling that pervades... oh, I just can't get enough of it. I've also since read the slim novel by Kenneth Cook, on which it was based, and that's pretty damn good too.

Another drink mate?

Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2021, 03:35:27 PM »
awesome film. feels like it is about to tip into survival horror at any minute but every mistake made is John's because he can't stop sneering. a film you can actually feel as much as see. Pleasence is unreal in it and the scene where he and John meets is one of my favourite in all of film; the Doc offers the sage advice but John can't hear it....

Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2021, 07:28:05 PM »
Hang on a minute, are you friendly shmup-boy Chryz on resetera? - https://www.resetera.com/threads/shmups-shoot-em-ups-ot-the-full-extent-of-the-jam.1752/page-82#post-60772990

Amazing film, got an empathetic dehydrated day-drinking beer headache just from the first half hour!

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

  • I just want to tell you I've got scabs on my head.
Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2021, 10:25:01 PM »
Doesn't Sylvia Kay play that old soak's daughter rather than his wife? I know she went on to play the mum of both Shelley and Penny from " Just Good Friends" in her subsequent sit- com career.

Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2021, 10:30:01 PM »
Hang on a minute, are you friendly shmup-boy Chryz on resetera? - https://www.resetera.com/threads/shmups-shoot-em-ups-ot-the-full-extent-of-the-jam.1752/page-82#post-60772990

Amazing film, got an empathetic dehydrated day-drinking beer headache just from the first half hour!

just another person with a great taste in avatars!

Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2021, 10:41:09 PM »
Ha. As soon as I'd posted that I thought "mate, more than you and two other people have played the chaos engine".
That would have been cool though. The internet is a smaller world than you'd think sometimes.
Quite a few times I've bumped into people from different places.

GoblinAhFuckScary

  • still freaks my nut to this day
Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2021, 10:43:11 PM »
LOOK MATE I'M FLAT BROKE AND CAN'T AFFORD TO DRINK

St_Eddie

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Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2021, 10:43:23 PM »
All this talk about how good this film is has convinced me into giving it a watch.  Cheers.

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

  • I just want to tell you I've got scabs on my head.
Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2021, 10:50:31 PM »
All this talk about how good this film is has convinced me into giving it a watch.  Cheers.

Brace yourself for those kangaroo killing scenes, though. Quite a tough watch, but have to be seen as they are very much of a piece with the whole squalid atmosphere of the film.

neveragain

  • like those swamp tar pits that bubble and go Gloop
Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2021, 11:16:16 PM »
Doesn't Sylvia Kay play that old soak's daughter rather than his wife?

Thanks, I wondered if I'd got that wrong (she's oddly ageless). The novel features both a daughter and wife in the suburban home and obviously the two have been economised into one character but I wasn't sure which. Either way, she's passed around the men in quite an unsettling fashion. Or maybe it's her one joy?

St_Eddie

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Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2021, 11:42:10 PM »
Brace yourself for those kangaroo killing scenes, though. Quite a tough watch, but have to be seen as they are very much of a piece with the whole squalid atmosphere of the film.

I've read up about that scene via the Wikipedia entry...

Quote
In addition to the film's atmosphere of sordid realism, the kangaroo hunting scene contains graphic footage of kangaroos actually being shot. A disclaimer at the conclusion of the movie states:

PRODUCERS' NOTE

The hunting scenes depicted in this film were taken during an actual kangaroo hunt by professional licensed hunters.

For this reason and because the survival of the Australian kangaroo is seriously threatened, these scenes were shown uncut after consultation with the leading animal welfare organisations in Australia and the United Kingdom.
    — Quoted from the movie credits.


The hunt lasted several hours, and gradually wore down the filmmakers. According to cinematographer Brian West, "the hunters were getting really drunk and they started to miss, ... It was becoming this orgy of killing and we [the crew] were getting sick of it." Kangaroos hopped about helplessly with gun wounds and trailing intestines. Producer George Willoughby fainted after seeing a kangaroo "splattered in a particularly spectacular fashion". The crew orchestrated a power failure in order to end the hunt.

At the 2009 Cannes Classic screening of Wake in Fright, 12 people walked out during the kangaroo hunt.

Kotcheff, a vegetarian, has defended his use of the hunting footage in the film.

As a vegetarian animal lover myself, I think I will be okay with the scene, given that the director is also a vegetarian and that animal welfare organisations condoned the scene's inclusion to highlight the animal cruelty which sadly exists within this world.

neveragain

  • like those swamp tar pits that bubble and go Gloop
Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2021, 11:49:26 PM »
Still a tough watch but glad you're giving the film a go. I await your comments.

Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2021, 07:52:50 AM »
There's a documentary on Prime with a similar theme that I found completely gripping - Hotel Coolgardie. It's about two Finnish girls who go to work in an outback pub for the summer - it's a very unsettling film.

Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2021, 08:07:00 AM »
Here's my hot take, it's not really an Australian film.  The production is all European, two of the leads are played by Europeans and also I've met very few Australians who've actually heard of the movie.  Those that have tend to be artsy older left wing types.

That said,  it is very Australian in places.  The whole 'what's the matter?  Don't you want a drink, mate?' is super Australian.  Chips Rafferty is also super Australian  (apparently he was drinking upwards of 20 'pots' a day and still wasn't drunk).  I rewatched it recently with two Aussie mates and they seemed to enjoy it, found it thought provoking but we did fast forward through the roo hunt scene.

Up there with Mad Max 2:  The Road Warrior for best Aussie film I reckon, it's definitely top 5.

Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2021, 09:35:41 AM »
Here's my hot take, it's not really an Australian film.  The production is all European, two of the leads are played by Europeans and also I've met very few Australians who've actually heard of the movie.  Those that have tend to be artsy older left wing types.

That said,  it is very Australian in places.  The whole 'what's the matter?  Don't you want a drink, mate?' is super Australian.  Chips Rafferty is also super Australian  (apparently he was drinking upwards of 20 'pots' a day and still wasn't drunk).  I rewatched it recently with two Aussie mates and they seemed to enjoy it, found it thought provoking but we did fast forward through the roo hunt scene.

Up there with Mad Max 2:  The Road Warrior for best Aussie film I reckon, it's definitely top 5.

Based on an Australian novel though. Ted Kotcheff (Canadian) said he just transposed what he knew about pissed up lumberjacks onto the Australian mise-en-scene.

Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2021, 09:36:22 AM »
There's a documentary on Prime with a similar theme that I found completely gripping - Hotel Coolgardie. It's about two Finnish girls who go to work in an outback pub for the summer - it's a very unsettling film.

yeah that is a complete mess of a situation, those brave girls

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

  • I just want to tell you I've got scabs on my head.
Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2021, 10:18:11 PM »
What's the matter with 'im? ' E'd rather talk with a woman than drink.

neveragain

  • like those swamp tar pits that bubble and go Gloop
Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2021, 11:03:52 PM »
Teacher.

Brundle-Fly

  • "Why don't you do something to help me?"
Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2021, 11:23:42 PM »
I watched this classic, a few years ago, and remarked to the other half, that WIF could never be remade in the present because of cashpoints and mobile phones.

Naturally, I discovered two minutes later there was a 2017 mini-series.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3NNU1rsgYI

GoblinAhFuckScary

  • still freaks my nut to this day
Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2021, 12:53:53 AM »
I cannot accept your premise, Socrates.

Affectability?

Progress?

A vanity spawned by fear.

A vanity spawned... by... fear.

The aim of what you call civilisation is a man in a smoking jacket, whiskey and cider, pressing a bottom of...

A button... to destroy a planet a billion miles away, kill a billion people he's never seen.

Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2021, 01:00:10 AM »
Yabba dabba doo I like drinkin with you

zomgmouse

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Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2021, 03:53:53 AM »
this film continues to haunt me. pure brilliance

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

  • I just want to tell you I've got scabs on my head.
Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2021, 08:46:55 AM »
" What do you do?"
" I drink."
* gives winning smile*

Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2021, 09:13:14 AM »
Saw this last night on the recommendations in this thread. Man alive. A film you can smell.

Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2021, 03:16:01 PM »
reemember seeing the trailer for this a few years before the print was restored and still going by the title OUTBACK. Really, really funny. Gets across perfectly how fucked the whole thing is, zero hint of the story, long montage of everyone punching and drinking, almost a Fast Show moment

https://youtu.be/RPZLawvIk_8

Cuntbeaks

  • Where you fay?
Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2021, 04:31:51 PM »
Brilliant film, the ending is both bleak and uplifting.

Showed it to a mate who had lived in a small mining town in the Outback for a few years and he said it was almost like a documentary.

neveragain

  • like those swamp tar pits that bubble and go Gloop
Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2021, 04:44:19 PM »
I cannot accept your premise, Socrates.

Affectability?

Progress?

A vanity spawned by fear.

A vanity spawned... by... fear.

The aim of what you call civilisation is a man in a smoking jacket, whiskey and cider, pressing a bottom of...

A button... to destroy a planet a billion miles away, kill a billion people he's never seen.

Wonderful writing.

Rev+

  • Like it is, like it sounds
Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2021, 01:19:24 AM »
I watched this classic, a few years ago, and remarked to the other half, that WIF could never be remade in the present because of cashpoints and mobile phones.

Naturally, I discovered two minutes later there was a 2017 mini-series.

And it's alright, but has nothing of the sweaty atmosphere of the film.  The story has some significant changes, but I've not read the novel, so maybe it's more faithful to the source.

neveragain

  • like those swamp tar pits that bubble and go Gloop
Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2021, 11:29:59 AM »
Yeah, I've just watched the first episode. As well as the atmosphere it lacks ambiguity with the characters; the copper and Doc are just straight up arseholes in a very obvious way. The writer's made lots of changes, which is fine, it's a new version, but you lose the original theme of toxic masculinity and the (not in the novel) kickboxin' drug-dealin' loan shark is a load of nonsense. But played well.

imitationleather

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Re: My Current Film Obsession: 'Wake In Fright'
« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2021, 12:37:23 PM »
A Wake in Fright remake. Now I've seen it all! (Although, admittedly, I haven't seen the Wake in Fright remake.)

I love the film so much. I watched it one Halloween years ago and am always trying to get mates to give it a go.

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