“Have a drink, mate? Have a fight, mate? Have a taste of dust and sweat, mate? There’s nothing else out here.” Balanced on a knife-edge between social realism and existential horror, this disturbing, subversive portrayal of Australia’s cultural underbelly failed to find a wide audience on its original release, but has since become established as a seminal cornerstone of the Australian cinema.
A middle-class schoolteacher, stuck in a government-enforced teaching post in an arid backwater, stops off in the mining town of Bundanyabba on his way home for the Christmas holidays. Discovering a local gambling craze that may grant him the financial independence to move back to Sydney for good, the opportunity proves irresistible. But the bad decisions are just beginning and a reliance on local standards of hospitality in “the Yabba” may take him on a path darker than ever expected.
One of the many triumphs in director Ted Kotcheff’s career, Wake in Fright effortlessly sustains the quality of a sun-baked nightmare, with a relentless forward drive and outstanding performances by Donald Pleasance, Gary Bond, Sylvia Kay, and Chips Rafferty in his final role. A brutal, gripping dissection of the limits of masculinity and amorality to stand alongside Straw Dogs, A Clockwork Orange, and Deliverance, it remains a stunning entry in the envelope-pushing cinema of the early 1970s. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present this film in a new Dual Format edition for its UK home viewing premiere.
New high-definition 1080p presentation of the film, from the 2009 restoration
Full-length audio commentary on the feature by director Ted Kotcheff and editor Anthony Buckley
23-minute video interview with Kotcheff
Who Needs Art? – a 6-minute piece covering the production of the film
4-minute eulogy to actor Chips Rafferty by director Ken G. Hall
7-minute TV report on the film’s restoration and rediscovery
U.S. TV trailer for the film under its American release title of “Outback”
48-PAGE FULL-COLOUR BOOKLET containing a new and exclusive essay on the film by critic and scholar Adrian Martin; an essay by Peter Galvin; pieces on the film’s rediscovery by Meg Labrum and Graham Shirley of the National Film & Sound Archive, Australia;