(Australia/US - 1971)
Directed by Ted Kotcheff. Written by Evan Jones. Cast: Donald Pleasence, Gary Bond, Chips Rafferty, Sylvia Kay, Jack Thompson, John Meillon, Peter Whittle, Al Thomas. (Unrated, 109 mins)
(SOME SPOILERS DISCUSSED)
Based on a 1963 novel by Kenneth Cook, 1971's WAKE IN FRIGHT is a still controversial early film in the 1970s Australian New Wave, a renaissance that began with films like this and Nicolas Roeg's WALKABOUT (also 1971) and continued throughout the decade with standouts like PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (1975) and MY BRILLIANT CAREER (1979) and into the 1980s with BREAKER MORANT (1980) and THE ROAD WARRIOR (1982), among many others. WAKE IN FRIGHT, a US co-production headlined by two British actors and directed by Canadian Ted Kotcheff, is a famous and infamous film in Australian cult cinema, influential and abhorred, revered and reviled, and unlike anything you've ever seen. Among its fans is Martin Scorsese, whose 1985 film AFTER HOURS has a bit of an NYC WAKE IN FRIGHT vibe to it. After its theatrical run, it was screened only sporadically, and never appeared on home video. Edited and censored prints turned up here and there over the decades but the original, uncensored negative was nowhere to be found and the complete WAKE IN FRIGHT became a de facto "lost" film. That changed when the negative was found in a Pittsburgh storage facility in 2004 (US co-producer Group W Films was a short-lived wing of the Pittsburgh-based radio network Westinghouse Broadcasting), in a container labeled "For destruction." The film underwent an extensive restoration before being unveiled at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival and being released on the midnight movie circuit by the Alamo Drafthouse in late 2012. It was just released on a stunning-looking Blu-ray (and DVD) and finally, after over 40 years, is widely available to be seen, discussed, and debated once more.
|Ted Kotcheff today|
|Chips Rafferty (1909-1971)|