Watch: Wake in Fright 1971 123movies, Full Movie Online – 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..
Plot: 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 as one night stretches into several he plunges headlong into his own destruction.
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|7.6/10 Votes: 12,647
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Under the weather down under
Kenneth Cook was posted as a young man by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (our state-owned broadcaster) to the NSW outback mining town of Broken Hill in the early 1950s. This experience provided the basis for his scarifying first novel, “Wake in Fright”, published in 1960. In the novel, Gary, a young schoolteacher bonded to the State Education Department to teach in a desolate desert whistle stop, visits “Bundayabba” (Broken Hill) on his way back to Sydney, surf and girlfriend for the vacation, loses all his money in a two-up game in a desperate attempt to pay off his bond and descends into drunkenness and depravity with the friendly locals, who all appear to be carrying on as they normally do.
This film was made from the novel in 1970 by a production company hitherto associated with light TV entertainment. The then fairly young Canadian director, Ted Kotchoff, with a couple of foreign leads, Donald Pleasance and Gary Bond, was quite happy to accept Cook’s ugly Australians as his local characters and his parody of “mateship” as the social cement binding them together. The dialogue may be spare but the editing (by Tony Buckley) is great, and we are right inside Gary’s head as he loses it.
I saw this movie when it first came out in New Zealand, where it passed almost without comment. Australian audiences did not flock to see it, and the general critical reaction was that it was too confronting. Nearly 40 years later, restored by the Australian Film Archive, it is a well-made classic which still has plenty of punch. Gary Bond as the hapless schoolteacher is very convincing. Chips Rafferty as the local policeman with a pragmatic approach to enforcing the law exudes a low-level air of menace. Donald Pleasance as “Doc” the alcoholic ex-doctor who leads Gary astray is not so much menacing as over the top, but very amusing all the same. The rest of the cast are suitably ocker.
Much has changed in the outback since the 1950s. Most of the people you rub up against in the bars of mining towns are likely to be from somewhere else, and you’d be lucky to hear those harsh bush accents. Broken Hill has shrunk a bit and is now a pretty quiet place. The Education Department no longer goes in for bush slavery – this is no more than an historical portrait. Yet many city dwellers still see the outback as Gary sees it – a place full of drunken homoerotic dickheads who abuse their environment, treat women like public conveniences and whose idea of mateship is to keep their mates drunk. “Wake in Fright” is best seen as very vivid fiction, a horror movie in fact. I don’t think Kenneth Cook set out to write non-fiction. Neither was Ted Kotchoff trying to make a documentary. But, with the aid of several good actors and a host of authentic extras he created such a realistic atmosphere that many viewers were misled.
The film, which launched the career of Jack Thomson for one, is said to have given the Australian film industry a boost, even though few saw it. Certainly some fine films followed ; “Picnic at Hanging Rock”, “The Getting of Wisdom”, “The Devil’s Playground”, “The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith” for example. But history prevailed – modern Australia was not yet ready to film.
Raw introduction to Australian outback life
You can’t help admiring many aspects of this confronting movie. The use of light is inspired. Fantastic colour too. Some brilliant camera angles, and some advanced editing techniques. It conveys the heat of the outback, the dust of the towns, the sweat of everybody. Great actors, truly, really great. The story itself is fairly straightforward. It’s the odd touches that are memorable. A receptionist dousing herself with water. A drunk man registering that some food in his pocket needs to be in the fridge, so he just stuffs the entire jacket into the freezer. The occasional flashback of a girlfriend, miles away in a seemingly enchanted world, coming out of the surf at Bondi. A slow pan of a lonely outback railway stop. A rabbit turned into lunch. I listened to an interview with the Director, whom claimed this movie is about the human condition that we are all capable of being our worst imagined selves, as well as our best, and as such the movie was not commentary on Australian males of that time, but more about a stranger in a strange land. That’s probably true. In my experience (I’ve stayed in country towns), the film was a fairly accurate description of country blokes’ obsession with beer on the weekends, and I was impressed with how the movie shows how truly vulnerable a single guy from the city can be in such an insistent culture. I also liked the way in which Wake In Fright never quite passes judgement by making anyone evil or aloof in any way. The protagonist does try to be civil, and he is honest, so he’s not really to blame for the adventures that follow. Similarly the guys he encounters are not out to corrupt or have fun at his expense. They are all genuinely just out to enjoy the weekend, and, in their own peculiar fashion, they are all being generous. The soundtrack is impressive too. I’ll concede that it sounds a little old-fashioned and 1960s, similar to the horror movies of that time, but the sounds are nevertheless a very fine example of that vogue. Indeed, Wake In Fright is a very fine example of gritty outback drama. I don’t remember seeing it in its day, I only saw it today. Wake In Fright certainly has power. I’m looking forward to checking out the TV series. Cheers!
Original Language en
Runtime 1 hr 49 min (109 min), 1 hr 37 min (97 min) (censored) (USA)
Genre Drama, Thriller
Director Ted Kotcheff
Writer Evan Jones, Kenneth Cook, Ted Kotcheff
Actors Donald Pleasence, Gary Bond, Chips Rafferty
Country Australia, United States, United Kingdom
Awards 1 nomination
Production Company N/A
Sound Mix Mono
Aspect Ratio 1.85 : 1
Laboratory Colorfilm Pty. Ltd., Sydney, Australia (as Colorfilm Pty. Limited), Technicolor (colour by) (as Technicolor®)
Film Length N/A
Negative Format 35 mm
Cinematographic Process Spherical
Printed Film Format 35 mm