movie review

WAKE IN FRIGHT (1971)

Wake In Fright

1971, Australia

Director: Ted Kotcheff

Staring: Donald Pleasence, Gary Bond, Chips Rafferty

Viewed: Streaming on Amazon Prime

Transfer Quality: Good enough

Man this movie is deranged and completely fucked up.  I’d seen this poster around forever, but the trailer and story line just never really grabbed me enough to give it a go.  Well last night I took a chance and gave it a shot based on not being able to find anything else to watch.  I’m glad I finally made the decision to spend the time with this weirdness.

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The story is that of a under paid schoolteacher in Australia who has been working in a remote town for the government.  When the school year ends the teacher goes on holiday trying to visit the city of Sydney to see his girlfriend. His train stops in a small Australian redneck town, and he has one night in Bundanyabba (the Yabba) and ends up getting ridiculously drunk and gambling all of his life savings away (doesn’t seem like much of a savings really).  The teacher has nowhere to stay and no money to catch another train or bus to get out of this drunken violent hell.  He ends up waking up on different people’s floors and beds after many nights of debauchery. The teacher starts hanging out with an alcoholic doctor who doesn’t believe in money (played by the infamous Donald Pleasence of Halloween).  This might be DP’s best role ever as he steals the show in this one.  I actually was wondering if the director got Pleasence completely shitfaced and just let him have at it with the character he was playing.

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The pair goes out drunkenly hunting for kangaroos with some red neck miners driving them around shooting in the bush. They chase and kill many a kangaroo.  They also drunkenly fist fight and wrestle these beautiful beasts.  Some of this film is hard to watch.  As (DC) said to me about this film when I told him I was viewing it… “Donald Pleasence is Satan in that movie”.  When (MA) asked me what film I would have as a double feature with Wake In Fright I immediately said Last House On The Left.

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