A brilliant, graphic picture of outback mateship on a bender, Wake in Fright is an exhilarating blast of righteous alienation penned in the 60s and a legendary, hard-to-see classic of 70s cinema. Brit actor Gary Bond is John, a cool handsome young blade from Sydney, working out his Education Department bond in an outback school. He’s heading home for Christmas when he’s stuck in Bundanyabba (actually Broken Hill) at the mercy of the belligerently hospitable locals.
‘All the little devils are proud of Hell,’ explains Donald Pleasence, as the town’s alcoholic doctor (and living health warning to educated blokes). The orgy of booze, brawling, gambling, and brutal sex is realised with stunning credibility by Canadian director Ted Kotcheff: the actors – young Jack Thompson is prominent – are scarily into it. The notorious kangaroo hunt – a drunken rampage of destruction – is as shockingly exciting as long-reputed in this superb digital restoration. - BG