Wake in Fright (1971)
Wake in Fright is a 1971 Australian-American thriller film directed by Ted Kotcheff and starring Gary Bond, Donald Pleasence and Chips Rafferty. The screenplay was written by Evan Jones, based on Kenneth Cook's 1961 novel of the same name. Made on a budget of A$800,000, the film was an Australian/American co-production by NLT Productions and Group W. Wake in Fright tells the story of a young schoolteacher who descends into personal moral degradation after finding himself stranded in a brutal, menacing town in outback Australia. For many years, Wake in Fright enjoyed a reputation as Australia's great "lost film" because of its unavailability on VHS or DVD, as well as its absence from television broadcasts. In mid-2009, however, a thoroughly restored digital re-release was shown in Australian theatres to considerable acclaim. Later that same year it was issued commercially on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Wake in Fright is now recognised as a seminal film of the Australian New Wave. Australian musician and screenwriter Nick Cave called Wake in Fright "The best and most terrifying film about Australia in existence."