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8 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kangaroo Lovers Avoid, 25 Nov 2013
A great accidental find for me - I'd never heard of it. Gary Bond is a very English sounding Aussie who wants out of the Outback. Beyond that it'd be giving out too much information to say much more than it is a compelling and very well shot 'wilderness' film which is undeniably brutal, as supposedly civilized (though perhaps rather arrogant) natural city-dweller finds himself trying to get home for Christmas and away from the threat of 'going native'. In fact the threat from the Aussie country lads (and gal) is very well done. However, it doesn't necessarily go all 'Straw Dogs' as you might expect after the first twenty minutes or so. Donald Pleasance heads the grotesques in a subtle, knowing performance of a subtle, knowing man with 'issues'. Gripping stuff.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it - A keeper, 7 Mar 2014
This review is from: Wake in Fright (Masters of Cinema) (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD] [1971] (Blu-ray)
Wake in Fright was initially released in 1971 and is back with us after a 40 year absence and promises to be one of the more worthy and delightful releases of the year, arriving straight after the Oscars hoopla has been and gone. In its first incarnation, was nominated for a Palme D'Or, had a sub titled long run in a cinema in Paris, then sat undiscovered in an archive for years, and was at one time going to be destroyed. Scorsese is but one of its famous fans and it would appeal to Scorsese's sense of the beautiful and brutal in male chauvinism. It is a film that both compounds the cultural clichés of its native land, rebukes them and not surprisingly was and is controversial in being an honest and true account of the nastier elements of Australian culture - right down to the depiction of an actual kangaroo killing spree, just when 'Skippy' was one of the nation's much treasured exports.
The film is adapted from the book of the same name, a critically acclaimed bestselling novel by Kenneth Cook, with a foreword (and forewarning…), "you may dream of the devil and wake in fright."
Its central protagonist, John Grant (played by Gary Bond who looks like a brown eyed, young Peter O Toole) suffers immeasurably, descending into madness as the menfolk who surround him show him the delights of 'The Yabba.' A wide panning shot of Tiboonda - the one school, arid and heat caked location shows the life for John to escape from, bound for Sydney with a one night stop off at Bundanyabba, where his money is lost on a gambling turn for the worst.
Throughout the film there are flashbacks to a better life, a beautiful girl, a creature given the iconographic stature of a bond femme fatale coming out of the waves of a glorious beach to kiss her man. An image so far, far away from the spiralling madness which is his present and the ever recurring message that the life that is on offer is for a 'good bloke.' The prospect of sex offered to John makes him sick. Little wonder upon the discovery that the woman, Janette, played brilliantly by Sylvia Kay has been with most of the men in the town, the more distasteful aspects of her sexuality welcomed by her soul mate 'Doc' Tydon, a role given over with relish by Donald Pleasence.
This educated man, alone and lost in the world in which he has found himself is gradually taught the ways of the life (the beers in Yabba are called 'West End' offering the promise of a glamorous existence felt elsewhere) and 'Doc' painstakingly offers one empty philosophy after another behind the justification of a nilhistic and nasty life, none of which hold any credence with John's consistent distaste, the fight these two have as drunk buddies though smacks of the wafer thin distance between male bonding and homosexuality. The killings of the Kangaroos is very disturbing and not for the squeamish, but is essential in showing the sheer degradation and impoverishment of spirit abound in Yabba. The director, determined to offer the required realism shot it as real stock footage with a note in the end credits as to the authenticity.
Coming to us in the first quadrant of the year, this delightful gem of a film - a lost classic, deservedly beloved by the great and good in moviedom is most welcome and deserves to be a fair way ahead of Mad Max as iconographic modern Australian Cinema. See first in the cinema, then buy as collectors piece, it's a keeper.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MoC / Eureka TK - Wake in Fright - BluRay, 1 April 2014
By 
Cookie (Salford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wake in Fright (Masters of Cinema) (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD] [1971] (Blu-ray)
Perfect transfer - gorgeous booklet - Terrifying and amazing film!

If you like Loach, Lynch and Leigh - you'll like the 'Yabba!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN AUSTRALIAN MASTERPIECE, 31 Oct 2012
By 
Peter Fraser "cinerama" (Sydney, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Truly one of the greatest of all Australian films. Released ( and restored) for the first time and uncut on Bluray and it looks fantastic. A film to see over and again.The bluray has many extras as well.One of the great cinematic films of the century.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Lost Australian classic gets the MoC treatment, 6 April 2014
By 
Rob Simpson "noframeof" (Middlesbrough, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wake in Fright (Masters of Cinema) (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD] [1971] (Blu-ray)
It's no wonder that its such a controversial figure in Australia. It doesn't exactly depict the outback with any lightness of touch, instead opting to place to English teacher lead in a situation of increasingly aggressive hospitality. A situation that leads him down a rabbit hole of beer and hunting, and even though that may not sound too bad its framed in a way that is more in key with a horror film. Especially with the horrifying, unflinching Kangaroo Hunt. Editing and score are the great icons of this. Early on the score is simple and jaunty, but as Grant gets deeper into the Yabba, music gets more and more disjointed and discordant. Echoing his situation. With a career high from Donald Pleasence, this is an uncomfortable, hard to watch and unpleasant film but also one where its impossible to peel your eyes away from the screen.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest Aussie flic, 26 Oct 2013
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I thought this was the best Australian picture I saw when I arrived in 1974 and still think so. The special features are terrific, including interviews with the Canadian director.

Raw, uncompromising, Jack Thompson at his best....don't miss it!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent film, but..., 2 April 2014
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This review is from: Wake in Fright (Masters of Cinema) (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD] [1971] (Blu-ray)
enough great things are being said about WIF that adding my feelings about it would just be more of the same. one small quibble about the dual combo pack - i can't tell any difference in picture quality between the dvd and the blu ray. Overall the picture is decent, but the blu ray is lacking in the kind of sharpness and detail you might expect. I feel like i've bought two dvds, and since i only wanted one good blu ray... (i don't understand the point of packaging a dvd with a blu - who wants the dvd???) otherwise, this is in every other way an excellent release by eureka. maybe my blu ray disk was printed incorrectly? am i alone having this problem?
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One weak link, 27 Jun 2013
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This wonderful 1971 film is viscerally intense. The performance Donald Pleasence gives is one of his finest and you are reminded what a raw talent he was. Chips Rafferty is magnificent in the film also. However, there is one weak link that prevents this film being up there with the greatest films. That weak link is Gary Bond. His posh accent grates and he gives a very wooden performance. He is the modern day equivalent of the tall, blond and posh accented actor from Spooks, who you wonder how they ever got the part (a little research brings nepotism to light). Take for example when Gary Bond plays pool in the film. As he stands, he drums his fingers against the cue, in an attempt to look relaxed and real. But it is awkward and mannered. He is one of those actors who is so dull and not in the moment, that you realise it is not the blame of the director, because a director doesn't have time, nor perhaps the skill, to teach acting. The blame is squarely with the producers who obviously insisted on using Gary Bond as he was a well known TV star at the time. But in doing so, you realise how pathetic and weak most producers are, because this excellent film could be a classic, up there with the greatest, if it wasn't for the producers being so disappointingly typical of not very imaginative people, who don't make good choices.
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