"Have a drink, mate? Have a fight, mate? Have a taste of dust and sweat, mate? There's nothing else out here." Balanced on a knife-edge between social realism and existential horror, this disturbing, subversive portrayal of Australia's cultural underbelly failed to find a wide audience on its original release, but has since become established as a seminal cornerstone of the Australian cinema.
A middle-class schoolteacher, stuck in a government-enforced teaching post in an arid backwater, stops off in the mining town of Bundanyabba on his way home for the Christmas holidays. Discovering a local gambling craze that may grant him the financial independence to move back to Sydney for good, the opportunity proves irresistible. But the bad decisions are just beginning and a reliance on local standards of hospitality in "the Yabba" may take him on a path darker than ever expected.
One of the many triumphs in director Ted Kotcheff's career, Wake in Fright effortlessly sustains the quality of a sun-baked nightmare, with a relentless forward drive and outstanding performances by Donald Pleasance, Gary Bond, Sylvia Kay, and Chips Rafferty in his final role. A brutal, gripping dissection of the limits of masculinity and amorality to stand alongside Straw Dogs, A Clockwork Orange, and Deliverance, it remains a stunning entry in the envelope-pushing cinema of the early 1970s. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present this film in a new Dual Format edition for its UK home viewing premiere.