Wake in Fright (1971)

Australia, 1971
35mm film, Technicolor
mono, English

An Australian drama film with some borderline horror elements directed by Ted Kotcheff.

Plot Summary

John Grant, a young teacher, looks forward to a holiday in the outback but instead finds himself trapped in a nightmarish small mining town where everyone seems to have some sort of mental instability. Succumbing to alcoholism and male rape, the teacher starts to lose his grip as his city ways are stripped away and a new, more brutal, self emerges.


Directed by: Ted Kotcheff
© Group W Productions Ltd. & NLT Productions Pty. Limited MCMLXXI [1971]
Group W Films & NLT Productions present
Executive Producers: Howard G. Barnes, Bill Harmon
Produced by: George Willoughby
Associate Producer: Maurice A. Singer
Screenplay by: Evan Jones
Based on the novel “Wake in Fright” by Kenneth Cook
Director of Photography: Brian West
Editor: Anthony Buckley
Music Composed and Conducted by: John Scott
Sound Recording: John Appleton
Wardrobe: Ron Williams
Make-up Artist: Monica Dawkins
Hairdressing: Robert Hynard
Production Designer: Dennis Gentil
Casting Directors: John Merrick, Jill Dempster
Locations: Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia

Donald Pleasence (Doc Tydon)
Gary Bond (John Grant)
Chips Rafferty (Jock Crawford)
Sylvia Kay (Janette Hynes)
Jack Thompson (Dick)
Peter Whittle (Joe)
Al Thomas (Tim Hynes)
John Meillon (Charlie)
John Armstrong (Atkins)
Slim DeGrey (Jarvis)
Maggie Dence (receptionist)
Norman Erskine (Joe the cook)
Buster Fiddess (Charlie Jones)
Tex Foote (Stubbs)
Nancy Knudsen (Robyn)
Dawn Lake (Joyce)
Harry Lawrence (Higgins)
Bob McDarra (Pig Eyes)
Owen Moase (1st controller)
John Dalleen (2nd controller)

Alternative Titles

Despertar en el infierno – Spanish title
Kova loma – Finnish title
Vaarallinen loma
– Finnish title


Film Bulletin October 1971 p.22 – review
Filmfacts vol.15 no.3 (1972) – reprinted reviews
Monthly Film Bulletin no.455 (December 1971) – credits, review
Today’s Cinema no.9778 (10 February 1970) p.9 – credits

New Yorker 4 March 1972 – review (by Pauline Kael)
San Francisco Chronicle 15 October 1971 – review (by Anitra Earle)
Village Voice 30 March 1972 – review (by Michael McKegney)

Australian Film 1900-1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production by Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper pp.333-334 – illustrated credits, synopsis

Other Sources
BFI Southbank Guide May 2019 p.9 – illustrated listing