Wake in Fright (Blu-ray) (1971)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 3-Nov-2009

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio & Animation
Booklet-32 pages
Audio Commentary-Director Ted Kotcheff & Editor Anthony Buckley
Interviews-Crew-with Director, Ted Kotcheff
Theatrical Trailer-International Trailer - Outback
TV Spots-Who Needs Art? (1971) Segment on Wake In Fright
TV Spots-ABC's 7:30 Report - Rediscovery & Restoration of the film
Interviews-Cast-Ken G. Hall interview about Chips Rafferty
Featurette-Restoration Comparison
Deleted Scenes-From the 2008 documentary, Not Quite Hollywood
Teaser Trailer-Madman Trailers
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1971
Running Time 108:50 (Case: 92)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Audio Format Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ted Kotcheff
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Donald Pleasence
Gary Bond
Chips Rafferty
Sylvia Kay
Jack Thompson
Peter Whittle
Al Thomas
John Meillon
John Armstrong
Slim DeGrey
Maggie Dence
Norm Erskine
Case Amaray Variant
RPI $44.95 Music John Scott


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, and plenty of drinking too!
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

 Wake in Fright is quite simply a masterpiece of Australian filmmaking. Fellow MichaelD reviewer Steve Crawford has recently written a review for the Madman DVD release of the film which is quite informative and extensive. The review can be referenced here. There are only a few things that I wish to add to Steve's excellent review.

 Firstly, in my opinion, Wake in Fright represents one of the three most important films made in this country. All these films share a common theme of the struggle of white Australian Anglo-Saxon people fitting into the natural environment of outback Australia. The other two films are Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout, made in 1971, and Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock, made in 1975. Secondly, please consider the fact that this film has been awarded special Cannes honours twice and has been re-released after 38 years. Remarkably, the film is still quite fresh in its themes of alienation, even in this modern era, and it is also thematically rich, there are so many sources of information in the film that are not dialogue-specific that have an important impact upon the film's meaning. For example, you can compare the lights of the kangaroo hunt stunning the kangaroos at night and the use of strong source light used to shine in John Grant's eyes constantly throughout the film. It seems the spotlight is on Grant and his ability to adapt and fit into his surroundings. At the beginning of the film John wears an immaculate pair of sunglasses. He uses this to perceive his surroundings with an impassive distance, by the end we see his sunglasses smashed as John becomes consumed by the events that overtake him. These are just two examples of how rich thematically Wake in Fright is, I'm sure fans of the film could point out more.

 The Blu-ray release is simply a revelation. Due to the hard work of editor Anthony Buckley, a film negative has been used to restore the film to its former greatness. In fact, the film stock used to print the film in 1971 was not as advanced as today's film stock, this Blu-ray presentation therefore presents the film with more detail than previously possible.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

  As Steve Crawford mentioned in his DVD review of the film, The 32 page booklet goes into further detail about the restoration of the film.

 The aspect ratio of Wake in Fright is 1:85:1, 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

  The restoration has allowed the filmmakers to show more detail in the film then what was possible in 1971 during the film's initial theatrical release. There are some instances where the image has slight grain, yet overall the video transfer is immaculate.

  Ted Kotcheff used hot primary and secondary colours, avoiding cool colours such as blue and green. The main colours used in the transfer are red, yellow and orange, the colours of the outback.

  There are no film artefacts as these have been removed frame-by-frame.

  The film has no subtitles, like the DVD, and this is a great shame indeed.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

  The audio tracks used on the Blu-ray release of Wake in Fright are identical to the DVD release.

  The two audio tracks used are the main English soundtrack and the English audio commentary. Both tracks are encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0, encoded at 224 kbps.

  Dialogue was clear to understand for Australians familiar with our cultural colloquialisms. There are some scenes where phrases may not be familiar to foreigners viewing the film, in this case, Ted Kotcheff's commentary helps to enhance the meaning of scenes.

  The music by John Scott serves to subtly support the action in the film without being overwhelming.

  There is no surround channel usage.

  The subwoofer is not utilised either.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

 The extras on the Blu-ray release of Wake in Fright are exactly the same as the DVD release, therefore I wish to acknowledge fellow MichaelD reviewer Steve Crawford's work in compiling the information below which I have quoted from his review here.

Main Menu Audio & Animation

The main menu features subtle animation, a sample of music from the film and is 16x9 enhanced.

Booklet

A beautifully presented 32 page booklet, containing colour photographs and articles relating to the recovery and subsequent resurrection of Wake In Fright

Audio Commentary - Director, Ted Kotcheff and Editor, Anthony Buckley

Naturally, both men are incredibly proud of this film and it comes across in their entertaining and informative commentary. They discuss all aspects of the production and offer great insight into the making of the film. There are a few pauses to listen to dialogue, but generally Ted keeps up a steady pace relaying many interesting anecdotes.

Interviews - Crew - Interview with director, Ted Kotcheff (22:20)

Filmed earlier this year for the DVD and Blu Ray presentations, Ted Kotcheff discusses his recollections of the production. He covers many of the controversial aspects of Wake In Fright, as well as his experience working with the local actors. Various scenes from the film have also been incorporated around the interview.

International Theatrical Trailer (0:33)

This trailer is under the US alternative title of, Outback.

TV Spots - Who Needs Art? (1971) - Segment on Wake In Fright (5:46)

This is a small black & white segment of an old ABC program about the arts in Australia. The segment relates directly to Wake In Fright, which was in production at the time. Look for an interview with a very young Phillip Adams.

TV Spots - Rediscovery & Restoration of the film - ABC's 7:30 Report (6:27)

This is a segment from the ABC current affairs program, 7:30 Report. As the title suggests it covers the renaissance of Wake In Fright.

Interviews - Cast - Ken G. Hall Interview about Chips Rafferty (3:26)

Filmed sometime during the early seventies, this piece features the legendary, Ken G. Hall discussing the work of Chips Rafferty

Featurette - Restoration Comparison (1:53)

This gives an excellent comparison of certain scenes in the film. We can clearly see the differences between the original negative and the final restored print - very impressive.

Deleted Scenes - Not Quite Hollywood (2008) - Extended Scene of Wake In Fright (5:55)

The 2008 documentary, Not Quite Hollywood is a tribute to an often under appreciated genre of Australian films know as Ozploitation. While Wake In Fright doesn't quite fit into the genre, it does feature in Not Quite Hollywood. This is the extended segment from that documentary

Teaser Trailers

Four trailers are included for other Madman tiles including: Romulus, My Father (2:02), Ten Canoes (2:05), Look Both Ways (0:37) and My Brilliant Career (2:59).

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

  There are no other Regional releases of Wake in Fright on Blu-ray at the time of writing this review.

Summary

  Beginning with the iconic opening 360 degree shot of the small town where John Grant works, the audience is immediately drawn into the plot with the following question - can one know what goes on around them? Can you perceive what goes on without being influenced? It is interesting how John Meillon bookends the film when his character interacts with Grant at the beginning and end of the film, just like the opening 360 degree shot, Grant ends up where he began. There are so many themes like this one in Wake in Fright that repeat viewing is highly recommended.

 Do not hesitate to pick up this great Australian film on Blu-ray. I consider it one of the most important films I own in my collection and I know that you will too.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Didn't particularly like it much but could see merit - NewcastleBoy (read my bio)
Yes, but .... - Anonymous REPLY POSTED