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‘Wake in Fright’ Trailer: A Long Lost Classic Returns

Wake In Fright trailer
Drafthouse Films

Drafthouse Films may be fine purveyors of schlock, but they also know a thing or two about genuinely great movies. How else do you explain them acquiring the rights to ‘Wake in Fright,’ a 1971 Cannes Film Festival champion that seemingly vanished off the face of the planet in the decades after its unsuccessful commercial release? The film has not only been discovered and restored, it’s playing at Fantastic Fest this week.

And wouldn’t you know it: a trailer for this restored masterpiece has hit.

Based on the novel of the same name, ‘Wake in Fright’ is a hilarious and frightening journey into nihilism, following a posh school teacher who finds himself stranded in a small town in the Australian Outback. To say things start poorly and steadily grow worse is a massive understatement — few films have depicted a man’s emotional and mental deterioration this brutally. It’s a harrowing experience that, despite being a famously lost film, has many notable admirers, including Martin Scorsese, Roger Ebert and Nick Cave (whose script for the Outback-set ‘The Proposition’ owes much to this).

It also features more beer consumption than any other movie in history. No exaggeration.

Drafthouse Films is re-releasing ‘Wake in Fright’ this October and if it’s coming to a theater near you, we cannot recommend it highly enough. Although it will certainly play fine at home, this is a true big screen experience. The digital restoration is stunning (reason number one) and the film so ruthlessly hypnotic that being “trapped” in a theater feels like the best way to experience it. Here’s the trailer, which paints a pretty accurate picture of what to expect (all the way down to the absurd amount of alcohol consumed):

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