Wake in Fright
by Tina Kaufman
Currency Press, $16.95 pb, 72 pp, 9780868198644
Eight years after its launch, the Australian Screen Classics series of monographs represents a valuable, ongoing contribution to local film culture – though the notion of a classic, taken too literally, can halt debate at the moment it ought to begin. That said, few could deny that Wake in Fright (1971), directed by the Canadian Ted Kotcheff, has earned its position in the canon: from The Cars That Ate Paris (1974) to Wolf Creek (2005), countless Australian films have echoed its Gothic depiction of an outback settlement as an all-but-literal hell on earth.