Wake In Fright is fantastically screen written (Evan Jones, Funeral in Berlin) by a person that had never set foot on Australian soil and directed (Ted Kotcheff, First Blood) by someone who knew very little of the continent until he set foot on it to shoot the film.
It is taken from the critically-acclaimed best-selling novel by Kenneth Cook, written in 1961.
The opening shot of this film shows the desolation of the outback.
With only the train track, the school room and the pub/hotel in the whole 360 degree pan, with the blue sky and the constant buzz of flies, you can feel the oppression of the sun and this is a thread all the way through the film.
The camera pans into the smallest building, the school house, filled with all ages and at the front is the clock watching teacher John Grant,(Gary Bond, Zulu).
School finishes for the six week Christmas break and Grant can't wait to get to his girl in Sydney. He checks out of the small hotel as the train whistle blows, announcing Johns escape from slavery, for six weeks anyway. Being English he believes this and his education separates him from those that aren't from the city. He loathes his job and he wants out, as he is stuck in a government-enforced teaching post and it will take a thousand dollars to buy out his bond. Once on the train and having avoided the other travelers he relaxes and dreams of what the city has to offer.
Read the rest of the review over at Road Rash Reviews