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Trivia / Wake in Fright

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  • Acclaimed Flop: Despite excellent reviews when it came out, no one saw the movie during its initial release due to protests of using actual footage of kangaroos getting hunted and for the brutal portrayal of the Australian outback.
  • Billing Displacement: Despite being the protagonist and in every scene, Gary Bond (John) is credited second to Donald Pleasence (Doc) who, while a major character and the antagonist, is not the protagonist.
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  • Enforced Method Acting: Director Ted Kotcheff tried to avert this by substituted non-alcoholic beers for the real stuff, but Chips Rafferty could tell immediately that it had no alcoholic content and demanded proper pints be served. He told Kotcheff: "You concentrate on the directing, I'll concentrate on the drinking." The director calculated that due to this, Rafferty was drinking up to 30 pints per day.
  • Fake Nationality: Gary Bond (Grant), Donald Pleasence (Doc), and Sylvia Kay (Janette) are all British.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Despite its floundering box office returns in its homeland upon its original release, the film would have pretty succesful limited runs in both France and the United Kingdom.
  • Invisible Advertising: United Artists did nothing to promote the movie outside one trailer for it. To make matters worse, the film opened in America in a single theater on the east side of New York City, on a Sunday night, during a blizzard. Not a single person saw it during its opening day.
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  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The only surviving prints of the movie were either deemed too damaged to be restored or edited down from the original release, with even the Library of Congress' copy being the edited international print. Watching the unedited film seemed impossible until the film's editor, Anthony Buckley found a decent copy of the film in Pittsburgh in mid-2004, in a bin labeled for destruction. Buckley later learned that, had he waited just a week later, the reel would have been destroyed, which would have likely caused the unedited version of the film to have remained lost. The copy was restored, and in 2009 the film was finally re-released at Cannes and in select Australian theaters to critical acclaim.


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