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Wake in Fright / Outback (1971, Ted Kotcheff) long-lost negative discovered!


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#1 of 25 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted July 16 2005 - 06:41 AM

http://www.theage.co....&oneclick=true

www.imdb.com/title/tt0067541

I have searched the Net (including Australian DVD stores) trying to find out if a DVD is in the works, but I can't find anything. United Artists distributed the film back in 1971, but I guess that the rights reverted to the producer years ago. I have longed to see this film for years. Synapse are releasing the superb, Long Weekend this year, a film with a similar theme, set in Australia. In case you don't know, Kotcheff directed First Blood.

Does anyone know anything about this film or possible DVD release.


#2 of 25 seanJ

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Posted July 17 2005 - 06:52 AM

I`ve never seen "Outback" though I think it may have aired on UK tv once upon a time..... which is how I saw "Long Weekend" an atmospheric piece which I`d like to see again.

Dvd releases of both would be most welcome.

Regards

#3 of 25 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted July 17 2005 - 07:40 AM

Hi, Sean. There's an excellent region 4 PAL DVD of Long Weekend that has a good anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer and an informative audio commentary by the producer Richard Brennan and the cinematographer Vincent Monton and an audio-only interview with the late John Hargreaves, star of the film. Available from Ezy DVD (direct link to the Long Weekend listing)

Synapse Films in the USA are releasing the film on September 27th with the same spec, but it will have a new high-defination 1080p sourced transfer and remixed Dolby 5.1 track in addition to the original mono mix. More info HERE.

The UK TV airing of Wake in Fright / Outback was probably sourced from the battered print discovered in Dublin, Ireland in the early 90s. This print is too poor to use as a source for a DVD transfer. Now that the original camera negative has been recovered, the film really ought to be released in selected cinemas and given a special edition DVD. The film has been called "the Australian Straw Dogs" and "the best Australian film ever made", so it would be great to see if it lives up to the hype.

Cheers, Sean!


#4 of 25 walter o

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Posted July 17 2005 - 02:51 PM

I am in touch with the right owner,as I spoke to him in legth about the fil on the phone with him, and he then emailed me the nhistory of how he tracked down the negatives, so if I have any updates, will certainly post, thought I was the only one in America who remembers this film!

#5 of 25 Mike Heenan

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Posted July 17 2005 - 05:32 PM

Can someone post that article as you have to register to see it. also would be interesting to hear the story of how the materials were found.

#6 of 25 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted July 17 2005 - 09:59 PM

Sorry, Mike, here's the article:

Quote:
Wake In Fright: Found in Time - Just
By Garry Maddox
October 16, 2004

After a decade of searching, it was a stupendous find. In Pittsburgh, inside a shipping container labelled "For destruction" were about 60 cans of film.

The contents are likely to mean the classic Australian film Wake In Fright will return to the screen. For cinema historians it was like winning the Melbourne Cup.

"It's one of the great finds of Australian film," said the veteran producer Anthony Buckley, who edited the controversial drama for the Canadian director Ted Kotcheff. "I regard it as the most important film made in Australia."

The painstaking search started when Mr Buckley offered to track down the missing negative for one of the producers, the late Bobby Limb, in 1994. He thought it would be in Britain but, with the help of AusFilm, the cans were eventually found in Iron Mountain vault in August.

Wake In Fright, released in 1971, is a sharply observed drama about a schoolteacher stranded in a hostile country town. Based on a novel by Kenneth Cook, it stars the little-known Gary Bond alongside Chips Rafferty, Donald Pleasence, Jack Thompson and John Mellion.

It has been notoriously difficult to see because the only known print, found in Dublin in the 1990s, is scratched and dirty. Mr Buckley said it had not been released on video or DVD, and the TV rights had lapsed.

"You've probably got three generations of people that haven't seen it," he said. "To think that the container was marked 'For destruction'. It's a miracle that we managed to catch it in time."

Technicians at ScreenSound Australia, the national film and sound archive, hope the cans will yield enough for a new negative.


#7 of 25 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted July 17 2005 - 10:15 PM

Walter, that is amazing! Could you possibly post the email that the rights holder sent you? Who is the holder by the way? Are they in touch with any DVD distributor?

Here are some suitable distributors that you could pass on to the rights holder, if you wish:

Anchor Bay
suggestions@anchorbayent.com

Blue Underground
info@blue-underground.com

Synapse Films
www.synapse-films.com/contact.htm
Phone: (248) 374-3254
Fax: (248) 374-3256

Image Entertainment
acquisitions@image-entertainment.com

Criterion
www.criterionco.com/asp/ask_form.asp

Home Vision Entertainment
license@homevision.com


#8 of 25 Vincent_P

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Posted July 18 2005 - 07:41 AM

60 cans of film? That almost sounds like they found the trim negatives to the film, not the actual conformed negative used to make the theatrical prints. The comment that they "hope the cans will yield enough for a new negative" suggests that they might try and reconstruct the film using alternate takes, which has been done before (THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARK was restored this way, until an actual print of the original version was found years later). Could be interesting- I'm guessing they'll use the battered print found in Europe as a guide to find the closest alternate takes if this is what they plan to do.

Of course I'm just speculating and they could have the actual conformed negative, but 60 cans sounds like an awful lot for a conformed negative.

Vincent

#9 of 25 seanJ

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Posted July 18 2005 - 07:50 AM

Gordon

Thanks for the info re "Long Weekend", I`ll make a point of seeking out this dvd, it`ll be especially interesting to see this in it`s originally intended widescreen ratio.

It must be 20 years since I saw this movie on tv, but it lingers in the memory, like many Australian movies of the `70s.

Hears hoping that something can be done with "Outback" as well.

Regards

#10 of 25 walter o

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Posted July 18 2005 - 11:42 PM

Gordon,

I don't know if I can post his email to me in a public forum without his permission? I left him a messege on his phone, he is out until the 24th, maybe I can PM the letter to you instead. I gave a screener OUTBACK to a small new DVD label last year, but they weren't interested in at all ("too Criterion for me" the owner said), I have given it to another label couple of month ago, and awaiting thier reply (neither of them are the ones you mentioned).

Please let me know.

#11 of 25 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted July 19 2005 - 02:35 AM

Quote:
Dear Gordon

Thank you for your recent enquiry regarding the 1971 film Wake In Fright.
The discovery of the original components of the film has been great news
and preservation work is continuing on the negative here at the Archive.

As the rights for the film are not held by the Archive we cannot comment on
when the film may be released to DVD but we are hoping that it may be
released in the near future (hopefully 2006).

Please keep an eye on our website (www.screensound.gov.au) and the
Australian Film Commission's website (www.afc.gov.au) for further details.

Kind Regards


Belinda Hunt
Assistant Manager, Client Access
National Film and Sound Archive


#12 of 25 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted December 20 2005 - 04:15 AM

Any word on a DVD release, Walter?

Cheers.


#13 of 25 Joe Wong

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Posted December 20 2005 - 01:36 PM

Wake in Fright is one of the most harrowing films I have ever seen...I saw it on a late Friday night on TV when I was a teenager in Sydney. It is so exhausting that when it ends, it's a wonderful relief...

Joe
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#14 of 25 Douglas R

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Posted December 20 2005 - 05:02 PM

Just came across this thread and was interested to learn that the negative has been found. I saw the film when it first opened in London under the title Outback. I thought it a fascinating and unusual film and and have always wondered why it had virtually disappeared. Thanks for the info.

#15 of 25 oscar_merkx

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Posted December 22 2005 - 10:42 AM

keep up the good work so that this will be released one day
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#16 of 25 Vincent_P

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Posted December 24 2005 - 03:02 PM

walter o wrote:

Quote:
I gave a screener OUTBACK to a small new DVD label last year, but they weren't interested in at all ("too Criterion for me" the owner said), I have given it to another label couple of month ago, and awaiting thier reply (neither of them are the ones you mentioned).


I'm gonna go WAY out on a limb and guess that one of those labels was Shriek Show/Media Blasters...

Vincent

#17 of 25 walter o

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Posted December 26 2005 - 07:22 PM

Nope, why, should I ask them? It isn't a horror film.

#18 of 25 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted December 26 2005 - 08:57 PM

The film often gets labelled as a 'horror' film. It would be like calling Straw Dogs a horror film. Wake in Fright is a waking nightmare. Also, think of Kotcheff's style in First Blood - it is intensely physical and relentless.

The sooner it is re-released in cinemas and/or on DVD and is reappraised, the better.


#19 of 25 GregoryMesh

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Posted December 26 2005 - 09:17 PM

2 studios I see this film releasing are Blue Underground (they releases a few critically acclaimed Australian films recently) or Synapse (they just releases Australian thriller/horror Long Weekend).

#20 of 25 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted December 26 2005 - 09:28 PM

GregoryMesh, wrote:
Quote:
2 studios I see this film releasing are Blue Underground (they releases a few critically acclaimed Australian films recently) or Synapse (they just releases Australian thriller/horror Long Weekend).


Isn't that what I said?! Posted Image



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