They really upped their game with this one.
They really upped their game with this one.
One of the highlights of this year’s Fantastic Fest was the screening of Ted Kotcheff’s 1971 “lost” masterpiece Wake In Fright, a brutal take on the kind of collective madness that can arise in isolated rural towns where the civilizing forces of society have been beaten into submission by the primordial forces of nature. As men vainly struggle against the fate of being swallowed up by endless landscapes and battered by a cruel sun, violence and rage become the broad strokes by which they enlarge themselves. Wake In Fright enters their world and doesn’t blink as blood and alcohol become the bond between a bunch of “locals” and a young stranger who unwittingly wanders onto their turf.
Wake In Fright came out the same year as Straw Dogs, McCabe And Mrs. Miller, A Clockwork Orange and Dennis Hopper’s ill-fated The Last Movie. It shares with those films a sense of man’s disconnection from the world around him and the resulting spiritual emptiness that follows. Whether it be the alienation of living outside of society or the cultural rupture between old and new worlds, the dis-ease of being rootless or uprooted can drive men to violence in a perverse declaration of identity. I kill, therefore I am.
Wake In Fright is a desert noir that is as emotionally dark as a Jim Thompson novel and as unrelentingly sunseared as a Sergio Leone spaghetti western. Director Kotcheff has spoken of his love for the films of Antonioni and the sumptuous palette of Red Desert came to mind as I watched Wake In Fright. It’s a stunning looking film.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of Wake In Fright is Donald Pleasence in a performance that should have garnered him heaps of critical praise and awards. It’s a brave, visceral thing of beauty that does for acting what Hunter Thompson does for literature. Pleasence is 3D in a 2D world. Finally, the world at large will have an opportunity to savor Pleasence at his most sublimely unhinged.
The release of Wake In Fright and its beautiful restoration puts back into circulation a film that, had the gods of distribution not been crazy, most likely would have found a receptive audience back in 1971. It holds its own when put up against the post- Easy Rider, maverick, film making that was being made at the time. Its uncompromising in content and has the kind of integrity and truth seeking that used to be a badge of honor in the film making community. Unlike the flow of meaningless crap flowing out of Hollywood these days, Kotcheff’s celluloid cri du coeur is one of those rare films that aspires to make a difference, to alter the way we see ourselves and the world we temporarily inhabit. Maybe the cultural pendulum is swinging back in the direction of this kind of soulful film making. Maybe Wake In Fright has found its time. Not that much has changed since 1971. Wars are still being fought and men are still defining themselves by the length of their gun barrels and the Earth still shudders in revulsion at every bloody step they take.
I’m not real big on re-writing press releases to make them my own. It’s cheating. So I’ll just share the distributor’s, followed by a clip from the movie and an exclusive Dangerous Minds’ interview with Wake In Fright director Ted Kotcheff.
Wake In Fright originally made its debut at Cannes in 1971, where it earned a Palme D’Or nomination. The film made its return to the festival in 2009 courtesy of guest-curator Martin Scorsese, following the completion of a comprehensive restoration. It was there where Wake In Fright held the honor of being one of two films to have been shown twice in the history of the festival. The film is lauded for its stark and uncompromising vision by champions such as Roger Ebert who said Wake In Fright is “powerful, genuinely shocking and rather amazing,” and celebrated musician/songwriter/screenwriter Nick Cave, who said the film is “the best and most terrifying film about Australia in existence.”
Believed to be lost for many years, Wake In Fright was restored after an exhaustive decade-long search for original film elements. Fortuitously, the negative was unearthed in Pittsburgh, PA, in canisters marked for destruction just one week away from its impending incineration. The materials were then restored frame-by-frame at Sydney’s At Lab Deluxe with the aid of the National Film and Sound Archives of Australia.
Wake In Fright opens on October 5th in many major cities in the USA. Check here for details.
I visited with Ted Kotcheff at Fantastic Fest with the intent of doing a brief interview. As it turns out, the interview became a relaxed conversation. Ted is a wonderful man who doesn’t waste a word and has some great stories to tell. When it came time to edit the footage, I decided not to cut a thing.
Police in the Philadelphia area have busted a heroin dealer selling LeBron James-branded skag:
LeBron James has endorsed McDonald’s, Nike and State Farm, but there’s one product right now on the streets of Philadelphia carrying his name that he most certainly did not endorse - heroin.
Upper Darby police said that they busted a major heroin dealer from Philadelphia on Thursday who had 140 packets of the deadly drug - all of which were stamped with the silhouette of a basketball player and the name “LeBron James.”
“I don’t think LeBron James would be too happy with this drug-dealer dude using his name on these street bags,” said Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood.
Probably not. What’s next, Usain Bolt brand crystal meth? (“The Fastest Speed in the World!”)
And speaking of meth, since when is heroin blue? This looks like something Walter White cooked up.
The suspected dealer is being held on a $250,000 cash bond.
Via The Philadelphia Inquirer/HT Brian Tibbetts
They were making a film, and Alex Harvey was the director, creating the different scenes, to which SAHB put the sound track. And what a great film it was too.
It’s 30 years since Alex Harvey died on the eve of his 47th birthday. Hard to believe, but there it is. It seems so recent but is now so very far away. Yet, we all need some Alex Harvey in our life, just to remember the brilliance of the man, and of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Here is Alex in a brief interview with “Whispering” Bob Harris on the Old Grey Whistle Test, where he talks about his early days as the Scottish Tommy Steele, playing in the Big Soul Band, and performing in the musical Hair. The key thing to note here is the long apprenticeship Harvey had before he reaped success.
Previously on Dangerous Minds
3 bonus tracks from SAHB, after the jump…
A press release titled ‘A Necessary Move for Christians in America’ was published on ChristianNewsWire today announcing the formation of the New Independent Christian Party, which bills itself, tellingly, as “the Party of No Compromise.”
Whether or not the New Independent Christian Party amounts to much, it shows that people are becoming motivated to peel off from the GOP. Mitt Romney’s widely anticipated November loss is expected to see some level of soul-searching, denial and an inevitable circular firing squad moment that some (raises hand) can’t wait to see.The best thing that could happen for the future of America would be to see the conservative moment break off into warring factions. Tea party patriots vs. “non compromising” Christians, free market libertarian types and the rest of ‘em. I think this should be encouraged:
BRENTWOOD, Md., Oct. 1, 2012 There does not exist a reliable political party that purely represents the overall Christian agenda in America. We can neither ignore the overwhelming contrast to our Godly principles of the marriage equality and abortion rights agendas, which the Democrats strongly support, nor can we be oblivious to the arrogant, greedy, unsympathetic Pharisaic practices of the Republicans.
There will be a Press Conference to officially announce the establishment of the New Independent Christian Party on October 5, 2012 at 7:00pm at the Kingdom Empowerment Business Center, 3512 Bladensburg RD, Brentwood, MD 20722.
The November election is poised to leave the Christian base with an extremely bitter taste of misrepresentation and miscalculation of our position and priorities concerning many of the issues in the forefront of American lives today.
The misrepresentation of the biblical teachings and principles to which we profess as Christians, prevent us from continuing to support either the Democratic or the Republican Party candidates.
As the Party of No Compromise, the New Independent Christian Party intends to influence the outcome of American elections and uphold the Godly principles by which America was built and by which Christians believe, live and exist.
The Chair, Bishop Janice Fountaine and Co-chair, Dr. Ralph Martino vow to build a strong political party that will illuminate the Christian voice and bring clarity to the Christian agenda to influence America, impact the world and increase the kingdom.
At least they’re upfront about it!
May your God be with you “Party of No Compromise” and help you carve up the GOP vote. Let’s hope your new party gains the most traction with disillusioned Republicans voters south of the Mason-Dixon line. Onward Christian soldiers and all that.
Debbie Harry modeled for the paperback book cover of this 1971 reissue of Scottish author Josephine Tey’s 1949 mystery novel, The Franchise Affair.
The maniacs at Aggronautix have come up with another freaky bobblehead to add to your collection: Blowfly!
BLOWFLY is the alter ego of legendary singer songwriter Clarence Reid. The inventor of the Miami soul sound, Reid has written massive hits for KC and The Sunshine Band, Gwen McRae (1975’s R&B #1 hit ‘Rocking Chair’), Betty Wright and Sam and Dave along with his own successful recordings, most notably the hit ‘Nobody But You Babe’. Yet it is Reid’s mysterious and shocking alter-ego, BLOWFLY, which continues to shock and entertain audiences with his insane brand of funky X-Rated parody albums and filthy originals. With a career spanning nearly 50 years and over 20 albums, Blowfly’s 1965 recording, ‘Rap Dirty’ is often referenced as the first rap song and Blowfly was the first rapper to have a record banned! His albums are legendary and have been acknowledged as highly influential within the rap community.
Get yours right here. Limited edition of 500.
Check out this video of Blowfly and Jello Biafra (dressed as the Pope) at Oakland’s legendary Stork Club.
Just look at them!
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta have reunited for a Christmas album, called—how creative—This Christmas.
This Christmas will feature a new duet written for the pair by songwriter John Farrar (who wrote “You’re the One That I Want”) and guest appearances by Kenny G, Sir Cliff Richard, Tony Bennett, James Taylor and Chick Corea. And Barbra Streisand! Why did Barbra Streisand get involved with something this fucking… uh… greasy?
This Christmas will either sell nothing at all or else be a huge, huge massive hit. No inbetween. I’d like to believe that I personally don’t know even one single person who would purchase this product or even be tempted by it.
It’s like wrapping up puke and asking the public to buy it. The Grease-loving public, I should say. Can you imagine buying this? Actually listening to it?
Humorous design for your weed smokin’ needs: Kushed Cans by Herbal Innovations. The porcelain soda can bowl is handmade, one-of-a-kind and no two are alike.
Poor guy. I’m sure all he wanted was to talk to the founder of The Modern Lovers, but all he got was Richman’s now notorious silent treatment. I’ve heard quite a few journalists and fans revel in some variation of this same story, delighting in the perceived eccentricity of a man who says he’s taking care of his voice and avoids contact with crowds if he can help it.
For the record, I’ve seen Jonathan Richman twice (once for his Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild tour- amazing). He made quite a bit of whispered small talk and took pictures with my friend and me. Maybe his voice is sensitive, maybe he has social anxiety, maybe he just prefers fans to sweaty music journalists trying to get an interview. Regardless, in my book, he seems nothing short of a swell guy with a couple of lovely idiosyncrasies.