WOW, 300 articles! Thank you so much to everyone for contributing, browsing, chatboxing and making this wiki something to really be proud of; honestly, without you all this wiki would not have progressed anywhere near as far as it has done. There's nothing else I can really say that hasn't been said in my previous two blog posts from when we reached the 100th and 200th articles, so instead, in celebration, I present you with this:
Lost Media History, Lesson 2: Wake in Fright
Directed by Ted Kotcheff in 1970, (and originally released in 1971), was an Australian-American thriller titled Wake in Fright, chronicling one man's hellish experience in a (fictional) town named Bundanyabba, in the Australian outback. Based on Kenneth Cook's 1961 novel of the same name, the film was initially received favourably by many, though it was also the cause of some controversy, due to a scene in which multiple kangaroos are seen being shot to death (often messily and cruelly); the hunting footage was taken during a real kangaroo cull, which only ended when the crew orchestrated a power outage as an excuse to end filming. The professional hunters hired for the scene were said to be heavily intoxicated at the time, accounting for their poor aim, the results of which both angered and disturbed many of the crew members. Twelve people are said to have walked out of the film's premiere at Cannes in 1971 (where it was screened under the name Outback) during the aforementioned controversial scene.
For years, the film enjoyed the reputation of being Australia's quintessential lost film, having never had any home media releases made available (bar the odd TV broadcast). To the dismay of many, the master reels (and all other known copies of the film for that matter) eventually became lost themselves (through unclear circumstances), until a single print was re-discovered in Dublin in the early 1990s. Unfortunately, the print was in pretty rough shape, and was not considered viable for a commercial release of the film, nor was it deemed good enough quality to warrant being cleaned up and remastered. Desperate to save Wake in Fright from its otherwise inevitable fate, the film's editor, Anthony Buckley, set out to recover an uncut, good quality print of the film in 1994. It would take another ten years before Buckley would finally unearth the fruits of his labour.
In 2004, Buckley travelled to Pittsburgh, determined to accomplish that which he had originally set out to do. The trip ended up paying off big time, when, to Buckley's sheer amazement, and under incredible circumstances, an uncut copy of the film was discovered in a shipping container marked "For Destruction". Reportedly, if he had not recovered the negatives when he did, they would have been destroyed just one week later. With a secure, workable copy of the entire film recovered, the painstaking process of restoring it began.
Five years after Buckley's miraculous discovery, the restoration was completed, and was premiered at the Sydney Film Festival in June of 2009 to rave reviews. A few months later, the film was made widely available to all via DVD and Blu-ray, gaining a new generation of cult followers. A shocking, insightful film to say the least, it certainly holds up well today (at least I think so), and I highly recommend it not only to Australians but to cinemaphiles everywhere.