Wake In Fright (1971)

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David: A changing of the guard in Australian thespianism, featuring Jack Thompson in his first cinema role and Chips Rafferty in his last. It’s a great swan song by Rafferty, upsidedowning everything he’d done before. But Wake In Fright goes much further, upending the entire Australian dream into one of the more harrowing journeys into biblical Hell ever put to film. Of those even aware of it, many regard Wake In Fright as the greatest Australian film ever made, but its particular brutality and antithetical perversity put it in a class that begs no comparison.

Jules: A high-noon nightmare collision between the vestiges of high-minded European culture and the alien landscape of inland Australia. Rationality is discarded as our Anglo-Australian everyman descends into an inferno of instinctual drives, unquestioned customs, and murderous violence. But, amongst the beer-swilling and paddock-bashing, is anything as it seems?

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Play Misty For Me (1971)

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Jules: Like many first-time directors, Clint Eastwood turned to thriller/horror, via this story about the intersection of fame and obsession. The film is more interesting for the fact that the fame is moderate, and the obsession is feminine. Jessica Walter’s anti-heroine somehow seems objectionable more for her actions than her sentiments in this rare example of a genre film dealing thoughtfully with uncontainable female mental dysfunction.

David: A great popcorn-munching, psycho-watching, knife-wielding suburban thriller that precedes and outclasses the bunny boiling Fatal Attraction – ’cause look, back in the day, who drove women crazier, Clint or Michael Douglas? There’s interesting debate to be had on whether it’s feminist, misogynist or just… from the 70s. Clint tries to do the right thing by minorities and the apposite gender as well as the local artisans, interior decorators and haberdashers of Carmel By the Sea, the pacific hamlet which in a later decade he would rule as Mayor.

Warning: May contain traces of impromptu and poorly thought out advice for dealing with stalker behaviour.

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