102 years ago today, the great actor Donald Pleasence was born.
Pleasence is, of course, best-known for playing Dr. Loomis in Halloween. He’s so identified with that franchise that it’s always seemed appropriate that he celebrated his birthday in October. And usually, to celebrate his birthday, we would share a scene of Dr. Loomis yelling at or shooting Michael Myers.
This year, though, I’m going to do something a little different and share a scene from a different type of horror movie, 1971’s Wake in Fright. In this Australian film, Donald Pleasence plays Doc Tydon, an alcoholic doctor who lives in the Australian outback and who befriends John Grant (Gary Bond), a naïve school teacher who has become stranded in a town full of people who don’t have much respect for Grant’s intellectual pursuits. Actually, befriends is perhaps the wrong word. Tydon allows Grant to stay with him but it soon become apparent that Tydon, like almost everyone else in this movie, might have a less-than-friendly agenda of his own.
Wake In Fright features what may be Pleasence’s best performance. In the scene below, Tydon and Grant meet for the first time and Pleasence shows that he was capable of far more than just playing Blofeld and Dr. Loomis.