7.2/10
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Picnic (1955)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 16 February 1956 (USA)
Emotions are ignited amongst the complacent townsfolk when a handsome drifter arrives in a small Kansas community on the morning of the Labour Day picnic.

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Christine Schoenwalder (as Elizabeth W. Wilson)
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Storyline

The morning of a small town Labor Day picnic, a drifter (Hal Carter) blows into town to visit an old fraternity buddy (Alan Benson) who also happens to be the son of the richest man in town. Hal is an egocentric braggart - all potential and no accomplishment. He meets up with Madge Owens, the town beauty queen and girlfriend of Alan Benson. Written by Erik L. Ellis <ele@eece.unm.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's too hot to stay home. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

16 February 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Picknick  »

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Holden had to shave his chest for this role, so that he appeared much younger than his true 37 years. Cliff Robertson, although not as hirsute as Holden, also got buffed for one reason or another. See more »

Goofs

Toward the end of the film when Hal hops a freight train to Tulsa, he jumps onto a boxcar that has its door shut. He climbs the ladder and stands on top to wave to Madge. In this long shot the boxcar door is now open. See more »

Quotes

Flo Owens: Where is everybody?
Helen Potts: At a picnic everybody disappears. Don't you remember, Flo?
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Soundtracks

Theme from Picnic
Music by George Duning
Lyrics (not used in film) by Steve Allen
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Poignant, bittersweet
14 April 1999 | by (East Coast, USA) – See all my reviews

I like the surface simplicity of this movie, beneath which lie important questions: Can we be free of our ancestors' demons? Can love between two emotionally crippled people be healthy?

Madge and Hal are -- probably tragically - made for each other. Each is a product of a broken home. Each wants to create a life worth living, despite family history, circumstances, and friends who expect little of them. My heart goes out to both of them. (The sad truth is that Madge's mother's warning will probably come true.)

I love the ambiguity of the movie's ending. I read that William Inge (or was it the screenwriter?) had originally had Madge return to her five and dime deadend job. I much prefer the ending that Mr. Logan chose.

Alcohol ought to be listed in the cast credits. It plays a big role at the picnic, and the effects of parental alcoholism pervade Hal's and Madge's lives.

Roz Russell the town schoolmarm and Howard the shopkeeper provide delightfully lighthearted counterpoints.

No car crashes, no karate. Just a simple story, simple setting, and timeless questions.


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