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Picnic (1986)

TV Movie  -  Drama  -  10 November 1986 (USA)
6.5
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A 1986 made-for-cablevision remake of the 1955 Joshua Logan movie. Shown as "A Broadway On Showtime Production."

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Title: Picnic (TV Movie 1986)

Picnic (TV Movie 1986) on IMDb 6.5/10

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A 1986 made-for-cablevision remake of the 1955 Joshua Logan movie. Shown as "A Broadway On Showtime Production."

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10 November 1986 (USA)  »

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The original Broadway production of "The Picnic" by William Inge opened on February 19, 1953 at the Music Box Theater, ran for 477 performances and won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1953. See more »

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Version of Picnic (1955) See more »

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A great rendition of a classic - unfortunately it seems to be lost
19 January 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This movie was filmed as a play and released on one of the cable movie stations. It had a cast of great stars, so its descent into the vaults of oblivion is puzzling. I've seen truly atrocious movies make it from VHS to DVD, while small treasures like this version of "Picnic" are forever forgotten. Being a play and being rooted in more traditional views of behavior probably date it beyond today's tastes.

Rue McClanahan was excellent as Flo, the proper southern mother and southern belle of younger years, hoping to marry her beautiful daughter to Alan, the son of a wealthy businessman. Gregory Harrison, as Hal, nailed the role as a sexy young drifter with a bad boy image who wanders into town and falls head over heels in love, offering nothing of substance but trying to change for his newfound love. Jennifer Jason Leigh as Madge, in one of her first roles, played her part well as she slowly realizes that her feelings for the renegade wanderer are stronger than her need to please her mother and marry someone for whom she has no real passion. Deep feelings overwhelm the lovers and lead them to a night of love that brings strong reactions from the others in the light of the following day.

The support roles and side stories are also really well done, with Michael Learned as Rosemary, the unmarried middle-aged school teacher who tries to maintain a facade of propriety while carrying on with a cheap-suit traveling salesman named Howard, hoping he'll make an honest woman of her. Conchata Ferrell was delightful in playing the strong, lovable and overweight Helen Potts who befriends the drifter and holds a twinge of attraction for the handsome Hal in the motherly role she takes on for him and for all the characters -- centered around food and unconditional love.

Timothy Shelton, as Hal's old college buddy and Madge's fiancé, does well in portraying a decent and caring man whose growing jealousy overrules enough to call in the police under false accusations in an attempt to save his plans to marry Madge. Dana Hill also adds to the mix as Millie, the plain and pudgy teenager living in the shadow of her pretty sister, Madge. She develops a crush on Hal and mistakes his kindness and friendship for something more.

The original "Picnic" with William Holden and Kim Novak was great, but there is room for this stage-play version to come alongside. It's sad that it never made it to the retail market, for whatever reason. It's sadder still that my old videotaped version was also lost in time. I'd love to see this movie again.


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