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Picnic (1956)

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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.

Director:

Joshua Logan

Writers:

Daniel Taradash (screenplay), William Inge (play)
Reviews
Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
William Holden ... Hal Carter
Kim Novak ... Madge Owens
Betty Field ... Flo Owens
Susan Strasberg ... Millie Owens
Cliff Robertson ... Alan Benson
Arthur O'Connell ... Howard Bevans
Verna Felton ... Helen Potts
Reta Shaw ... Irma Kronkite
Nick Adams ... Bomber
Raymond Bailey ... Mr. Benson
Elizabeth Wilson ... Christine Schoenwalder (as Elizabeth W. Wilson)
Rosalind Russell ... Miss Rosemary Sydney
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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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A never-to-be forgotten picture - from the Pulitzer Prize winning story by William Inge! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 February 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Picknick See more »

Filming Locations:

Halstead, Kansas, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite its legend, this was NOT the first movie to feature a helicopter shot. They Live by Night (1948) was an early, if not the very first, film to use it (albeit in its opening shot, not the closing shot as was done in Picnic). See more »

Goofs

When Neewollah Queen Madge goes to return the royal robe, she's still wearing the sash as she stands on the footbridge and watches Hal and Millie dancing. When she joins the group seconds later, in that famous clapping scene, the sash is gone. See more »

Quotes

Flo Owens: If she loses her chance when she's young, she might as well throw all her prettiness away.
Madge Owens: I'm only 19.
Flo Owens: And next summer you'll be 20, and then 21, and then 40.
Madge Owens: You don't have to be morbid.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Serial Mom (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Ain't She Sweet?
(uncredited)
Music by Milton Ager
Lyrics by Jack Yellen
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Poignant, bittersweet
14 April 1999 | by tanya-8See 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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