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Picnic (1955)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | December 1955 (USA)
Trailer
3:21 | Trailer
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 (screen play by), William Inge (based upon play "Picnic" by)
Reviews
Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 12 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 ... Rosemary, the School Teacher
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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:

Electrically attracted to each other...Overwhelmingly engulfed by it...Guiltily in love! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kim Novak 's hair was dyed a reddish auburn, which was a switch from her usual shade of platinum blonde, in order to give her character a more innocent and youthful look. See more »

Goofs

After the sunset scene, Madge and Hal are down by the river and there is direct sunlight sparkling on the water. See more »

Quotes

Millie Owens: When I graduate from college I'm going to New York, and write novels that'll shock people right out of their senses. I'm never gonna fall in love. Not me! I'm not gonna live in some jerkwater town and marry some ornery guy and raise some grimy kids. But just because I'm a dope doesn't mean you have to be.
Madge Owens: Millie.
Millie Owens: Go with him, Madge.
Madge Owens: Millie?
Millie Owens: For once in your life, do something right.
See more »


Soundtracks

Ain't She Sweet?
(uncredited)
Music by Milton Ager
Lyrics by Jack Yellen
See more »

User Reviews

 
Flawed but Haunting and Powerful
26 June 2003 | by wglennSee all my reviews

Picnic offers superior acting all around, some great cinematography, and a number of excellent scenes, including the famous dance sequence between Holden and Novak. The writing, unfortunately, veers between wonderful and maudlin, and the movie feels outdated in many ways. Worst of all, the directing and music can be heavy-handed at times, clubbing the viewer with melodrama in some of the key moments, when a more subtle approach would have turned this into a real classic.

Yet, despite its flaws, there's something special about this film. It has a haunting quality that I can't quite put my finger on. A kind of nostalgia - not for the supposed innocence of small-town life, which the film shows to be a myth, but for the disappearing natural wildness of ourselves as people, the primitive element in humanity that both causes problems and gives us real vitality.

My wife and I found ourselves discussing Picnic at length over dinner the following night and even watched several of the scenes again. There are many good details and powerful moments scattered among the weaker parts. I appreciated William Holden's performance even more the second time around - his sense of impatience and desperation are palpable. And he's such a great presence on the screen - I wound up watching him more than Novak in the dance sequence. In fact, my one disappointment with this scene is that Novak doesn't serve as his cinematic equal. She's no Bacall who can fill the screen with Bogart. Rosalind Russell and Arthur O'Connell both do great jobs, especially during the scene where they are discussing marriage. Susan Strasberg pulls off a difficult role and manages to look even more attractive than Kim Novak at times, reminding me of a young Winona Ryder.

The Holden and Novak characters are both viewed as sexual objects, yet they're actually quite humble people who can't handle the shallowness of the society around them and who are searching for genuine love. William Holden is always a pleasure to watch, and his fans should find this role particularly interesting. Picnic won't go down as a great film, but there is a great film lurking somewhere inside it.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

December 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Picnic See more »

Filming Locations:

Halstead, Kansas, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »

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