• Picnic
    3 minutes 23 seconds
    Added: May 9, 2008


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Picnic Reviews

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June 27, 2014
Ridiculous melodrama.People meet, fall desperately in love, rip each other apart and run away. All in 24 hours.
August 10, 2009
I thought it was going to be a nice movie about a picnic. Instead, there's a weird Freudianism about it; where everyone has these stupid tawdry yearnings bubbling beneath the surface. This is completely emblematic of that kind of idiotic, mid-20th century, wanna-be subversive, over-saturated, 'serious issues' playwright melodrama, brought to the screen in the clunkiest way imaginable. Clunkier than the previous sentence.
Why is Strasberg rolling her eyes? Was she watching her performance?
So much awkwardness. Always the worst of humanity. The one thing, I think, everyone can agree on is that the mother is horrible. The actress did a great job playing her. There's a nihilism about it that reminded me of Grand Hotel, with the oppressive swelter of The Long, Hot Summer. I'm not sure there's a likable character in the entire film.
The mother's performance is best. romance is not very believable, but the sort of chase at the end makes for the most interesting part of the movie. Gorgeous cinematography. I wish the story matched it.
John B

Super Reviewer

February 5, 2014
There isn't much love for Picnic among the critics or the people on here but I thought it was excellent. William Holden is great as the drifter who sets the small town on its head. I particularly loved the interplay between Holden, Russell and Novak. Good stuff.

Super Reviewer

October 16, 2013
A lower class drifter enlists an old college friend to introduce him to Southern society, which includes a pair of sisters, one coquettish and the other plain and intellectual.
A drama of manners, Picnic is A Place in the Sun without the themes of violence or religion. The plot proceeds exactly as you might expect it would. The handsome, anti-intellectual drifter entertains the intellectual sister while pining for her beautiful, anti-intellectual sister. The whole thing resolves as you might expect it would, so there is no real surprise or genre-bending twist. Whatever charm the film holds is in the performances by its stars, and William Holden, showing off his muscled physique, does admirably much with little, and the same can be said of Kim Novak.
Overall, this film is a cliche done well.
September 13, 2013
Holden was too old and knew it, and even the shaggy fringe he adopts to seem younger only makes it more awkward for the viewer. I didn't recognize Kim Novak at first--she appears less self-concious, more natural than in her other movies. Rosalind Russell is good, as always, and Arthur O'Connell elicits genuine sympathy. Not a great movie, but beautifully filmed. I didn't like the ending and the fact that Madge complains about superficiality and then falls for a guy who is all looks and no brains. Although he gets points for being a generous and fun guy to be around that even the kids like. It ultimately is a reflection of the morality and thinking of the time, and the constrictions women were put in until the 1960's began to pry open the door.
March 13, 2013
It's too flip to be dismissive of this film as simply 'dated.' It paints a very clear picture of the social mores of the mid-50's and one only has to give this gorgeously lensed film a look to obtain understanding of where we were and how we got here. Holden, Robertson, Strasburg, Novak, Russell...all terrific. Striking visuals in lush Cinemascope.
January 24, 2013
I was interested in watching this because of the talk about the revival on Broadway. I didn't really like it. Maybe it was too innocent or it was dated. William Holden's performance was too over the top and Kim Novak as Madge was kind of boring. I really liked Susan Strasberg as Millie(the younger sister) and Rosalind Russell as Rosemary Sydney (the old maid teacher). I thought they both did really great and added dimension to the movie.
December 29, 2012
Great performances keep this movie afloat. It's pretty slow at times but the acting and direction are the real highlights of this movie.
July 28, 2012
A bit more focus on what it is the characters are really trying to achieve and some more drama in the first half could have made this beautifully-shot film a great film but for all its ambitions and understanding, Picnic does still come out as a watchable drama thanks to its much improved second half where the drama never feels too schmaltzy.
Adrian B.
June 29, 2012
Tremendously dated movie in which William Holden plays a hobo or vagabond that travels to small town in Texas to meet up with friend (Cliff Robertson), only to be wooed by his woman (Kim Novak). All the girls yearn for the new man in town, believing his hokum stories of his past life. In a subplot, a teacher (Rosalind Russell) is the girlfriend of drunken nut (Arthur O'Connell). Hard to understand that films like "Rebel Without a Cause" or "To Catch a Thief" or "The Night of the Hunter" were ignored for a nomination of Best Picture over this. The script is downright embarrassing at times and the acting is so juvenile and dull. Ranks among the worst nominees of any such Academy Award.
June 24, 2012
not al that like some people seem 2 think
June 19, 2012
william holden and kim novak are really great actors, but their charm and potential is wasted on a weak script with some of the corniest film dialogue of the 1950s.
March 2, 2012
Clunky it may be, dated it certainly is but I still enjoy this movie for its star attractions, Novak, Holden and Russell.
August 2, 2011
Looks aged and boring.
Lanning :

Super Reviewer

June 27, 2011
Not a darling of the critics, Picnic has suffered from robust shellackings by popular voices such as the renowned Roger Ebert -- with whom I seem to disagree about 95% of the time -- man, do I miss Gene Siskel. Ebert, the anti-Picnic cheerleader -- runs down this film as clunky, awkwardly written, poorly directed, and utterly non-self-aware. When RE doesn't like a film, he does not hold back. In truth, as I ruminate over what all is eating Roger Ebert, it seems to me that he is most irate about Holden and Novak being attracted to each other for surface reasons, for their physical attributes rather than their intellectual capabilities. Roger finds it ironic that Novak plainly states her desire to be seen as more than just a good-looking woman, when in fact that is the very essential and singular attraction for Holden. Roger, guess what? This could very possibly be a statement about 50s' middle-American values, a rich rendering, I'm thinking, of the way the writers perceive an awkward decade, full of stilted dialog disguising sexual tensions bubbling below the surface. If only we could all say what we really mean, really want, really desire so deeply -- hey, then the stuffy 50s might erupt into a decade of revolutionary thought and action -- hmmmmm, kind of like the 60s, huh Roger? On another note, Rosalind Russell is yet another fine actor who never gave a bad performance and never won an Academy Award. She could have certainly won for Best Supporting Actress with this depressingly desperate performance.
June 23, 2011
William Holden and Kim Novak
are very romantic
dancing to "Moonglow"
February 4, 2011
I had to suffer through a pan-and-scan version, which was not pleasant at all, but I think the film is well made enough for it to work, even if I've only seen half of it, technically. Or less. Bill Holden is excellent as usual, but a little too old for the role I think. Actually the whole ensemble is great, but Kim Novak is a dubious talent indeed. Acting-wise anyway. It's surprisingly frank for a Hollywood film about sexual anxiety in the 50s.
January 10, 2011
Caught this on TV recently and found it to be overall mediocre, but enjoyable in spots. Kim Novak is breathtaking and Rosalind Russel is a hoot, as usual. Plot had holes and William Holden seemed a bit too old for the role. I think Paul Newman would have been a much better choice. I wasn't really crazy about the ending, but it was certainly realistic and one could easily predict what most likely came of the leads. Still, an intriguing slice of Americana, with similar appeal as State Fair.
January 2, 2011
*** (out of four)

A well made, but dated adaption of the stage play. It isn't a bad movie, but is far from a gret one. Nice performances from everyone, but something is missing.

William Holden plays a drifter who lands himself in a small midwestern twon in hops of getting a job with an old friend. He falls for the friends beauty queen girlfriend (Kim Novak).

There's a nice feel to the film, but its syrupy production hurts it.
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