Picnic - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Picnic Reviews

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June 24, 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.
½ 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.
October 23, 2011
Released in 1955, "Picnic" powerfully evokes old-fashioned small town America. I've seen this film more than once and it's one of those films that gets better with repeated viewings. Unforgettable are Rosalind Russell, as a desperately lonely middle-aged woman and Verna Felton, as the sweet old lady who lives next door to the Owens family.
½ September 11, 2011
Romantic drama that is always labouring with itself to impress. The script is mostly ordinary, but perks up at infrequent moments.
August 2, 2011
Looks aged and boring.
Super Reviewer
June 28, 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"
May 21, 2011
things were perfect in the 50's/early 60's, right? watching this movie gives you a different perspective on the era and that things werent so perfect. within the lines of the movie you can get a whiff of the 60's and that yes, you actually dont have to do what everyone tells you.
½ May 9, 2011
An all right picture saved only by Holden's shirtlessness.
½ 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.
½ February 2, 2011
An odd Oscar nomination choice, but through its flaws is a compelling character study, which- if tweaked a little bit, could have been far more outstanding.

For starters, its probably the most overtly sexual movie the Academy had acknowledge up until this time. It's the earliest movie in which I've ever heard the word "slut". Also, great scene where mom basically tells daughter, "You're young and pretty, but that won't last. So you'd better put out tonight for this rich boy so that you can live a comfortable life." And then, of course, there's the sensual jazz dance on the dock where everything that could be said with clothes on was communicated.

The story is- the drifter comes into the small Kansas town to look for a job with an old college buddy whose daddy is loaded. College boy is dating a girl, the aforementioned pretty one. She's frustrated because she's "only pretty" and doesn't feel comfortable in the rich-guys scene. She has a mother, bitter in her own husband's abandonment. She has a little sister, not pretty, but very smart and ambition beyond her years. They also live with a school teacher. A very interesting character who has been strong, single and independent her whole life; but is now turning older and insecure about being alone.

Meanwhile the drifter is alright, a braggadocio- but simple-minded doofus beefcake. A big flaw here was hiring William Holden, who at 37, was 10+ years too old to play this post-college nomad. Sure, Holden is built. And with his shirt off, he fit the teen romance poster image. But his face shows too much maturity for a character so naive and lost.

Acting was kinda clunky all around, save the teacher and her boyfriend. Direction was very non-Hollywood; almost independent, but in a good way. The script probably includes too many '50s colloquialisms that sound ridiculous now. But on the whole, you'll find that each character has something to be learned from. A that's certainly worth it.
January 26, 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.
November 19, 2010
Joshua Logan, directed this screenplay based on a play written by William Inge, which he also directed. The 1953 Broadway production debuted Paul Newman, who played Hal, the part William Holden plays in the movie. You could tell the movie was based on a play by Holden's over acting. His performance was geared for a playgoing audience not a theatre going audience. Overacting, with robust body movement made Holden look out of place. I blame Logan for this direction as Holden has done much better in other movies.

Rosalind Russell, who was primarily a Broadway actor, was outstanding in this movie, especially in the second half. If you watch her and Arthur Kennedy's scenes against Holden and Novak's scenes the difference in talent is striking and should have been embarrassing to Holden and Novak.

One of Kim Novak's lines in the movie is: "I just get so tired of being told I'm pretty." Well, girlie that's the only thing you had going for you in this movie and your career.

"Picnic" was not a good movie. It did pick up in the second half, but very few movie productions based on plays are successful. A movie production requires different skill sets for the director and the cast.
November 15, 2010
ehhh...decent classic...i enjoyed the small town life aspect of the film..the cinematography was great...the town picnic seemed like a fun thing to be a part of...Holden is way too old for the role here..he seems 40ish trying to play a 20 yr old and it comes across as way too obvious..even a bit overacted....Russell and O'Connell are both very good..as is Susan Strasberg...just now realize thats Verna Felton who voices so many animated classic characters as a neighbor
Super Reviewer
November 10, 2010
An okay melodrama, it's not bad, but it's pretty boring for the most part.
October 17, 2010
50's soapy melodrama, but worth a look for the lush colours and William Holden. Woof!
½ August 8, 2010
I really didn‚??t care for this film. It was overlong and it just seemed like there wasn‚??t much of a story. The whole romance was far too rushed and wasn‚??t even romantic. William Holden seemed out of place, looking about 35/40 trying to play a 20 something year old. Rosalind Russell was too over the top (more so than usual) and got annoying, trying to add too much comic relief. I just thought it was a dull film. However, it did have nice sets, costumes, and cinematography, so I‚??ll give it that.
½ July 19, 2010
William Holden esta muy exagerado, Kim Novak se mira hermosa, pero su actuaciůn da risa involuntaria. Todo en esta pelicula parece sobredramatizado, el guion en tonto y ridiculo.
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