Picnic Reviews

  • Aug 11, 2020

    If you want to watch William Holden take his shirt off slowly for much of 'Picnic's' running time (very handsome, muscular for the time, perfect smooth skin) while wearing really tight pants, all the while Kim Novak (one of the great film beauties of the 1950s) offering peek-a-boo shots in a low-cut flowing pink number that's the opposite of what regular gals wear to picnics, this one's for you! And both Holden and Novak are indeed excellent. But this film version of the play tries so hard for the type of slam-bang-hot masterpiece that was "Streetcar Named Desire" it comes off as rather a Disney-picnic. and a silly one at that. I can't believe the stage play won a Pulitzer: there isn't much here. "...kid sister Millie (Susan Strasberg)....has read the same page of her Flannery O'Connor novel so often, it's creased and dog-eared (if we notice things like that, why can't the prop department?)," writes Roger Ebert in a review of this film. An odd, pointless reference, right? And Millie isn't reading O'Connor, she's reading Carson McCuller's "Ballad of Sad Cafe," and she even says so; So strange Ebert would get these massively popular novelists names wrong. This 1955 film was nominated for 6 Oscars and won 2: neither award given to Novak or Holden's physicality, the highlight of the film and the only reason to watch. And the cover of a recent DVD? Yea, there is a reason for the rock-hard tree trunk. Unfortunately, we get a twig of a rose bush, with thorns.

    If you want to watch William Holden take his shirt off slowly for much of 'Picnic's' running time (very handsome, muscular for the time, perfect smooth skin) while wearing really tight pants, all the while Kim Novak (one of the great film beauties of the 1950s) offering peek-a-boo shots in a low-cut flowing pink number that's the opposite of what regular gals wear to picnics, this one's for you! And both Holden and Novak are indeed excellent. But this film version of the play tries so hard for the type of slam-bang-hot masterpiece that was "Streetcar Named Desire" it comes off as rather a Disney-picnic. and a silly one at that. I can't believe the stage play won a Pulitzer: there isn't much here. "...kid sister Millie (Susan Strasberg)....has read the same page of her Flannery O'Connor novel so often, it's creased and dog-eared (if we notice things like that, why can't the prop department?)," writes Roger Ebert in a review of this film. An odd, pointless reference, right? And Millie isn't reading O'Connor, she's reading Carson McCuller's "Ballad of Sad Cafe," and she even says so; So strange Ebert would get these massively popular novelists names wrong. This 1955 film was nominated for 6 Oscars and won 2: neither award given to Novak or Holden's physicality, the highlight of the film and the only reason to watch. And the cover of a recent DVD? Yea, there is a reason for the rock-hard tree trunk. Unfortunately, we get a twig of a rose bush, with thorns.

  • Jul 21, 2020

    Fairly inept at least in the script and story aspects.

    Fairly inept at least in the script and story aspects.

  • May 14, 2020

    Respected in it’s day, but pretty clunky and just plain bad now. Only Betty Field comes out as a fairly real person with a good performance, Of course Holden is way too old and its embarrassing to see him trying to pull this off. This needed a James Dean and a different director. Over all this mess is the typically stagey and unnatural direction of Joshua Logan. He may have been great for the stage but Logan never directed a completely great film. Everyone over reaches and becomes a caricature. Oscar for editing but the editing is terrible and abrupt. Kim Novak drips water from her drying hair on Strasberg’s book, but when we see her, her hair is practically dry. Roz Russell rubs on face cream for what what would be 20 to 30 minutes. Strasberg’s forced jeers, bad timing, and Novak’s shallow whining are unbearable. Old Holden, attempting lines about ‘Babes’ are cringeworthy. Watch as much of this mess as you can to get a feel for a movie that once passed for good, but don’t bother finishing it.

    Respected in it’s day, but pretty clunky and just plain bad now. Only Betty Field comes out as a fairly real person with a good performance, Of course Holden is way too old and its embarrassing to see him trying to pull this off. This needed a James Dean and a different director. Over all this mess is the typically stagey and unnatural direction of Joshua Logan. He may have been great for the stage but Logan never directed a completely great film. Everyone over reaches and becomes a caricature. Oscar for editing but the editing is terrible and abrupt. Kim Novak drips water from her drying hair on Strasberg’s book, but when we see her, her hair is practically dry. Roz Russell rubs on face cream for what what would be 20 to 30 minutes. Strasberg’s forced jeers, bad timing, and Novak’s shallow whining are unbearable. Old Holden, attempting lines about ‘Babes’ are cringeworthy. Watch as much of this mess as you can to get a feel for a movie that once passed for good, but don’t bother finishing it.

  • Nov 01, 2019

    1950s melodrama films can be terrific entertainment as Written on the Wind (1955), Magnificent Obsession (1954) and Some Came Running (1958) are great films featuring fascinating characters experiencing emotionally fraught relationships. Sadly there were also melodramas released around the same time that have not held up quite as well as they feature wooden performances, poorly constructed screenplays and questionable morals. Director Joshua Logan was responsible for a similar failure in the form of Sayonara (1957) and his staid directing style doesn't add anything to a stolid adaptation of a play that is clearly very of it's time. Modern audiences won't find much to appreciate in the film as while William Holden and Rosalind Russell are two of the most famous stars of old Hollywood they certainly aren't doing their best work in this film. Failed actor and former high school American football champion Hal Carter, William Holden, returns to his hometown hoping to obtain a job through his friendship with the wealthy Alan Benson, Cliff Robertson. He encounters several women when he arrives as elderly Rosemary, Rosalind Russell, sets her sights on him while being pursued by the kindly Howard Bevans, Arthur O'Connell. The two daughters of single mother Flo Owens, Betty Field, the attractive but self-conscious Madge, Kim Novak, and the smart Millie, Susan Strasberg, are also interested in him but their mother's interest in having Madge married to the rich Benson complicates their developing romance. At the town picnic to celebrate "Neewollah" conflicts flare up as Madge and Carter dance together and the rejection of Rosemary leads to shocking revelations. The central issue with the film is that the characters just aren't engaging as there is very little depth present in any of their characterization and those who are meant to be endearing come across as irritating. Madge, the female lead, is frustrating because she constantly complains about being too beautiful, hardly a relatable issue, while wanting people to appreciate her for something more than her looks. Sadly, she doesn't seem to have anything go for her other than her looks as she never proves herself to be funny or intelligent and it is hard to imagine anyone carrying on a conversation with her. She is not helped by Novak's portrayal as she lacks the extraordinary beauty to make us believe that men would be beguiled by her red hair and pinched face and there seems to be nothing going on behind her glassy eyes. The other characters are all broad caricatures as the sad old spinster and the man who has long harbored unrequited love for her get together at the end and the vengeful best friend loses his girlfriend to our down on his luck protagonist. We are never really drawn into the passions that fly between these characters as our old spinster seems like a character that should have been played by Katharine Hepburn in the era of Summertime (1955) but she receives so little to do that she is neither funny nor tragic. The film also displays an awful lot of sexism in it's portrayal of female characters, like most films made in the 1950s, as finding a man is presented as the best thing that could ever happen to a woman and the women without a man are cruel and rude. Madge is presented as a female ideal because she is young, pretty and lacking in intelligence and even as she expresses the desire to be noted for her thoughts and feelings the reason that she eventually nabs a man seems to be her physical appearance. There are also double standards applied to the male and female characters as the older Carter who has largely failed in life begins a relationship with a younger woman and this is completely normal, she is expected to ‘redeem' him, while the older woman who pursues Carter is disgusting for ever thinking that a man would want a mature woman with her own desires. I don't watch films from this era expecting characters to espouse feminist values but this film was so naked in it's ambition of presenting men as dominant over the women in their lives that I couldn't help but be disgusted. In All That Heaven Allows (1955) Cary is allowed some control over her relationship with her younger lover and despite pressures from the men in her life ultimately makes her own decision. I cannot see this film achieving a resurgence in popularity as it is heavily dated and the film's stars have appeared in far superior films.

    1950s melodrama films can be terrific entertainment as Written on the Wind (1955), Magnificent Obsession (1954) and Some Came Running (1958) are great films featuring fascinating characters experiencing emotionally fraught relationships. Sadly there were also melodramas released around the same time that have not held up quite as well as they feature wooden performances, poorly constructed screenplays and questionable morals. Director Joshua Logan was responsible for a similar failure in the form of Sayonara (1957) and his staid directing style doesn't add anything to a stolid adaptation of a play that is clearly very of it's time. Modern audiences won't find much to appreciate in the film as while William Holden and Rosalind Russell are two of the most famous stars of old Hollywood they certainly aren't doing their best work in this film. Failed actor and former high school American football champion Hal Carter, William Holden, returns to his hometown hoping to obtain a job through his friendship with the wealthy Alan Benson, Cliff Robertson. He encounters several women when he arrives as elderly Rosemary, Rosalind Russell, sets her sights on him while being pursued by the kindly Howard Bevans, Arthur O'Connell. The two daughters of single mother Flo Owens, Betty Field, the attractive but self-conscious Madge, Kim Novak, and the smart Millie, Susan Strasberg, are also interested in him but their mother's interest in having Madge married to the rich Benson complicates their developing romance. At the town picnic to celebrate "Neewollah" conflicts flare up as Madge and Carter dance together and the rejection of Rosemary leads to shocking revelations. The central issue with the film is that the characters just aren't engaging as there is very little depth present in any of their characterization and those who are meant to be endearing come across as irritating. Madge, the female lead, is frustrating because she constantly complains about being too beautiful, hardly a relatable issue, while wanting people to appreciate her for something more than her looks. Sadly, she doesn't seem to have anything go for her other than her looks as she never proves herself to be funny or intelligent and it is hard to imagine anyone carrying on a conversation with her. She is not helped by Novak's portrayal as she lacks the extraordinary beauty to make us believe that men would be beguiled by her red hair and pinched face and there seems to be nothing going on behind her glassy eyes. The other characters are all broad caricatures as the sad old spinster and the man who has long harbored unrequited love for her get together at the end and the vengeful best friend loses his girlfriend to our down on his luck protagonist. We are never really drawn into the passions that fly between these characters as our old spinster seems like a character that should have been played by Katharine Hepburn in the era of Summertime (1955) but she receives so little to do that she is neither funny nor tragic. The film also displays an awful lot of sexism in it's portrayal of female characters, like most films made in the 1950s, as finding a man is presented as the best thing that could ever happen to a woman and the women without a man are cruel and rude. Madge is presented as a female ideal because she is young, pretty and lacking in intelligence and even as she expresses the desire to be noted for her thoughts and feelings the reason that she eventually nabs a man seems to be her physical appearance. There are also double standards applied to the male and female characters as the older Carter who has largely failed in life begins a relationship with a younger woman and this is completely normal, she is expected to ‘redeem' him, while the older woman who pursues Carter is disgusting for ever thinking that a man would want a mature woman with her own desires. I don't watch films from this era expecting characters to espouse feminist values but this film was so naked in it's ambition of presenting men as dominant over the women in their lives that I couldn't help but be disgusted. In All That Heaven Allows (1955) Cary is allowed some control over her relationship with her younger lover and despite pressures from the men in her life ultimately makes her own decision. I cannot see this film achieving a resurgence in popularity as it is heavily dated and the film's stars have appeared in far superior films.

  • May 31, 2019

    The movie is like a 50s soap opera. I love how the love scene is implied back then with the speeding train lol. Despite some decent acting at parts, the script left very little for the cast. Some of the acting was just downright bad too like Kim Novak. Also the reason I hate many plays turned into films is because they tend to be overdramatic and this one is exactly that. This film didn't age well n I esp didn't like plotline of the desperate spinster character who felt worthless without a man n became ridic by the end (at the time it prob was meant to be cute but nowadays its extremely sexist/sad).I think the main character made the right choice but will prob regret it in 5 yrs like her mom cautions. The film was a bit boring and the main guy as the hunk seemed a little old/not a muscle hunk by todays standards. Meh what do u expect from a movie titled Picnic?

    The movie is like a 50s soap opera. I love how the love scene is implied back then with the speeding train lol. Despite some decent acting at parts, the script left very little for the cast. Some of the acting was just downright bad too like Kim Novak. Also the reason I hate many plays turned into films is because they tend to be overdramatic and this one is exactly that. This film didn't age well n I esp didn't like plotline of the desperate spinster character who felt worthless without a man n became ridic by the end (at the time it prob was meant to be cute but nowadays its extremely sexist/sad).I think the main character made the right choice but will prob regret it in 5 yrs like her mom cautions. The film was a bit boring and the main guy as the hunk seemed a little old/not a muscle hunk by todays standards. Meh what do u expect from a movie titled Picnic?

  • Feb 02, 2019

    The best romance movie ever made! With the best movie score ever composed!

    The best romance movie ever made! With the best movie score ever composed!

  • Feb 25, 2018

    Corny and dated. Good for a few glipses of how folks lived in the mid fifties. Supposedly intended to expose the stultifying lack of choices women had then. Ironically both the Kim Novak (a busty young beauty queen) and William Holden, who instantly fall fo reach other, are sort of superficially attractive but not otherwise compelling or very appealing characters. Holden himself is Mr Beefcake, a male sex symbol in torn shirt or shirtless. And the Roz Russell character, a teacher who is a bitter and rather venomous old maid, may make you cringe! One of those old movies that just does not age well. I did like Mrs Potts, the kindly elderly neighbor with a sunny disposition, and the sultry intellectual 17 year old little sister who was college bound.

    Corny and dated. Good for a few glipses of how folks lived in the mid fifties. Supposedly intended to expose the stultifying lack of choices women had then. Ironically both the Kim Novak (a busty young beauty queen) and William Holden, who instantly fall fo reach other, are sort of superficially attractive but not otherwise compelling or very appealing characters. Holden himself is Mr Beefcake, a male sex symbol in torn shirt or shirtless. And the Roz Russell character, a teacher who is a bitter and rather venomous old maid, may make you cringe! One of those old movies that just does not age well. I did like Mrs Potts, the kindly elderly neighbor with a sunny disposition, and the sultry intellectual 17 year old little sister who was college bound.

  • Jul 02, 2016

    Unfortunately this one didn't do much for me. I know it received a bunch of Oscar noms but I felt it too melodramatic and some of the acting pretty weak. I did like Holden and Novak enough to make it worth watching, but wouldn't recommend it unless you're a fan of those actors.

    Unfortunately this one didn't do much for me. I know it received a bunch of Oscar noms but I felt it too melodramatic and some of the acting pretty weak. I did like Holden and Novak enough to make it worth watching, but wouldn't recommend it unless you're a fan of those actors.

  • Feb 28, 2016

    Oppressively bad. Wow. This was awful. Not an authentic or organic note in it. Every inch felt WRITTEN - which can happen with adapted plays and doesn't have to be completely bad if the writing has something fresh to say - but this was just an aimless, heavy-handed contrivance start-to-finish. Terrible performances. Painful across-the-board, the only possible redemption being, what are actors supposed to do when their characters are not people but devices? It's been a long time since I gave a 1 rating but I'm having a hard time coming up with a reason for anything else. I don't award points for unintentional comedy.

    Oppressively bad. Wow. This was awful. Not an authentic or organic note in it. Every inch felt WRITTEN - which can happen with adapted plays and doesn't have to be completely bad if the writing has something fresh to say - but this was just an aimless, heavy-handed contrivance start-to-finish. Terrible performances. Painful across-the-board, the only possible redemption being, what are actors supposed to do when their characters are not people but devices? It's been a long time since I gave a 1 rating but I'm having a hard time coming up with a reason for anything else. I don't award points for unintentional comedy.

  • Aug 24, 2015

    Picnic is a very underrated film. It has terrific acting, especially from Rosalind Russell who is just tremendous here, it has incredibly well developed and likable characters with well realized and relevant troubles they face. It also has an incredibly rewarding ending and although it is badly edited and sometimes too prolonged, it is mostly a very engaging, smart and above all a poignant and very powerful film filled with some excellent dialogue and also humor. Picnic, a movie that may seem dated on the surface, but is actually a timeless tale about sexual frustrations and deeply rooted discontent.

    Picnic is a very underrated film. It has terrific acting, especially from Rosalind Russell who is just tremendous here, it has incredibly well developed and likable characters with well realized and relevant troubles they face. It also has an incredibly rewarding ending and although it is badly edited and sometimes too prolonged, it is mostly a very engaging, smart and above all a poignant and very powerful film filled with some excellent dialogue and also humor. Picnic, a movie that may seem dated on the surface, but is actually a timeless tale about sexual frustrations and deeply rooted discontent.