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Picnic: Restored

295 customer reviews

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Product Description

It's Labor Day weekend, and fresh off a freight train is Hal Carter (William Holden), a happy-go-lucky drifter who's looking for a brand new start in life. A robust, handsome show-off, Hal has come to Kansas to seek gainful employment in his old fraternity brother Alan's family granary. But despite his high hopes and expectations, Hal's ambitious plans soon go away when his sexual magnetism attracts every woman in town, including 19-year-old Madge Owens (Kim Novak) -- the alluring young beauty queen who also happens to be Alan's girlfriend. Also starring Rosalind Russell, Arthur O'Connell, Susan Strasberg, Nick Adams and Cliff Robertson, Picnic was nominated for six 1955 Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director (Joshua Logan), Best Supporting Actor (O'Connell), Best Music, Best Color Art Direction and Best Editing. "A down-to-earth, throbbing drama of average, small-town Americans" (Boxoffice), Picnic is an "excellent film. ***-1/2" (Leonard Maltin).

William Holden is the hunky drifter who rides the rails into a small Midwest town with dreams of landing a "respectable" job with his rich college buddy (Cliff Robertson). Kim Novak is the small-town beauty queen engaged to Robertson who falls for the cocky dreamer, as do repressed schoolmarm spinster Rosalind Russell and Novak's tomboyish kid sister Susan Strasberg. Their unleashed passions reach a crescendo at the Labor Day picnic.

Joshua Logan directed William Inge's play on Broadway and carried it to Hollywood, earning Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director in his screen-directing debut. Holden is years too old for the role but oozes sex appeal and makes a swoony stud when he takes his shirt off (or when, better yet, it's ripped from his back by a boozing Russell), and Novak is a lovely lost girl yearning for something she can't quite grasp. Arthur O'Connell earned an Oscar nomination as Russell's tippling boyfriend. The film was a huge popular and critical hit, but Logan's stiff and strident direction hasn't dated well. He makes his points in big capital letters--subtlety was never his strong point--and loses the natural beauty of the Kansas locations when he takes the climactic picnic scenes into an obviously artificial soundstage. Picnic remains a loved American classic, largely for Holden's tough-guy vulnerability and James Wong Howe's brilliant widescreen color photography. --Sean Axmaker

Special Features

  • Vintage Advertising
  • Photo Montage
  • Bonus Trailers: Bell, Book & Candle, Pal Joey, Born Yesterday and Alvarez Kelly

Product Details

  • Actors: Arthur O'Connell, Betty Field, Cliff Robertson, Susan Strasberg, Elizabeth Wilson
  • Directors: Joshua Logan
  • Producers: Fred Kohlmar
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Thai
  • Dubbed: Portuguese
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 18, 2000
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (295 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767827791
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,761 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Picnic: Restored" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

168 of 175 people found the following review helpful By Michael C. Smith VINE VOICE on May 6, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In a decade of conformity and great prosperity William Inge and Tennessee Williams tackled subjects ahead of their time. Of course they in some cases had to veil the subject matter but that lead to some wonderful revelations in writing and reading between the lines. In this DVD from Colombia of Inge's Pulitzer Prize winning `Picnic' we have one of the best films of this genre of sexual repression, animal heat, and desperation in small town America.
Most reviewers of this film might begin with the leads but I must start of with the wonderful Verna Felton as Helen Potts the sweet old lady who is caretaker of her aged mother and lives next door to the Owens family. This gifted and now forgotten character actress sets the tone of the picture as she welcomes drifter Hal Carter (William Holden) into her house. At the end of the film she glows in tender counterpoint to the dramatic ending. She is the only person who understands Hal, even more than Madge (Kim Novak). Her speech about having a man in the house is pure joy to watch. It is a small but important performance that frames the entire story with warmth and understanding.
Betty Field turns in a sterling performance as Flo Owens, Mother of Madge and Millie. She is disapproving of Millie's rebellious teen and smothering of her Kansas hothouse rose Madge. A single Mom trying in desperation to keep Madge from making the same mistakes she did. She becomes so wrapped up in Madge's potential for marriage to the richest boy in town she completely ignores the budding greatness that is bursting to get out in her real treasure. Millie.
Susan Strasberg creates in her Millie a sweet comic oddball.
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95 of 99 people found the following review helpful By DSR on January 8, 2007
Format: DVD
I've waited for years to get this wonderful classic on DVD and was so disappointed to discover it's only available in a full-screen format. For those who don't know the difference, this classic was originally filmed in a widescreen format, so to make it fit the traditional square television, they had to crop out a lot of the picture. What's more, this "restored" version contains no documentaries--only trailers and cast lists. I e-mailed Sony about a possible widescreen release and was told there are no plans for another release at this time. What a shame! The film was released on VHS in a widescreen format and deserved to be handled with the same respect in the DVD release. If you want to get the full impact of the theatrical release, don't buy this chopped-up version. Save your money and watch the VHS or widescreen airings on Turner Classic Movies. Eventually someone will do right by this film and release a better DVD.
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66 of 72 people found the following review helpful By R. Scharba on June 26, 2000
Format: DVD
I've seen "Picnic" more times that I could count, most recently on the excellent DVD edition. It was released in 1955 and powerfully evokes old-fashioned small town America, but the essence of it transcends time and place. The dilemmas and stages of life portrayed can only be fully appreciated by someone who's gone through some of them. It was always one of my mother's favorite movies, but you need to grow up to a certain extent before fully appreciating it. It's one of those films that gets better with repeated viewings, and changes even as you yourself change.
A scene that immediately comes to mind is one where Rosalind Russell, as a desperately lonely middle-aged woman living in denial, is unblinkingly staring at a blazing red sunset with her gentleman friend, Howard. In a tight, intense tone of voice she suggests that the day doesn't want to end, that it's going to "put up a big scrap, try to set the world on fire," to keep the night from creeping in. Yow! Besides being an example of great acting, it's a scene that just can't be fully appreciated until you've reached a certain age, seen some time slip by, and pondered mortality. Russell makes the most of it, and it always brings a lump to my throat. Howard, in his clueless way, agrees that "a sunset is a beautiful thing, all right." I suspect that people who watch this film, shrug, and say "so what? Kim Novak is fat and dull, and Holden is too old" are a lot like the character Howard, which may be to their advantage after all.
Regarding Kim Novak, I could certainly picture a more nuanced performance in that role, but she is better than OK, and not fat by 1950's standards! As for William Holden being too old to play Hal, I can forgive much for the sake of charisma like his.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Gary L. Perl on March 15, 2010
Format: DVD
Picnic, based on a play by William Inge, directed by Joshus Logan, Starring William Holden, Kim Novak, Cliff Robertson, Susan Strassberg among ohters offers blistering adult drama and great music score by George Duning. WARNING TO ANYONE BUYING THIS DISC: According to Amazon, this disc is incorrectly formatted at a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The movie was shot in the very wide anomorphic CinemaScope process at 2.35:1. If you buy this disc,you are losing about 45% of ther original image. If you like to view your movies as close to the original format as possible, DO NOT BUY THIS DISC!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Andre Dursin on May 14, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
Gorgeously shot in Cinemascope by the great James Wong Howe, "Picnic" is a blast of entertainment that could only have been made during Hollywood's Golden Age: a tale of a one-time college man who was a hit on the gridiron but who has since hit the skids. Seeking a fresh start, Hal Carter (William Holden) heads to rural Kansas - the very heart of the "heartland" - in order to track down a fellow alumnus and friend (Cliff Robertson). In the process, he walks into a precarious group of women living in this modest yet enticing "all-American" town, including a single mother (Betty Field) raising two daughters - the beautiful yet supposedly dumb beauty queen Madge (Kim Novak) and her bookwormish younger sister Millie (Susan Strasberg). Also living in their home is aggressive schoolteacher Rosemary (Rosalind Russell), bordering on the spinster-ish but still courted by the beaten-down Howard (Arthur O'Connell). Hal's arrival causes a number of different reactions from the ladies, who view the handsome yet troubled young man from decidedly contrasting viewpoints.

Joshua Logan directed this Columbia production, an adaptation of William Inge's Pulitzer-winning play scripted by Daniel Taradash for the screen. Some of the stage conventions remain in the film version of "Picnic," but Logan - who also helmed the Broadway play - vividly opens up the material for glorious Cinemascope, with a good portion of the film having been shot on location, adding to the film's atmosphere.
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What's Up With There Being NO Widescreen Version Of A Film That Is...
I agree. To not have this movie in widescreen format is a major blunder. The movie has been done a terrible injustice by not having the original shooting available to the public. Columbia Pictures and Sony, please get this corrected. I do not intend to purchase this DVD until it comes out in... Read More
Aug 6, 2007 by J. Jeffries |  See all 12 posts
I found the work as a play not just a film compelling in ways few have...
I think you have an interesting point, to focus on "biological destiny". But to me, it's clearly about "economic destiny". Hal grows up in a loser family and cannot commit himself to his studies, drops out and becomes a drifter, no matter that he can charm, be a football... Read More
Sep 4, 2011 by Mary McGreevey |  See all 3 posts
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