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Picnic at Hanging Rock

( 10 )

Overview

Peter Weir's creepy, beautifully photographed movie is a mysteriously ambiguous study of repression and nature. As with any movie ripe with symbolism, the cinematography and sound presentation give insight and/or clues into the goings-on of the plot; this requires the DVD to faithfully translate Russell Boyd's dusty, yet lush photography and Gheorghe Zamfir's haunting, pan flute interpretations of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven compositions. On both counts, the DVD wins. Whether Weir is focusing on a slice of cake ...
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Overview

Peter Weir's creepy, beautifully photographed movie is a mysteriously ambiguous study of repression and nature. As with any movie ripe with symbolism, the cinematography and sound presentation give insight and/or clues into the goings-on of the plot; this requires the DVD to faithfully translate Russell Boyd's dusty, yet lush photography and Gheorghe Zamfir's haunting, pan flute interpretations of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven compositions. On both counts, the DVD wins. Whether Weir is focusing on a slice of cake covered with ants, the haunted image of a girl's face reflected in a mirror, or Hanging Rock obscured by misty fog, the Criterion DVD is a marvel to behold. The 1.66:1 aspect ratio of this director's cut of the movie is entirely respectful of the artistry that went into the film's production. The dominant earth tones, while not photo realistic, immerse the viewer in the mysteries of Mother Nature. The Dolby Digital soundtrack, full of strange and beautiful sound effects of unknown origin, consistently stuns. The "Chapters" menu allows instant access to the DVD's 33 chapters. The theatrical trailer, not of the same quality artistically or technically as the movie, isn't worth a second look; it's also not to be viewed before the movie, since it gives away far too many plot points. Film critic Vincent Canby's liner notes are the rare sort that actually provide insight into the movie. Picnic at Hanging Rock is as haunting and mesmerizing as ever on this first-rate, Criterion Collection DVD.
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Special Features

The long awaited director's cut of the film, with a new widescreen transfer and a new 5.1 Surround mix; The original theatrical trailer; Liner notes by Vincent Canby; Subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The first significant splash made by the Australian New Wave on world cinema, Picnic at Hanging Rock is director Peter Weir's haunting, delicate, and exquisitely photographed tale of three young girls who disappear during a school outing in the year 1900. It hints at what is to come in films like Weir's truly shattering The Last Wave and in coming-of-age films such as Gillian Armstrong's My Brilliant Career - a new look at an exotic country's early days and unique history. Weir was a foremost force in the rebirth of Australian cinema, using period pieces such as this one, combined with heavy atmospherics and a fresh take on colonialism, to promote a kind of mystical super-realism that is evident in most of his films and those of Australian directors who followed him. Weir's refusal to provide a satisfying end to his puzzle of a story is also emblematic of a fresh approach that strays from a rationalized Western viewpoint into more supernatural realms that are linked to the aboriginal culture of the continent.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/3/1998
  • UPC: 037429126325
  • Original Release: 1975
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Vistavision (1.66:1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Dolby 5.1 / Stereo
  • Sound: Dolby Digital, stereo
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:47:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Rachel Roberts Mrs. Appleyard
Dominic Guard Michael Fitzhubert
Vivean Gray Miss Greta McGraw
Helen Morse Diane de Poitiers
Kirsty Child Dora Lumley
Jacki Weaver Minnie
Karen Robson Irma
Christine Schuler Edith Horton
Jenny Lovell
Janet Murray
Bridgette Phillips
John Fegan
Anne-Louise Lambert Miranda
Wyn Roberts Sgt. Bumpher
Tony Llewellyn-Jones Tom
Frank Gunnell Edward Whitehead
Jane Vallis Marion
Margaret Nelson Sara Wayboume
Ingrid Mason Rosamund
Barbara Lloyd Pupil
Kay Taylor Mrs. Bumpher
Garry McDonald Constable Jones
Martin Vaughan Ben Hussey
Peter Collingwood Colonel Fitzhubert
Olga Dickie Mrs. Fitzhubert
John Jarratt Albert Crundall
Technical Credits
Peter Weir Director
Russell Boyd Cinematographer
David Copping Art Director
Judith Dorsman Costumes/Costume Designer
Clifford Green Screenwriter
Max Lemon Editor
Patricia Lovell Executive Producer
Hal McElroy Producer
Jim McElroy Producer
John Seale Camera Operator
Bruce Smeaton Score Composer
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Scene Index

Chapters
0. Chapters
1. Logos/Opening credits [5:06]
2. Appleyard College, St. Valentine's Day 1900 [2:10]
3. No tomboy foolishness [2:14]
4. "Waiting a million years-just for us" [2:58]
5. Michael and Albert [2:38]
6. Broken heart [3:06]
7. "We shall only be gone a little while" [6:10]
8. The ugly old Rock [2:50]
9. Sara and the deer [4:11]
10. ."..the Right Time And Place" [3:33]
11. Something terrible [4:51]
12. "Quite intact" [2:37]
13. Miss McCraw, sans skirt [3:40]
14. The bloodhound [1:50]
15. Cold sweats [5:23]
16. Search party [2:20]
17. "I'm staying here" [2:10]
18. Paper trail [3:45]
19. Dirty lace [4:36]
20. News of Irma [1:48]
21. Only one [3:00]
22. Torn fingernails, no corset [3:04]
23. Plants that can move [1:55]
24. The lady circus rider [4:07]
25. "I feel sorry for them kids" [3:30]
26. "I remember...nothing" [2:45]
27. "She likes daisies best of all" [2:32]
28. "Tell us, Irma!" [2:34]
29. Giving notice [4:26]
30. The smell of pansies [2:53]
31. "Au revoir" [3:06]
32. Memento mori [3:23]
33. Closing credits [1:40]
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Menu

Main
Play The Movie
   Menu Group #1 with 33 chapter(s) covering 01:47:07
Theatrical Trailer
Color Bars
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    When Realities Collide

    It's Valentine's Day, 1900, at a typical Victorian school for girls. All (with the exception of the scientifically-minded Marian) are enraptured in the idea of St. Valentine, complete with handmade and store-bought cards with verses romantically read aloud. Even normally whiny Edith counts the number of cards received, laid out on her bed like the setup for a game of solitaire. There's a special breakfast, and another special treat: a picnic to a local park, with enough goodies for lunch and early tea! (Except for "charity pupil" Sara Waybourne, who's apparently banned from going because she doesn't "get" the headmistress's favorite poetry.) And, of course, they're going to have to write a geography theme on the place; can't have too much fun, you know.

    The rest of the flock, dressed in white and distinguished only by the style of their frocks, are loaded onto a covered carriage with the chaperons, sympathetic French teacher Mlle. de Poitiers and dry, reserved math/science teacher Miss McCraw (who begins to come to life as they approach the park with an emotionally charged description of the prehistoric origins of one particular rock formation in the park.), barrel through the dusty local town, and ride through some very un-Victorian wilderness.

    For this is Australia, and what happens on this fateful Sunday is a ripple in a pond that gradually becomes a tidal wave as consequences spread far and wide: four of the girls -- ethereal, enigmatic Miranda, with a strange premonition (telling roommate Sara she must begin to make other friends); the aforementioned Marion; Irma, a somewhat frivolous brunette in a multiflounced dress; and unwanted tagalong Edith -- get permission from Mlle. to go to the rock formation mentioned earlier, the prehistoric Hanging Rock. They are observed by Michael, picnicking there with his aunt and uncle. A few minutes later, Miss McCraw abruptly decides to follow them. Edith later returns, screaming that her classmates and teacher have gone up the rock and not come down. Multiple searches of the area prove futile, yet a few weeks later, Irma is found (in an area that had already been thoroughly searched), with a few scratches -- and no memory of her missing time. Parents begin pulling girls out of the school. At least one staff member gives notice. The headmistress slowly goes insane.

    By no means are these spoilers. Each detail of this synopsis has multiple layers and multiple questions. At the park, two watches lose time. Why? Back at the school, one student meets a horrible end. Suicide or murder? Irma's reappearance in particular brings more questions than answers, especially in one shocking scene at the school. An unexpected connection emerges between two separate characters. Miranda in particular felt "called" to go to the Rock. Is the Aboriginal idea of the Dreamtime coming into play here? Or is it something else altogether? Australia vs. the Victorian Era. Realities collide.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    THIS WAS PRETTY GOOD, A LITTLE WEIRD AND STRANGE, BUT WORTH IT.

    THIS WAS PRETTY GOOD, A LITTLE WEIRD AND STRANGE, BUT WORTH IT.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Barnes and Noble is Better Than Amazon.Com!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    During the Criterion sale I became a member of Barnes and Noble to get the additional 10% off and over the past two months I have been buying all kinds of stuff from them and have almost completely stopped buying from Amazon. B and N simply has better deals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A chilling mystery...

    This film is for fans of spooky films such as the original Haunting. (Not the remake) For many, the film will be slow to take an interest in, but the faithful watcher will be rewarded by an experience that will give you goosebumps even weeks after watching the film.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2003

    A HAUNTING, PROBING, FILM IMBUED WITH MAGICAL REALISM AND MYSTERIOUS HAPPENINGS

    PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK IS ONE OF TWO MOVIES I CHOOSE TO OWN. THE STORY SEEMS SIMPLE ENOUGH AT THE START ... A GROUP OF GIRLS FROM A FINANCIALLY STRAPPED PRIVATE SCHOOL GO ON A PICNIC TO HANGING ROCK. AS I SAID IT SEEMS SIMPLE AT THE START ... THEN, SLOWLY AND SEDUCTIVELY THE REAL STORY BEGINS TO UNFOLD EXPOSING EXPLOSIVE SEXUAL OVERTONES AMONG THE GIRLS AND THEIR CHAPERONES; THE GIRLS SEEM TO ENTER A NETHERWORLD OF SUPERNATURAL OR AT THE LEAST MSYTERIOUS EVENTS. VIEWERS ARE DRAWN INTO THE MORASS, IF THAT IS WHAT IT IS, AND ARE ASKED TO THINK! THE CHALLENGE FROM A MOVIE OF SUCH BEAUTY, OF SUCH IMPRESSIONISTIC IMAGES, AND SUCH SUBLTIES MUST TRANSCEND THE MUNDANE TO KEEP ONE AT THE EDGE OF HER SEAT WANTING TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE GIRLS, THE SCHOOL, THE TEACHERS, AND WHY HANGING ROCK IS CALLED BY THAT NAME. FILM LOVERS WHO ENJOY ART FILMS THAT CROSS INTO THE POPULAR CULTURE WILL FIND THIS AN ''EXPERIENCE'' WHICH TO THIS FILM BUFF IS WHAT GOING TO THE MOVIES IS ALL ABOUT. ENJOY!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2002

    For People Who Enjoy A Challenge

    As much as I love the book/movie, I can't recommend it to everyone because the movie is too unusual as a whole to be excepted by just anybody. You have to really enjoy a challenge to like this movie. What I like about it so much is that the clues do not add up and seem to have no connection. It's not just the mystery that intrigues me. It's the way the story seems to be more about how the once seemingly happygolucky community is turned upside down by the disappearances of the 3 girls and how certain individuals themselves try to deal. (Sara, Micheal, Ms. Appleyard, etc.) As I said, this movie is not for everyone but for those who like leaving their seats with more questions than answers, this movie's for you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews