As you can see from the “Unboxing” pictures below, this Dual Format release from The Criterion Collection features the lovely ladies during their picnic at hanging rock. You have to admire the lighting and costume design for the film, and this image certainly serves as a fine cover for the release. On the reverse of the slip-box packaging you’ll find a plot synopsis for the film, a list of special features, and technical specifications. Inside of the case, Criterion was kind enough to include the original novel by Joan Lindsay from Penguin Books, as well as the digi-pack design for the single Blu-Ray disc and two DVD discs. The art design throughout the package is downright gorgeous, featuring iconic scenes and frames from the film. As always, Criterion has also included a glossy photo booklet with a wonderful essay by Megan Abbott. This is as good as it gets for fine cinema aficionados, and Criterion continues to prove that it’s the best in the business when it comes to incredibly well packaged home video releases.
This was my third time seeing Picnic at Hanging Rock over the last decade, having first experienced it during a Film Studies course in college. Though it’s not a movie one would necessarily revisit often, it remains a gorgeously shot exercise in local hysteria when a tragedy strikes, and one of Peter Weir’s finest films. The Blu-Ray edition from The Criterion Collection looks stunning in High Definition, with the gorgeous cinematography being a highlight on this release. Natural film grain is authentic, detail is clear and clean, and the color timing looks accurate. The audio is a standout as well, with the eerie piano score sounding very dynamic on this HD track. Once again, Criterion has loaded this dual format release with incredible special features, making this edition the “must own” version of the film. Picnic at Hanging Rock from The Criterion Collection comes highly recommended.
Picnic at Hanging Rock Organic Mechanic Los remodeladores The headmistress Mrs Appleyard Rachel Roberts warns the girls not to go exploring the rock and to watch out for venomous snakes and poisonous ants
Picnic at Hanging Rock continues to fascinate and appal; it repositions what poet Mary Fullerton called 'the rude and ruthless bush' as a mirror to a white Australia that barely acknowledges its own monstrosity. It shows how otherness can unravel the carefully articulated façade that mainstream Australia has erected as a bulwark against our own dark past. The need to retell this story, to constantly return to the rock and see what else we may find there, gives this adaptation an immediacy, even a contemporaneity, that is hard to resist.
The cast is individually strong – Nabben's Mrs Appleyard in particular dominates the stage – but most effective as a chorus. The long scene on the rock, snatches of perspective weaving together in dramatic crescendo, is narrative as incantation and utilises the tonal variation of the actors' voices brilliantly. There is a kind of elemental power to the girls, holding all the secrets, ultimately as silent as the grave.
This was my third time seeing Picnic at Hanging Rock over the last decade, having first experienced it during a Film Studies course in college. Though it’s not a movie one would necessarily revisit often, it remains a gorgeously shot exercise in local hysteria when a tragedy strikes. The dialogue is believable, and the lack of clear answers leaves the viewer to interpret their own conclusion. I’ve always found it interesting that the original novel had a “final” chapter that was excised before publishing that went more in depth with the near supernatural elements from the film.
Soon, the headmistress at the college, the local authorities, and the community are in a state of panic as they search for the missing girls, and rumors and theories begin to spread about the various possibilities. Were they murdered? Did the young men picnicking nearby have something do with their disappearance? Does the rock itself hold some mysterious power over the girls? The film provides few answers, but the focus on the mass hysteria and guilt-ridden accusations drive the story to its unsettling conclusion.
What follows are the hourly events leading up the disappearances on that tragic day, as we get to know the school girls, their relationships with one another, each of their quirks and personalities, before setting off on their school sanctioned day trip to Hanging Rock. The girls are warned about venomous snakes, poisonous ants, and the accidents that could occur if they go exploring on the cliffs themselves. During the horse drawn carriage ride there, the girls are given a history lesson on the rock, listening intently to their headmistress as she details its inception. Once there, a group of the girls ask their teacher if they can briefly explore, which she allows. The visuals and hypnotic imagery that follows throughout this sequence was rather brilliantly conceived by Director Weir, as we, the viewers, are left with very little to go on regarding the girls’ disappearance.
This Blu-Ray Dual Format edition from The Criterion Collection features an exquisite image that retains the sepia-gold color timing and authentic natural film grain. Colors are bold and sharp, and fine object detail, especially in the elaborate costume design on the girl’s wardrobes, is very clear and precise. The cinematography is simply stunning to behold, with beautiful scenic shots of the college courtyard, hanging rock, and the surrounding woodlands. Scratches, debris, and other anomalies are hard to find, this is a very clean print!
I do not laugh at your oaths nor jeer you;)
The President holding a cabinet council is surrounded by the great
On the piazza walk three matrons stately and friendly with twined arms,
The crew of the fish-smack pack repeated layers of halibut in the hold,
The Missourian crosses the plains toting his wares and his cattle,
As the fare-collector goes through the train he gives notice by the
jingling of loose change,
The floor-men are laying the floor, the tinners are tinning the
roof, the masons are calling for mortar,
In single file each shouldering his hod pass onward the laborers;
Seasons pursuing each other the indescribable crowd is gather'd, it
is the fourth of Seventh-month, (what salutes of cannon and small arms!)
Seasons pursuing each other the plougher ploughs, the mower mows,
and the winter-grain falls in the ground;
Off on the lakes the pike-fisher watches and waits by the hole in
the frozen surface,
The stumps stand thick round the clearing, the squatter strikes deep
with his axe,
Flatboatmen make fast towards dusk near the cotton-wood or pecan-trees,
Coon-seekers go through the regions of the Red river or through
those drain'd by the Tennessee, or through those of the Arkansas,
Torches shine in the dark that hangs on the Chattahooche or Altamahaw,
Patriarchs sit at supper with sons and grandsons and great-grandsons
In walls of adobie, in canvas tents, rest hunters and trappers after
their day's sport,
The city sleeps and the country sleeps,
The living sleep for their time, the dead sleep for their time,
The old husband sleeps by his wife and the young husband sleeps by his wife;
And these tend inward to me, and I tend outward to them,
And such as it is to be of these more or less I am,
And of these one and all I weave the song of myself.
Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock begins with an opening title scroll that presents the viewer with the morbid premise of a tale that will soon unravel. On St. Valentine’s Day in the year 1900, a group of schoolgirls from Appleyard College went on a picnic at Hanging Rock near Mount Macedon in the state of Victoria. During their afternoon visit, several members of the party disappeared without a trace.