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Picnic at Hanging Rock [DVD] [1975]


Price: £16.98 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Picnic at Hanging Rock [DVD] [1975] + Gallipoli - Collectors Edition (1982) [DVD] [1981]
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Product details

  • Actors: Rachel Roberts, Anne-Louise Lambert, Vivean Gray, Helen Morse, Kirsty Child
  • Directors: Peter Weir
  • Writers: Cliff Green, Joan Lindsay
  • Producers: A. John Graves, Hal McElroy, Jim McElroy, Patricia Lovell
  • Format: PAL, Anamorphic, Widescreen, HiFi Sound, Colour
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Jun 2003
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009KOY6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,945 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Peter Weir's atmospheric film is based on actual events which have never been fully explained. On St Valentine's Day 1900, a group of Australian schoolgirls set out on a picnic. Two of the girls and one of the teachers mysteriously vanish, and even an extensive search turns up nothing.

From Amazon.co.uk

Situated somewhere between supernatural horror and lush Victorian melodrama, director Peter Weir's lyrical, enigmatic masterpiece is an imaginative tease. The setting is a proper turn-of-the century Australian boarding school for girls, a suffocating institution built on strict moral codes, repressed sexuality, and a subtle but enforced class structure. As the film opens, girls draped in immaculate white dress prepare for a picnic at the nearby volcanic formation, Hanging Rock, and Weir hangs an air of dark foreboding over the proceeding. "You'll have to love someone else, because I won't be here very long," says one virginal girl, Miranda, to her friend. Her words are prophetic: during the picnic, Miranda, along with two other girls and an uptight schoolmistress, vanish into the rocks. While a search party repeatedly returns to the rock to look for either the girls or the reasons for their disappearance, Weir leaves the mystery unsolved. Like Antonioni's L'Avventura, the vanishing is open to numerous interpretations--both rational and illusory--but Weir drops enough allegorical clues that it feels like a parable. He transforms the landscape and weather into menacing and eerie images; outlines of faces can be seen in the rocks, while the oppressive heat beating down on the picnic doubles as an atmospheric metaphor for the girls' unbearable social and sexual confinement. These images and other plot twists toward the end hint that this mysterious vanishing, on some level, was actually a form of spiritual escape--the only out, other than death, from the film's bleak, tightly structured community. Regardless of how you see it, though, this hypnotic puzzle remains the highlight of the '70s Australian New Wave. --Dave McCoy

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Dec 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This is a beautiful film, enchanting and haunting. I first saw this film in 1980 and although the images have stayed with me for 20 years the film still has the power to instil a strange sense of loss. We are told at the outset that some of those who set out for the picnic are never to return and the film does not attempt to solve the mystery although various clues are shared with us. The film could be a simple detective tale involving disappearing schoolgirls but the tone is set at the start of the film by Miranda (Anne Louise Lambert) who provides a voice over based on an Edgar Allan Poe poem, "What we see and what we seem are but a dream, a dream within a dream" The film concerns itself with the aftermath of the disappearance and the impact on those involved with the missing girls. It shows how an apparently idyllic way of life is not what it first seems, how this false paradise is fragile and how it is shattered by the breakdown of established order. Hysteria and tensions all surface revealing the claustrophobic atmosphere of the affluent Victorian European way of life in an alien land, and exposing the suppressed passions that are the reality of life. This theme is further expressed by the virginal white dresses the girls wear for the picnic, which seem out of place in this environment and represent the stifling restrictions placed on the young girls. The layers of corset and dresses the girls have to wear also mirror the film's many layers.
The cinematography is stunning being incredibly bright and sunny so that the film actively encourages you to feel the warmth of the sun. The film seduces you with the sounds of the Australian bush and the beauty of the girls, so that you will more feel a sense of the horror, as one of the girls, Edith (Christine Schuler), does.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 5 Mar 2006
Format: DVD
Sadly, like George Lucas before him, Peter Weir has replaced one beloved cut of the film that made his name, re-edited and (so it seems) determined to keep the original version under lock and key. Bad move.

Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of those films that should have been left alone, but unfortunately Peter Weir's considerably shorter director's cut does the film no real favors. The additions are minor - a redundant scene of a reporter photographing the school and a very brief but much better introduction to the scene where Albert (Wolf Creek's John Jarrett) tells Michael (Dominic Guard) his dream about his sister - but the deletions in the last third are fairly substantial and surprisingly damaging - most notably the entire section of Irma thanking Albert for finding her on the Rock, Michael's growing relationship with Irma, the church service, Albert and Michael talking at night, and Mrs Appleyard removing Sarah's belongings. Sadly, while it may make the film even more elliptical as is Weir's wont, it diminishes the film's resonance and your involvement with the already rather sketchy characters, so it's a pity that only the director's cut now exists in a restored version (even the Australian 2-disc DVD only includes the cut scenes as extras).

Unfortunately, a la George Lucas, the original version was almost impossible to find aside from an incredibly poor standards conversion videotape made from a poor print back in the mid-90s before the Australian film industry took film preservation seriously. The restoration may look and sound better than the film ever has before, but it's a sad trade-off for the much better film Weir originally made.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By james-Arundel VINE VOICE on 28 Jun 2006
Format: DVD
This landmark in Australian Cinema is certainly amongst my very favourite films. Ordinarily, I would score this film 5 stars, but as another reveiwer points out, key scenes, in my opinion vital to fleshing out the characters and plotlines, have been cut. Oddly, a totally irrelevant and superfluous scene of a reporter photographing the school has been inserted. Several scenes involving Michael, Irma, Albert and Mrs Appleyard have been edited out, and their loss is pointless and certainly diminishes the film as a whole.

My view is one of a languid, sensual dreamlike film, suffused with mystery, focusing on the reactions and feelings of the characters to the tragedy/mystery on the rock. To cut approximately six minutes from the film, is not to add to the mystery surrounding the girls disappearance, but to simply disrupt continuity, and to make scenes and developments seem unconnected and senseless, for example, the cutting of both the crash sound as sarah plummets through the conservatory roof, and the scene of Mrs Appleyard gathering her things together, the viewer could be understandably confused, and not connect the unrecognisable corpe amid the pansies with the vanished Sarah.

I for one will be digging my neglected video of this film out of my loft to watch in preference to this edit-fest of a dvd version.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lenina on 10 Aug 2004
Format: DVD
This, the Pathe release (and possibly others) on DVD, is a director's cut and is in my view spoilt. The removal of 7 minutes (or is it 14?) may well add to the intrigue, if that was the intention, but one cut - Irma's visit to Michael - was surely unnecessary and the loss of a beautifully atmospheric scene. For me the film was already too short - atmosphere is this film's great strength. It remains a great work of art however. Having seen the original (perhaps still available on VHS) I can only give this version 2 stars rather than 5 - a measure of the damage done for me. It's Peter Weir's film and of course he can do what he likes with it. I happen to think that the cuts, or at least some of them, were a mistake.
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