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A Dream Within A Dream Film For Movie Buffs,
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This review is from: Picnic At Hanging Rock - Deluxe 3 Disc Edition  [DVD] (DVD)Originally released in 1975, this classic film has finally been restored as a Directors Cut. This 3 Disc set is an absolute delight for movie buffs everywhere.
Both versions are available on this set, the original version can be found on Disc 2. It is the slightly longer of the two versions, looks as though it was shot in soft focus which may enhance the haunting qualities of the film, is shown as a cropped 1:66 image; and has a Dolby Digital 2 Channel soundtrack.
On Disc 1 is the Directors Cut, 8 minutes shorter, with a much sharper print; shown in 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen and has a 5:1 or a 2:0 Audio soundtrack depending on which sound system the viewer is using.
On Disc 3 is a movie buff's dream of a treasure chest of extras. These extras(there are eight extras altogether which will keep fans and movie buffs busy for hours) are worth the price of this box set alone, for they are extremely revealing with loads of information about "The Making Of". . . . interviews with some of the cast, the director Peter Weir and the producer, and as an extra bonus, interviews with the beautiful Anne-Louise Lambert who portrays Miranda, one of the girls who goes missing. Indeed, it is her face which adorns the box set and I can say in all honesty, that Peter Weir's decision to give her the part of Miranda when it was originally set for another actress, was a master stroke.
The music score which enhances the mystical atmosphere of the film is provided by composer Bruce Smeaton, and the Flute De Pan played by Gheorghe Zamfir. This is one of the most haunting movie scores ever created.
For many years, many people who saw the film believed it to be based on a true story. This may be because of the credit at the beginning of the film which explains what happened one Valentine's Day when some school girls and a teacher went missing at Hanging Rock and were never seen again. Joan Lindsay who wrote the novel explained that it was up to the viewer to make up his or her own mind about whether it did actually happen. My own view is, it is purely fiction, but the mystery of what actually happened at Hanging Rock is a fascinating one and it is just a story, and a clever one at that.
Peter Weir's eye for detail is apparant here for there is one outstanding scene here which is one of the most haunting I have ever seen in a film. And that is the shot of the entire party sat around at the base of the rock itself, just resting in the shadows. Still like, eerie, it is a beautiful shot.
There is no doubt it is a masterpiece of Australian cinema and deserves to be amongst the all time greats of modern cinema.