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Customer Review

on 17 June 2008
I experienced a keen sense of anticipation when I first read that this edition was going to be released (if that doesn't sound too nerdy!). I was a young teen when I first saw this film when it debuted on British tv. Perhaps it was because I was at an impressionable age what with the constant images of (largely) beautiful young ladies dressed in white against the dramatic and foreboding backdrop of a strange and alien landscape. Certainly the film made an impression that has stayed with me since.

The plot as such is that on a school valentines day outing in the year 1900 to Hanging Rock (in Australia), three pupils and a teacher mysteriously disappear. Search parties are organised and one pupil is found though she has no memory of what happened. Meanwhile the school and authorities have to try and deal with both their own sense of loss and the unwelcome attention this tragedy brings especially as there are no answers as to what happened.

The story outline though does not serve justice to the brooding presence of Hanging Rock itself - a natural rock formation that is filmed in such a way as to be as important as any of the characters and dominates over the entire film as a mysterious and malevalent landscape. The musical use of panpipes heightens this moodpiece.

This new edition on dvd is particularly welcome as, when I bought my current version dvd a few years ago, I had a memory of a couple of scenes that now seemed to be missing. I still had a VHS recording off the tv of the film so scanned through it and I was right - Michael's growing friendship with Irma, the rescued girl, had all but disappeared and (spoiler alert!) so had the scene whereby Mrs Appleyard went into Sara's room at night and took some things, suggestive as this was before it was discovered that Sara had killed herself! And of course in this set we have two versions - the original film and the edited Directors Cut. Having watched them both, the original (longer) version is still the better film (imo) although the print quality is not quite as good - though to be honest, neither film is pristine surprisingly.

The final icing on the cake though are the extras as my previous dvd had none (I don't count 'Scene Access' as a special feature even if the dvd case does!) These include a few interviews and featurettes but the main attaction is a near 2-hr Making Of which is quite informative, providing anecdotes and interviews on most aspects of the film and the actors. So what better reason do we need to own this extraordinary film.
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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