Box art for Picnic


drama, romance

The effects of a handsome stranger on a small Kansas town.

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Audience Reviews

3 stars

"picnic" is william holden's attempt to flaunt that he could also be a romantic lead after his comeptent portrait of rugged veteran characters in various testicle-launched war flicks like "stalag 17" or "the bridge at toko-ri" or "the wild bunch"(in his older days)..this time he not only plays the romantic lead who captivates the prettiest girl in town but also a twenty-something fair lad who catches the covetous eye of everygirl within it in broadway-adapted "picnic" even holden was 37 then. "picnic" is another beatnik-sympathizer within the 50s since its protagonist is a hitchhiking highway vagabond who squanders his prime youth away in trivial hot-blooded fistfights and epicurean indulgences which earn him the niche of heroic figure in college, big football athlete who cannot accomplish schoolwork. now he's in the crossroad of life as he approaches 30, he's achieved nothing in life but some feeble applaud of notoriety among schoolmates, so he's seeking his wealthy college roommate with expectation to get a job of position in his friend's family enterprise. but what kind of catatonic aftermath would his arrival bring about to the rural midwest town? he makes a spectable of himself in the picnic then steals the heart of the beauty queen who happens to his friend's girl in town..everyone disintegrates to manifest his/her true self after the picnic which literily changes their lives. the play's one voice of rumination would be rosalind russell's old maid schoolteacher who publicly scolds holden as swaggering faker who pretends he's still young, a never-do-good loser who conceives himself as something unique. that remark shatters holden's proud machismo that arouses the pathos of kim novak's beauty queen. so they're struck by the arrow of cupid ever since. holden's shirt gets torn off by russell's character right after his refusal to dance with her while he's into the feverish binge of waltzing with kim novak. the old maid's infuriated by his neglect so she cuts loose her facade of feminine frigidity, pouring words of vehom to baffle him..and the torn shirt is holden's ideal vehicle to demonstrate his charm as the sexy thing women wanna vie for. so the old maid defeats the complacent hulk into pieces while she quits deceiving herself about the fact she's a lonely desperate wrtetched woman who wanna settle down with someone that leads to her proposal to her long-term boyfriend whom she dismisses as friend-boy. it lays bare of the emotional depth of a woman's concealed despair and rosalind russell's performances give great dimensions of humanity to the character's volcanic grudges as well as her sorrowful solitude. but it is unfair for the reviewers to consider her character something like harridan with misogynistic contempts. as for the crowd-pleasing union of holden's and novak's characters, it's merely a compliance to the trend of countercultural social movement to a minor degree by sanitizing the characters into a more acceptible level with redeeming graces. holden's character's a loser by social standard, whose naivete and lack of social commitment comtribute to his demeaned status within society. he deserves so since he's fooling around while others're paying their duties. now this sort of person is sympathized and rewarded with the prettiest girl who is willing to sacrifice the prime time of her youth on the road with him, wouldn't that be a biased leftist partiality? at the end, the beauty queen's nerdy sister even confides and encourages her that to elope with a handsome bum like holden would be the smartest thing she's ever done in her life, why would it be just because you cannot gratify your nymphmaniac wish to get into his trousers? personally i would prefer to call it the half-wit immature hypocrasy of bohemianism.

- dietmountaindew, Thursday, March 5, 2009

3 stars

Caught this on TV recently and found it to be overall mediocre, but enjoyable in spots. Kim Novak is breathtaking and Rosalind Russel is a hoot, as usual. Plot had holes and William Holden seemed a bit too old for the role. I think Paul Newman would have been a much better choice. I wasn't really crazy about the ending, but it was certainly realistic and one could easily predict what most likely came of the leads. Still, an intriguing slice of Americana, with similar appeal as State Fair.

- jakkijelene, Wednesday, January 26, 2011

4 stars

Roger Ebert had a reasoning for his 2 stars for this picture that does make sense to me. That being that the Novak character was disappointed that no one took the time to get to know her yet the basic attraction between her and the William Holden character is strictly superficial. If you choose to overlook this flaw in plot logic then you should find this to be a very sexy romance story. There is an undeniable chemistry between Holden and Novak. Visually the film is transient but very appealing to the eye. I recommend atleast one viewing.

- GeorgeBailey88, Tuesday, July 8, 2008