-

Jump to content



Photo
Blu-ray Reviews

Picnic Blu-ray Review



  • You cannot start a new topic
  • Please log in to reply
73 replies to this topic

#1 of 74 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

Richard Gallagher

    Producer

  • 3,080 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 09 2001
  • Real Name:Rich Gallagher
  • LocationFishkill, NY

Posted January 21 2012 - 07:19 PM

Willian Inge's Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play, Picnic, was successfully brought to the silver screen by Columbia Pictures in 1955. The film has now been released on a limited edition Blu-ray by Twilight Time, boasting a gorgeous transfer and a sumptuous soundtrack. Among the film's many outstanding attributes are a stellar cast, led by William Holden and Kim Novak, and superb direction by Joshua Logan (who also directed the Broadway show). Fans of Picnic will definitely want to obtain this wonderful Blu-ray presentation while it is still available.



http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


Picnic

Studio: Twilight Time/Columbia Pictures
Year: 1955
Rated: Not Rated
Program Length: 113 minutes                         Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1 1080p
Languages: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA; English 2.0 DTS-HD MA; Isolated Score Track
Subtitles: English SDH

The Program

Willian Inge's Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play, Picnic, was successfully brought to the silver screen by Columbia Pictures in 1955. The film has now been released on a limited edition Blu-ray by Twilight Time, boasting a gorgeous transfer and a sumptuous soundtrack. Among the film's many outstanding attributes are a stellar cast, led by William Holden and Kim Novak, and superb direction by Joshua Logan (who also directed the Broadway show). Fans of Picnic will definitely want to obtain this wonderful Blu-ray presentation while it is still available.

Hal Carter (William Holden) arrives in Salina, Kansas via freight train without a dime to his name. He hopes to improve his luck by looking up his former college roommate, Alan Benson (Cliff Robertson), whose father is the wealthy owner of grain elevators. After cleaning himself up in a stream, Hal wanders into the back yard of Helen Potts (Verna Felton), who provides him with breakfast in exchange for him doing some chores for her. It is Labor Day, and the entire town is gearing up for its annual picnic. Helen lives next door to Flo Owens (Betty Field), who has two daughters - Madge (Kim Novak), who is 19, and Millie (Susan Strasberg), who is still in school. The sisters have something of a sibling rivalry. Millie, who likes to read books and professes to have no interest in boys, is resentful of all the attention that her beautiful sister gets. Madge has for some time been dating Alan Benson, and her mother has been pushing her to marry him. Also living in the Owens house is a boarder, Rosemary Sydney (Rosalind Russell), a spinster schoolteacher who is going to the picnic with a local storekeeper, Howard Bevins (Arthur O'Connell, who played the same role on Broadway).

Hal's presence in Salina threatens to turn the town upside-down. Madge likes Alan, but it is clear that she has not fallen in love with him. She immediately finds herself attracted to the ruggedly handsome Hal, who has traveled around the country and appears to be full of self-confidence. Hal then makes his way to Alan's home, and initially his former college buddy is thrilled to see him. Alan takes Hal on a tour of the grain elevators and promises him a job. He then persuades Hal to attend the town picnic, and Hal agrees to escort Madge's sister, Millie. However, as day turns to evening it becomes increasingly apparent that Madge's interest in Alan has plateaued, setting the stage for an extended, sensuous scene of Hal and Madge dancing. The palpable passion exhibited by the pair stirs up raw emotions in all of the principal characters.

William Holden is perfectly cast as Hal, taking the role which was originated by Ralph Meeker on Broadway. Kim Novak is beautiful and turns in a fine performance as the conflicted Madge. Susan Strasberg, who was only 17 when the film was made, nearly steals every scene she is in. Cliff Robertson ably plays the part of the handsome but somewhat dull and unexciting Alan. Rosalind Russell turned down an Academy Award nomination for her superb performance as the aging schooteacher (check out the scene at the 48:42 mark where Rosemary ogles Hal from the waist down), and Arthur O'Connell is impressive as the fun-loving but befuddled storekeeper.

Picnic is beautifully filmed by James Wong Howe and boasts a wonderful musical score by George Duning. Duning combined his own theme music with a 1933 song, "Moonglow," and the film's medley of the two pieces has been recorded many times. There is a story that two old ladies are listening to the music in a diner. "Isn't that the theme from Picnic?" asks one of the ladies. "I don't know," her companion replies, "but every time I hear it I want to get laid." Director Joshua Logan also deserves a lot of credit for the innovative methods he uses to adapt the stage play to the sceen. Particularly impressive is a ten-minute montage of shots which perfectly captures the essence of a small-town midwestern holiday picnic.

This is a wonderful and memorable classic film which has been given a first-rate Blu-ray release.
The Video

The video presentation is astonishingly excellent. It is difficult to believe that this Technicolor film has ever looked better. The colors are vivid and stable, without oversaturation. The image is consistently sharp throughout, with no evidence of age-related damage. It appears to be properly framed at 2.55:1. Contrast is excellent and black levels are inky. There are any number of memorable shots in Picnic. One in particular shows Hal and Madge kissing in the moonlight as a freight train rumbles by, and another is the closing aerial shot by Haskell Wexler, cinematographer Wong's assistant at the time. As is typical of Sony/Columbia Blu-ray transfers, a proper level of film grain has been retained to give this a true film-like appearance. The authentic look of the film is enhanced by the fact that the exterior scenes were mostly shot on location in Kansas.

The Audio

The lossless 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack is the equal of the video presentation. The original sound mix reportedly was 4-track stereo. Here the viewer has two choices, including 2.0 DTS-HD MA. I prefer the 5.1 mix - the difference is notable from the very first scene of the freight train rumbling into Salina. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout and the soundtrack is free of hiss and noise. The musical soundtrack, which can also be heard on an isolated track, is given a wide and pleasing soundstage.

The Supplements

As is the case with other Twilight Time Blu-ray discs, the extras are limited. In addition to the isolated score track, this disc also includes a very clean original theatrical trailer. As promised, Twilight Time is now offering scene selection, and Picnic has been divided into 12 chapters.

The only other extra is the Twilight Time catalogue, which lists the DVDs and Blu-rays released thus far by the company. The next Blu-ray title on the schedule is another Columbia Pictures film which features Kim Novak, Pal Joey.

The Packaging

Picnic comes in a standard Blu-ray keep case. Included is an eight-page color insert which contains some interesting information about the making of the film.

The Final Analysis

Picnic is a classic film which has finally been given the Blu-ray treatment it deserves. As noted, this edition is limited to 3,000 copies and it can be ordered only at the Screen Archives website.

Equipment used for this review:

Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player
Panasonic Viera TC-P46G15 Plasma display, calibrated to THX specifications by Gregg Loewen
Yamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround Receiver
BIC Acoustech speakers
Interconnects: Monster Cable

Release Date: January 17, 2012


Rich Gallagher

#2 of 74 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

Adam Gregorich

    Executive Producer

  • 14,836 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 20 1999
  • LocationThe Other Washington

Posted January 21 2012 - 11:24 PM

Thanks for the great review Rich.  I am upgrading my DVD copy to this Blu-ray!



#3 of 74 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

Robert Crawford

    Moderator

  • 24,703 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 09 1998
  • Real Name:Robert
  • LocationMichigan

Posted January 21 2012 - 11:32 PM

I received my copy this past week along with one of the last copies of Fright Night.  I plan on watching it this week.







Crawdaddy


Crawdaddy

 

Blu-ray Preorder Schedule

 


#4 of 74 OFFLINE   Robin9

Robin9

    Screenwriter

  • 1,853 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 13 2006

Posted January 21 2012 - 11:48 PM

Thank you for your review. I know this is unlikely to sell out quickly but I'm glad I pre-ordered. I don't want to take any chance of missing Picnic in such good quality. Regarding the sound, If Sony and Twilight Time can produce such high quality sonics, I hope they also release The Eddy Duchin Story which has a glorious sound track.

#5 of 74 OFFLINE   Bob Cashill

Bob Cashill

    Screenwriter

  • 2,191 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 15 2001

Posted January 22 2012 - 01:06 AM

It's a beautiful disc. As for Russell, according to the IMDb re: her divisive performance: "Columbia Pictures wanted to promote Rosalind Russell for an Academy Award nomination, but the actress refused to be placed in the best supporting category. Many felt she would have won had she only cooperated."

#6 of 74 OFFLINE   Tom M

Tom M

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 216 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 06 1999

Posted January 22 2012 - 05:12 AM

The review fails to mention that the original Roadshow Overture is missing. Also, the running time listed is incorrect; 115 mins. is the running time WITH the Overture. The disc actually runs 113 mins. First Scrooge, now Picnic. Why? This needs looking into. If we are willing to just plain ignore the issue this will happen again. Twilight Time/Screen Archives needs to be contacted to find out what happened and for them to correct it, if possible. I suspect Twilight Time used the recent HD re-master done for the Kim Novak Collection DVD box set which also did not include Picnic's overture (meaning it isn't on the HD master). A simple mistake that could be easily corrected. Scrooge, on the other hand, is most likely an issue of accident or oversight. The Exit music is intact on Scrooge which likely means the Overture was as well. My guess is during mastering, someone just neglected to include the Overture. Unless someone contacts Paramount, we'll never know. Nor will Paramount and they won't have the opportunity to correct it. If a film has had an Overture, Intermission, Entr'Acte, and/or Exit Music created, they should be included in every home video release. Two missing Overtures in a row, so close to each other is setting a dangerous precedent, especially when the general reaction seems to be "It's just an Overture, who cares?" The fimmakers cared enough to create them. It's disrespectful to the film's history to suggest they aren't important.. That said, the Picnic Blu-Ray is indeed beautiful. I just hope future releases of older movies are better researched.
My crummy Deviant Art page. Read my epic poem The Pirate's Tale written in tribute to the Ozy & Millie comic strip.

http://cougartiger.deviantart.com/

#7 of 74 ONLINE   rsmithjr

rsmithjr

    Supporting Actor

  • 836 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 22 2011
  • Real Name:Robert Smith
  • LocationPalo Alto, CA

Posted January 22 2012 - 06:21 AM

The review fails to mention that the original Roadshow Overture is missing.

Yes, it is missing. I have it on the LD from Pioneer Special Editions. It is somewhat low-fi mono that sounds like it was taken from an optical track. I am not sure if the overture was ever used theatrically at all. I never heard of it being shown, nor was it ever in a hard-ticket engagement. The film is short enough that it would never have had an intermission. I saw it in the original release and projected it a few years later and have seen multiple 35mm prints. My own practice in these cases is to run the overture myself before watching the film. A bit awkward, but hey, I am still a projectionist at heart I suppose. Given the economics of the Twilight Time operation I can understand why they might not have made an effort to get this. Joe Caps would have useful information about this. Bob

#8 of 74 ONLINE   rsmithjr

rsmithjr

    Supporting Actor

  • 836 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 22 2011
  • Real Name:Robert Smith
  • LocationPalo Alto, CA

Posted January 22 2012 - 06:36 AM

Thanks for the review. I saw this film in original release and it made quite an impression. Each time I see it, my opinion of it increases. The film is about roles that are forced upon us, particularly gender-related roles. The things we are expected to do and will be ostracized if we don't do. Thankfully, the film says, we can learn to adjust or outright change our roles, or at least find more meaning in them. Technically: 1. This presentation is in CinemaScope 255. I don't think it has ever been seen at the correct aspect ratio. It was filmed just as the standard changed. 2. The picture has been beautifully restored, probably from the original negative. 3. The stereo soundtrack is a marvel. There has been some concern about this. Joe Caps told me that he had done his own remix for the LD, which is quite good, because they couldn't find the original. The Blu-ray sounds like an original mix, beautiful fidelity and directionality. Perhaps Joe Caps can shed some light on this. 4. As mentioned, the overture is missing. I am not sure if it was ever used theatrically so not sure how much of a loss it is in terms of the "just like theatrical" dictum. It provides a highly romanticized version of one of the themes, which contrasts with the main title's more jazzy and troubled rendition. The original had some grainy scenes. These appear to have been improved, I speculate that a bit of DNR was applied in a few places. I mention this not to be critical but because my view is that DNR can be used effectively. If anyone has more information, I would appreciate it. BTW: the haloing in the credits was an optical effect in the original prints and is not the result of manipulation.

#9 of 74 OFFLINE   Tom M

Tom M

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 216 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 06 1999

Posted January 22 2012 - 08:13 AM

Yes, it is missing. I have it on the LD from Pioneer Special Editions. It is somewhat low-fi mono that sounds like it was taken from an optical track. I am not sure if the overture was ever used theatrically at all. I never heard of it being shown, nor was it ever in a hard-ticket engagement. The film is short enough that it would never have had an intermission. I saw it in the original release and projected it a few years later and have seen multiple 35mm prints. My own practice in these cases is to run the overture myself before watching the film. A bit awkward, but hey, I am still a projectionist at heart I suppose. Given the economics of the Twilight Time operation I can understand why they might not have made an effort to get this. Joe Caps would have useful information about this. Bob

You need to check your LD as the Overture is in full stereo and sounds just as good as the rest of the LD, at least on my system. The Overture was not used in the general release but likely for the premiere and other such showings. Like you, I find ways to run the Overture if it's missing. In this case, once setup, all I just had to switch inputs on my receiver when the Overture was done. As for Twilight Time not making an effort, I am convinced they didn't even know about it. If they did, a simple text explanation in the booklet as to why it wasn't included would've been nice.
My crummy Deviant Art page. Read my epic poem The Pirate's Tale written in tribute to the Ozy & Millie comic strip.

http://cougartiger.deviantart.com/

#10 of 74 OFFLINE   TonyD

TonyD

    Who do we think I am?

  • 16,169 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 01 1999
  • Real Name:Tony D.
  • LocationDisney World and Universal Florida

Posted January 22 2012 - 09:57 AM

You mentioned in this review that the film is a "classic" I have a tough time accepting that. I understand this movie has a following and I'm sure the blu looks beautiful but a classic?
facebook.com/whotony

#11 of 74 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

Robert Crawford

    Moderator

  • 24,703 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 09 1998
  • Real Name:Robert
  • LocationMichigan

Posted January 22 2012 - 10:03 AM



Originally Posted by TonyD 

You mentioned in this review that the film is a "classic" I have a tough time accepting that.
I understand this movie has a following and I'm sure the blu looks beautiful but a classic?



To each his own, but I always thought of this film as a classic with six AA nominations including Best Picture and Director during the Golden era of filmmaking.






Crawdaddy



Crawdaddy

 

Blu-ray Preorder Schedule

 


#12 of 74 OFFLINE   Bob Cashill

Bob Cashill

    Screenwriter

  • 2,191 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 15 2001

Posted January 22 2012 - 12:00 PM

Crawdaddy FTW, as the kids say.

#13 of 74 ONLINE   rsmithjr

rsmithjr

    Supporting Actor

  • 836 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 22 2011
  • Real Name:Robert Smith
  • LocationPalo Alto, CA

Posted January 22 2012 - 12:38 PM

You mentioned in this review that the film is a "classic" I have a tough time accepting that. I understand this movie has a following and I'm sure the blu looks beautiful but a classic?

Picnic is very high on my all-time list. To me it is not a "guilty pleasure" or a "cult favorite", but rather a genuinely wonderful drama brought to the screen in very vibrant and believable terms. While it may be an artifact of its time and place (what isn't?), it transcends those limitations. I have a lot to say about this film and won't put all of it here. I also know other people with similar views. If it were to be more generally seen today, I think it would have a bigger following. Most of the other top films of 1955 are under-appreciated today. Best Picture nominees were: Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing Marty (which won) Mister Roberts Picnic The Rose Tattoo There are other fine films as well. Of these films, Picnic is my favorite. [The most famous 1955 film today is probably East of Eden with the iconic James Dean.] It is a shame that such fine classics are ignored and under-appreciated.

#14 of 74 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

Richard Gallagher

    Producer

  • 3,080 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 09 2001
  • Real Name:Rich Gallagher
  • LocationFishkill, NY

Posted January 22 2012 - 04:02 PM



Originally Posted by TonyD 

You mentioned in this review that the film is a "classic" I have a tough time accepting that.
I understand this movie has a following and I'm sure the blu looks beautiful but a classic?


I don't know that there is established criteria for what constitutes a "classic film," but as Crawdaddy has pointed out Picnic was nominated for six Academy Awards, including three of the major categories - Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor in a Supporting Role - and it would have been nominated for a fourth if Rosalind Russell hadn't objected to being in the "supporting" category. Joshua Logan also won the Golden Globe for Best Director.



Rich Gallagher

#15 of 74 ONLINE   rsmithjr

rsmithjr

    Supporting Actor

  • 836 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 22 2011
  • Real Name:Robert Smith
  • LocationPalo Alto, CA

Posted January 22 2012 - 04:17 PM

Picnic also won two Oscars, Editing and Art Direction (Color).

#16 of 74 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

Richard Gallagher

    Producer

  • 3,080 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 09 2001
  • Real Name:Rich Gallagher
  • LocationFishkill, NY

Posted January 22 2012 - 04:18 PM



Originally Posted by Tom M 

The review fails to mention that the original Roadshow Overture is missing. Also, the running time listed is incorrect; 115 mins. is the running time WITH the Overture. The disc actually runs 113 mins.


You are correct, and I have edited the review to show the correct running time. I was relying on the information provided by Twilight Time.


As for the overture, the booklet with the disc does not mention it. I suspect that Twilight Time had to use what it was given by Sony, but I sent an e-mail and asked if they would like to comment on it.


Rich Gallagher

#17 of 74 OFFLINE   TonyD

TonyD

    Who do we think I am?

  • 16,169 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 01 1999
  • Real Name:Tony D.
  • LocationDisney World and Universal Florida

Posted January 22 2012 - 04:22 PM

:laugh: I knew I'd get snockered after offering my feelings on the movie that's ok, I now you guys love the film.
facebook.com/whotony

#18 of 74 ONLINE   haineshisway

haineshisway

    Screenwriter

  • 2,294 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 26 2011
  • Real Name:Bruce
  • LocationLos Angeles

Posted January 22 2012 - 04:45 PM

I can comment on the overture situation. To correct all this misinformation: There was never an overture to Picnic. The overture on the laserdisc was created specifically by the ominously silent joecaps. It had nothing to do with any overture actually created for the film because the film at no time had an overture. The film had no roadshow engagements. It played exclusively for some weeks then went wide. So, there would be no reason whatsoever for Twilight Time to include an overture that was never part of Picnic and that was created specifically for the laserdisc - which was not the only example of that being done on a Pioneer laserdisc.

#19 of 74 OFFLINE   Joe Caps

Joe Caps

    Screenwriter

  • 1,933 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 10 2000

Posted January 23 2012 - 12:36 AM

this is the Ominously Silent Joecaps. I just saw this reveiw this morning. When wishing to puyt Picnic on Laserdisc, I wanted to restore the stereo soundk, which Columbia/Sony did not have. In such cases, it is routine for collectors prints to be called in when possible. On over fifteen prints, this Overture appeared on three different prints. None fo the prints was usable to pull the Overture as it is the beginnning of Reel One and beginning and endings of collectors prints can often be hell from over use. However, the music was recognizable as the very beginning of the soundtrack album. I had to ask permission of Sony legal to use the Decca cd for the Overture tracik. Sony legal said that had to confirm from their various clearance departments that the film had an Overture. Some weeks later, confirmation came through from Sony that indeed an Overture had been added later. probably to push an academy aard for the music. The Overture was ceratinly not something I made up. Others are right. The running time is correct only with the Overture included.

#20 of 74 OFFLINE   PaulMSchneider

PaulMSchneider

    Extra

  • 22 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 23 2012

Posted January 23 2012 - 02:05 AM

Thanks, Joe Caps, for that explanation. I'm curious about something that may have been discussed in other threads already. My apologies if it has. The Screen Archives price of $34.95 (before tax) plus $4.35 shipping is steep. Do they ever have sales? Is that a realistic expectation with a title like this? How has it been with previous "limited editions" via Twilight Time?





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Blu-ray Reviews

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users