Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975, AUS) C-107m. *** D: Peter Weir. Starring Rachel Roberts, Vivean Gray, Helen Morse, Kirsty Child, Anne(-Louise) Lambert, Karen Robson, Jane Vallis. Australian cult director Peter Weir's second feature is an atmospheric mood-piece set in 1900, where a group of school girls make a day trip to Hanging Rock in the Australian wilderness. When all their watches stop at noon, they realize something eerie will happen… and indeed four of them disappear without a trace. Weir emphasizes the beauty and naiveté of innocence in this haunting film, making his actors pose like for paintings (recalling Ridley Scott's 1977 THE DUELLISTS). Excellent score by Bruce Smeaton includes pieces by Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, and an ethereal flute de pan by Gheorghe Zamfir Beautiful photography by Russell Boyd. Based on a novel by Joan Lindsay. The director followed this with the equally fascinating THE LAST WAVE (1978). Originally shown at 115m., re-edited by Weir to present length.


© Ron Altman