Picnic at Hanging Rock Limited Edition 4K UHD
4K UHD & Blu-ray: Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
Appleyard College is a Victorian young ladies’ college somewhere in Australia, the students are about to have a Valentines Day treat; a picnic at Hanging Rock. In their cream and white cotton dresses, these beautiful, spoilt girls stuff their faces under the watchful eyes of Miss McCraw and French teacher Mademoiselle de Poitiers. One of the girls, Sara has had to stay behind leaving her crush/obsession Miranda to go to the picnic.
The buggy driver sees his pocket watch has stopped at the stroke of 12, as has Miss McCraw’s. Time seems to stand still, and the girls lie and read, then fall asleep.
Classmates Miranda, Marion, Irma, and Edith decide to explore Hanging Rock and begin to climb in the heat, The group is watched crossing a creek by a young Englishman, Michael Fitzhubert, along with Albert, his friend and coachman for the Fitzhubert family.
The girls continue to climb and while they walk they remove their shoes and stockings. At the top of the rock the girls seem overcome and fall down to sleep, as the girls below on the ground do.
The girls awake, and as if in a trance, all except Edith move up into a crevice in the rocks and disappear. Witnessing this, Edith panics and runs down the rock in terror.
The party returns to the college very late and very upset, as the 3 girls are missing along with their maths teacher Miss McCraw.
Based on a 1967 novella by Joan Lindsay and directed by Peter Weir Picnic at Hanging Rock is a dream, in more ways than one.
The truly haunting Romanian panpipe piece Doina Sus Pe Culmea Dealulu by Romanian Gheorghe Zamfir gives the whole film this complete ‘other worldly’ feel throughout, and along with its age (1975) it’s more a NO gore-horror, you can’t even describe it as Gothic, there’s nothing else like it.
There’s hardly any story, and what’s there is slight – 4 women (3 in floaty dresses at the cusp of sexual awakening) disappear, one is found unconscious, she has no memory and the other girls turn against her because of this.
I’ve read different reviews of this film over the years, and they mostly concentrate on the landscape of Australia -the heat and the ‘burgeoning sexuality’ of the girls, but I find it more sinister than that, there is an undercurrent – and perhaps it’s just me – of horrific sexual violence by unknown assailants. Something bad has happened and not knowing what gives your imagination a run for its money.
This is the beauty of the film, YOU have to decide what happened to the missing girls.
As usual Second Sight do an amazing job of the whole package, from the beautiful box (just as gorgeous as The Nightingale) to the plethora of extras. The film itself has never looked as ethereally beautiful, my god you can feel that heat, and the sound of the pan pipes is – haunting, and filled with foreboding.
Lindsay wrote an ending to her novella ‘The Secret of Hanging Rock’ where the girls are overtaken by ‘a hole in space’ and are devoured by the rock itself after following Miss McCraw who has turned into a crab. Now I would love to see that ending! That is NOT an invite for a remake however, nope. Because this version will always be perfection, the film itself is trapped in rock, suspended in time, and those girls will never be found.
- A new Second Sight 4K restoration from the original camera negative supervised and approved by Director Peter Weir and Director of Photography Russell Boyd
- Dual format 4 disc set featuring 2 UHDs and 2 Blu-rays both with bonus features
- Includes restored versions of both Director’s Cut and original Theatrical Cut
- UHDs presented in HDR
- Audio Commentary by film academics Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Josh Nelson
- A Lovely Day for a Picnic: a new interview with Actor Karen Robson
- Finding the Light: a new interview with Cinematographer Russell Boyd
- Crashing Through Boundaries: a new interview Camera Operator John Seale
- Something Beyond Explanation: Thomas Caldwell on Picnic at Hanging Rock
- A Dream Within a Dream feature length documentary
- An interview with author Joan Lindsay
- A Recollection: Hanging Rock 1900
- Original long trailer
Limited Edition Contents
- Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Thinh Dinh
- Soft cover book with new essays by Daniel Bird, Kat Ellinger and Justine Smith, archive essay by Rebecca Harkins-Cross, Costume Gallery and features on the original marketing of the film and the new restoration
- The original novel with exclusive cover art by Thinh Dinh
- 6 collectors’ art cards
Released May 1st and available for pre-order.
Review by Tina from a disc kindly supplied by Second Sight Films via Aim Publicity.