Picnic at Hanging Rock

Tagline : On St. Valentine's Day in 1900 a party of schoolgirls set out to picnic at Hanging Rock ... Some were never to return.

Runtime : 117 mins

Genre : Drama Mystery

Vote Rating : 7.2/10

Revenue : 84.7 thousand $ USD

Movie Website

Plot : In the early 1900s, Miranda attends a girls boarding school in Australia. One Valentine's Day, the school's typically strict headmistress treats the girls to a picnic field trip to an unusual but scenic volcanic formation called Hanging Rock. Despite rules against it, Miranda and several other girls venture off. It's not until the end of the day that the faculty realizes the girls and one of the teachers have disappeared mysteriously.

Cast Members


_**Several females suddenly go missing in southeast Australia in 1900**_ When the students & staff of a girl’s school outside Melbourne take an outing to Hanging Rock on Valentine’s Day in 1900, three girls and a teacher mysteriously go missing. What happened to them? Directed by Peter Weir and based on the 1967 novel by Joan Lindsay, “Picnic at Hanging Rock” (1975) is an artsy psychological mystery that seems timeless. The style is akin to movies like “Days of Heaven” (1978), “The Secret Garden” (1993) and “The Virgin Suicides” (1999). If you like those movies you’ll appreciate this one. While not as compelling as Weir’s future “Dead Poets Society” (1989), there are some obvious parallels. Both movies deal with prep schools that represent the curious constraints of civilization; you play the game to survive and the only way to escape is through some kind of exile. The first act is artistic, but rather dull with an increasing sense of foreboding. Things pick up during the haunting outing at Hanging Rock. Once the females go missing the movie becomes compelling because the viewer WANTS to know what happened. The fun of the movie is to speculate on the clues and come to a probable conclusion, as well as look for symbolic meaning. I should add that I own the “The Secret of Hanging Rock,” published in 1987, which contains Lindsay’s supposedly missing 18th chapter. I strongly believe this was a scam by the publisher to sell more books after the author’s death due to the increasing interest in the story via the movie’s international success. There is zero factual evidence of this apocryphal 'last chapter' containing the 'explanation' to the original book. Lindsay had repeatedly stated that she did NOT write any solution and purposefully left the story a mystery, fiercely advocating the open-endedness of her tale. It doesn’t help that this curiously brief ‘last chapter’ doesn’t fit the style & content of the original novel; it’s awkwardly blunt with its peculiar ‘explanation.’ Still, it is ONE of the possible answers and certainly adds to the interesting mystery. The film runs 1 hour, 47 minutes, with another version running about 8 minutes longer. It was shot at Hanging Rock in the state of Victoria, about a 50-minute drive northwest of Melbourne in southeast Australia; the Appleyard College sequences were shot at Martindale Hall near Mintaro in South Australia, about a 7-hour drive northwest of Hanging Rock. Other scenes were shot in the studio at Adelaide, which is about an hour drive south of Martindale Hall. GRADE: B

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