Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975 film)

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The girls wander into Hanging Rock and vanish without a trace in this scene from Picnic at Hanging Rock...

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975 film)

Summary

In the early 1900s, at a girls' boarding school in Australia, the school's typically strict headmistress treats the girls to a picnic Valentine's Day field trip to an unusual but scenic volcanic formation called Hanging Rock. Despite rules against it, several 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.

Details

  • Release Date: 1975
  • Country/Language: Australia, English
  • Genres/Technical: Drama, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy
  • Setting: Gaslight, Australia
  • Runtime: 1 hr 55 min
  • Starring: Rachel Roberts, Anne-Louise Lambert, Vivean Gray
  • Director: Peter Weir
  • Writer: Joan Lindsay (novel), Cliff Green (screenplay)
  • Producer/Production Co: Australian Film Commission, The, British Empire Films Australia, McElroy & McElroy
  • View Trailer: (link)
  • TVTropes Page: (link)
  • IMDB Page: (link), (link)


Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: PG (parental guidance)

Mild adult content might be implied or suggested and parental guidance might be desirable for some younger audiences, though it's subtle enough that most young viewers probably wouldn't notice.

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • S____ (One Tentacle: Debateably Lovecraftian; has almost no direct connection to Lovecraft's work)

Not exactly a "Lovecraftian" film in the sense of being based on any of Lovecraft's work or containing references to his creations, though some viewers may find the location and atmosphere suggestive of Lovecraft's work (an "Eldritch Location" film, and perhaps one of the most influential and better-known and better-rated examples), though the ambiguous maybe-magic-maybe-mundane-maybe-science nature of the disappearance would not be incompatible with a "Lovecraftian" explanation.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.

Reviews

Review Links:

  • Keith Phipps at The Dissolve, (link) - "The cluttered, shadowy interiors of the school contrast with the open spaces and welcoming light of Hanging Rock, but the film makes neither feel like a safe place. Every moment feels designed to be unsettling, but the film also creates a sense of inevitability, that whatever is happening can’t be avoided, and should perhaps be embraced...."
  • Mookse and Gripes, (link) - "...Its ambiguity has a range of interpretations that allow our minds to roam from the mundane to the truly abhorrent.... The film isn’t really about any kind of solution. Rather, it’s about our desire for a solution, our discomfort when we come face to face with the fact we are not in control, that we might not know those around us, that the world is not as it seems...."


Synopsis

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

In the early 1900s, at a girls' boarding school in Australia, the school's typically strict headmistress treats the girls to a picnic Valentine's Day field trip to an unusual but scenic volcanic formation called Hanging Rock. Despite rules against it, several 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.


Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

  • According to legend, there was an explanation in the novel the film was based on, but the editor insisted on cutting the 12 pages of explanation out in favor of leaving the whole story ambiguous and mysterious. The explanation was apparently that

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)
the missing girls had been lead by a woman they don't recognize through a portal into another dimension or world

.


Associated Mythos Elements

  • TO DO

Keeper Notes

  • The basic premise (during a school outing in the Gaslight era, a girl goes missing without a trace in the Australian outback, with a hint of the supernatural, bizarre science time/space warps, or other weirdness being involved) might provide a basic plot hook for a scenario, though the film really provides little more than that and a keeper would need to fill in a lot of blanks to build a scenario from: a trip to the Dreamlands to rescue the girl, or a trail of evidence pointing to abduction by any of your favorite Lovecraft's tentacle-monsters, for example.