A/N: On Wednesdays Nathaniel (The Film Experience) holds his Hit Me With the Best Shot Series where we watch a movie and choose our favourite shot. Last Wednesday was my Literary Theory final exam, and I came home so tired I had no energy to watch the film or write a lucid post. Apparently many people didn’t care to watch Picnic, and the film is dear to my heart, so I decided – better late than never.
Joshua Logan’s film adaptation of William Inge’s Picnic hasn’t endured well in the minds of the critics. This doesn’t surprise me. Like many of Inge’s works, particularly the stage to screen adaptations, have a certain focus on the zeitgeist and few are quite as steeped in that zeitgeist nature as much as Picnic. Still, it’s a film I happen to like a whole lot – it even appears in my list of 150 favourite films.
a few years ago).
The eponymous Picnic occurs for about a half of the film as the entire town make their way to the town Picnic for Labour Day. It’s been some time since I’d seen this and I’d forgotten all the way brief, but effective, ways Logan tries to “open” the film up by showing life in the small-town. For, admittedly, Picnicis very much a stage play – the entire play surrounds a group of interspersed characters reacting to each other. But, there’s a series of shots at the picnic that just work for me – curiously, all four of them with children.
When I say theatre things I don’t mean it as a pejorative, for my favourite things about Picnic are those “theatre” things. For, with the theatre, the opportunity to see all the actors at once is always a great effect of the stage compared to the film where shots with multiple performers is not as – I am reticent to say essential, but that is perhaps the best word. Thus, my two favourite shots are both ensemble shots.
The first is the entire lot assembled at Marge’s house as the two gents come to pick the ladies up.
My true favourite shot is this one, though.
So, late or not, I had to write about it.
(Head to Chez Nathaniel and read the entries.)