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 Post subject: Picnic at Hanging Rock
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:24 pm  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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If anyone can get the series on TV or one of the catchups like BBC I-player then the mini series ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ is well worth a look. It is based on the book by Joan Lindsay and set in a girls boarding school in Australia. It is beautifully filmed and uses Australian locations such as the mansion house at Labassa and Mandeville Hall in Melbourne, the local scenery is superb as are the period costumes and settings (1900) coupled with excellent acting. I have previously seen the film version a long time ago and was just as baffled by the goings on it this version, although it does take on a few new twists to the original story. :up

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:03 am  |  Posted from: Australia
  

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Thanks Horus. Odd idea that they can make money out of a series based on a movie that made little. Peter Weir made the movie which started his very successful career ending in Hollywood and was a period when Australian film climaxed - particularly with movies that were the opposite of what you would expect. Often understated, feminine (whatever that means) and introspective with outstanding cinematography and world standard production vales. That was a long time ago and the industry has had more than 2 decades of hard times. In Australia it was widely viewed often by people generally untuned to serious non-Hollywood movies - as were other related films - which makes me wonder whether general tastes nowadays are much lower/more conventional. Local interest was probably turned on by the novelty/patriotism of big image Australian films but that novelty caravan has long passed.

On a positive note several of the actors went on to successful, and very serious careers, including 2 Academy award nominations. Weir is widely known as an actor's director - and someone who could manage the impossible and awful Mel Gibson.

In the TV series the directors (3) seem nobodies doing a reproduction.

Three images of possible interest to you.

First the house used in the movie which is 700ks away from Hanging Rock - Martindale Hall. Built pretty much in the middle of nowhere in middle north South Australia near Clare Valley - famous for its excellent Riesling - and given to the state. He shipped out 50 tradesmen from the UK to do the building and they sailed back when finished. Now an increasingly marginal rainfall area so don't be deceived by the green lawn. Sophisticated architecture for mere quick rich farmers in 1880 and the dearth of skilled artisans. Very late for Georgian style and unlike most others of this period. Like many farmers who liked polo he went broke early - in the first drought.

I've been there and the ceilings are much higher than even British aristocratic houses - possibly because the summers in this area are severe.
Image

Hanging Rock - about an hour north by north west of Melbourne - sticks out on a broadly flat plain as a very distinctive geological anomaly in an area with other but different anomalies. Much larger and rugged that appears in this photo. A few scenes from the film were in and around the Rock.

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There was a recent escape from a demented woman's asylum - they all suffered from Hanging Rock Disease and assembled at Macedon in poor replica's of period costumes to satisfy their sad romantic needs that weren't being met at home/in a bar/on a dating site. A pity none went missing.

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If its any solace the book is even more perplexing/mysterious than the film and had little attention before the film.

With the TV series - if its Mandeville that's an upper class Catholic girls boarding and day school. If there are virtuous and intelligent girls there that will be a first. I doubt the TV series recruited from that horde. One of Prince Charles's mistresses went there but was universally regarded as a foolish, ugly, ambitious tramp. She subsequently became a Peeress of the Realm - thank god there is a place we can expel these people to.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:43 am  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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Hafiz wrote:
Odd idea that they can make money out of a series based on a movie that made little.

Strange thing to say. The film was a huge success, not only in Australia but worldwide.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:26 am  |  Posted from: Egypt
  

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The figures from IMDB.... 8)
Budget:AUD 440,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross: $6,953,633

Showing all 4 wins and 11 nominations
BAFTA Awards 1977
Winner
BAFTA Film Award Best Cinematography
Russell Boyd
Nominee
BAFTA Film Award Best Costume Design
Judith Dorsman
Best Sound Track
Greg Bell
Don Connolly

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA 1979
Winner
Saturn Award Best Cinematography
Russell Boyd
Nominee
Saturn Award Best Writing
Cliff Green

Australian Film Institute 1976
Nominee
AFI Award Best Film
Patricia Lovell
Hal McElroy
Jim McElroy
Best Direction
Peter Weir
Best Screenplay - Original or Adapted
Cliff Green
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Russell Boyd
Best Actress in a Lead Role
Helen Morse
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Tony Llewellyn-Jones
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Anne-Louise Lambert

Australian Writers' Guild 1976
Winner
Awgie Award Feature Film
Cliff Green

British Society of Cinematographers 1976
Nominee
Best Cinematography Award Russell Boyd

Taormina International Film Festival 1976
Winner
Golden Charybdis Peter Weir

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:23 pm  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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I forgot to mention it is available on Amazon Prime, here are a couple of clips
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:50 pm  |  Posted from: Australia
  

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Thanks. It had a select audience, won prizes but didn't make much money. The standard figures for films are - on the one hand - actual costs that have got to be paid. They then quote gross receipts from cinemas a small fraction of which goes back to the owners of the copyright/producers. I don't know the fractions but i assume the cinema owner and other middle men get 70-80%.

At the point of time when this film was made it made financial sense because we had a Hawass type of tax system for films and lots of rich barristers/surgeons tossed in money - most was lost but they had 'fun' and got tax 'losses'. In this period it was a standing joke that everyone lost money no matter how good the film in part that international audiences had yet to work out that Australian movies could be OK and producers to get smart about distribution arrangements. My guess is that it had a mass audience in Australia but a select audience in a small number of international locations. The success of later Australian movies built a much bigger international audience.

I seem to have hit a nerve on this film so lets be clear on my view. Its pretty, popular but vacuous - a bit like a few others at the time. It won lots of domestic awards but didn't have much competition. It won BAFTA but that's not so big. I'm not aware that it won any French or Italian awards (but one Sicilian) which, at that stage, still had heft. That it won cinematographic awards is no surprise - but the rest of the film was not so strong.

I saw it first time and still regard it as a bit silly and too pretty and with an 8th rate script - I mean the language not the plot. Even at the time people, including me, were a bit smug about it being a 'woman's film' - hence my photo above showing local lunatics in period dress.

A more drastic criticism is that it was about silly Anglophile elites which hardly fitted with how Australia operated in the 19th century. The author of the 'novel' Lindsay, and her knighted husband fitted into a fake authenticity about Australia that was fading as this film was made - but not for all. The idea that Aussie girls should be brought up to exhibit English Upper Middle Class behaviors was probably not widespread in the 19th century and collapsing in the 1970's.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:28 am  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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Hafiz wrote:
Thanks. It had a select audience, won prizes but didn't make much money. The standard figures for films are - on the one hand - actual costs that have got to be paid. They then quote gross receipts from cinemas a small fraction of which goes back to the owners of the copyright/producers. I don't know the fractions but i assume the cinema owner and other middle men get 70-80%.

Arithmetic not your strong point, Hafiz? Who2 supplied the budget and gross figures.

The rough rule of thumb is that taking into account the exhibitors cut and marketing, a film needs to gross around three times its budget to make a profit.

Picnic at Hanging Rock grossed over 21 times its budget.

I realise you don't care much for the film but the fact is that it was huge international commercial and critical success. Australia's first as far as I'm aware.
Hafiz wrote:
My guess is that it had a mass audience in Australia but a select audience in a small number of international locations.

No, it had a wide release outside Oz. I first saw it on its initial run in a fleapit in a provincial town in Scotland.

This one in fact, which at the time appears to have been showing a film featuring Hollywood star Yan O'Neal :lol:
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:54 am  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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Hafiz, are your criticisms aimed at the original film or the remake series that I posted about? I ask because you seem to be pretty down on what was a very well made mini series it was not a film and as such contained as much entertainment value as any other programme of a similar ilk. You also seem to be raising and stressing the authenticity of the films background whilst forgetting that it is essentially a surreal mystery and not a documentary or a travelogue about Australia, it is intended to leave the reader/viewer wondering what had really happened to the missing girls from a boarding school and exploring the reasons why? then allowing them to come to their own conclusions.

Joan Lindsay was well known for being a bit strange and had an obsession with ‘time’ indeed one solution for the missing girls as hinted at in her book is that they somehow entered another time zone, it is all woven around the mystery and the aboriginal traditions of the hanging rocks. I doubt very much if the average viewer thought it was a true representation of turn of the century Australia anymore than they would think that the equally excellent costume drama ‘Versailles’ was a true reflection of palace life under Louis XIV. If you want to criticise authenticity then look no further than your very own Mel Gibson, he not only distorts historical truths, he mangles it. I suggest you watch the latest mini series from the point of view of it being a costume drama and a mystery that could have been set just about anywhere else in the world with an equally dramatic rocky outcrop to base the story around.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:59 pm  |  Posted from: Egypt
  

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Being honest nice camera locations but a crap film..I preferred Skippy.... 8)

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:17 pm  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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Who2 wrote:
Being honest nice camera locations but a crap film..I preferred Skippy.... 8)


You mean that clever Kangaroo who makes a single “tsk, tsk” sound while chewing a twig that translates into:
“What’s that Skippy? Dads fallen down a cliff and is trapped on a small ledge with a broken leg and he can’t use his radio because the battery is flat”

Anyway I preferred ‘Whiplash’
“From Sydney to Camden and on to Gundagai, Whiplash, Whiplash” :hp

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:54 pm  |  Posted from: Australia
  

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Thanks. Haven't seen the TV series. Your summary of Lindsay and reaction to the 'mystery' is pretty close to my guess. I'm having difficulty describing my views on this film - at worst maybe they are an over-enthusiasn to pull down an ill earned fame when better others were ignored.

Maybe you are aware that Gibson is not at all popular in this country for a range of reasons including - overblown ego. poor acting skills, anti-Semitism, no contribution back to the industry that made him and an unhinged religious freak of a father from whom he appears to have acquired some characteristics. His Christ movie (which I think he directed) about 16 years ago was so grotesque/sado-machoistic I felt sick and walked out. His father would have loved it.

With Gibson - if you are referring to Weir's Gallipoli - there are not enough expletives for that film and how it twisted the truth for less than minimal dramatic/artistic effect. It appealed to the male version of those 'romantic' fools in the photograph above and kicked off public enthusiasm and 2.000 ANZAC books written by radio jocks and celebrities.

Farley Flowers. From my late teens I hunted out the declining species of old cinemas with big screens showing unusual/art/European films with awful seats and bad sound systems. I loved them. I'm guessing these crumbling hulks were a bit like the one you mention. Alas today and here there are none, with one or two exceptions, and everything is chained and thus showing a standard product. Even the high brow film festivals repel me with their strong ideologies and conformist choice of movies. Oddly its the same in publically funded art cinemas that very,very rarely show great Australian films from the 70's and 80's. Not even the publically funded TV stations show them


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:30 pm  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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I think we can agree on Mel Gibson, I find some of his films watchable, but sticking to facts is not one of his strong points. :urm:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:08 am  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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Hafiz wrote:
From my late teens I hunted out the declining species of old cinemas with big screens showing unusual/art/European films with awful seats and bad sound systems. I loved them. I'm guessing these crumbling hulks were a bit like the one you mention.

No, the cinema I mentioned was absolutely nothing like the ones you are describing. This was a first run cinema which only ever showed popular fare. It never in its life featured arthouse or European films.

The reason it screened Picnic at Hanging Rock was that the film had a wide international mainstream release - a fact that you seem determined to disbelieve.


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