Saturday, November 02, 2013

indelible moment: "Picnic" (1955)

Ah, the days when filmmakers had to be creative.

I'm not talking about cinematics but content. However, in this case, cinematics and content are irrevocably intertwined. In bringing William Inge's seminal play of longing to the screen (by way of Daniel Taradash's fine screenplay), director Joshua Logan faced the challenge of having the piece's star-crossed lovers - stumble-bum Hal and small-town queen Madge - be intimate with actually showing them engaging in sex.

He shrewdly solved the problem with a dance that has become an iconic screen moment, even though is lasts only a minute or so. Swooning and gyrating to "Moonglow" and "The Theme from 'Picnic,'" expertly intertwined by composer George Duning, stars William Holden and Kim Novak seem to be improvising their choreographed sex act.

But, in actuality, the dance was overseen by choreographer Miriam Nelson who, for some bizarre reason, was never credited.

Nevertheless, what she created in ... indelible.

Note in Passing: Turner Classic Movies will screen "Picnic" at 8 p.m. (est) on Wednesday, 1 September - in anticipation of Labor Day, aptly enough the backdrop of the film.


John Kaiser said...

I will watch for it. Been a Holden fan since I saw "Stalag 17".

jbryant said...

That is indeed an indelible moment, and the highlight of the film.

Tammy said...

I love this moment! And you aptly described it when you called it "a choreographed sex act." Great

joe baltake said...

John! You never saw "Picnic"? How can that be?

John Kaiser said...

I will rectify that on Wednesday.

I was going to rent it a while back when I was going through Holden movies, but it is only available in 1.33:1 instead of the original aspect ratio of 2.55:1 on DVD. Ever since learning about the cropping of movies for TV many years ago, I have come to detest and be distracted by movies that are not presented in the proper aspect ratio. Thank heavens that TMC has the respect for films that they show them as intended.