I love old black and white movies. This one, titled Picnic, is from 1955. This movie stars William Holden, Kim Novak, Cliff Robertson, Rosalind Russell, Verna Felton, and a very young Susan Strasberg. As much as I enjoy vintage classics, this movie was terribly corny.
This is the story of Hal, a ne'er-do-well, played by Holden, who breezes into town on a freight train in the hopes of landing a cushy job with the father of his old college buddy, Alan (Cliff Robertson). But when Holden stops along the way to earn some money doing odd jobs, every woman who sees him, seems to be attracted to him, including Madge (Kim Novak), Millie (Susan Strasberg), and amusingly, Rosemary (Rosalind Russell).
Madge is the town beauty queen, who is most likely planning to marry, the rich, good looking Alan, though she is attracted to Hal, who she doesn't have to pretend to be something she is not.
Everyone is getting ready for the Labor Day picnic. Madge's family is wondering if she will once again, be crowned Queen at the picnic.
I loved Verna Felton's character because she was so sweet. I, too, wanted to go into her kitchen for some cherry pie. She was a ray of sunshine in this movie, but not too sensible in the grand scheme of things.
There could have been a lot more editing of this movie. I am not sure how many times we needed to see babies crying and spitting, but I did enjoy all the nerds at the picnic. Those scenes were priceless if you love 1950s goofy shots, which I do.
I had a few other problems with this movie. I felt William Holden, at 37 (to me, he looked 45), was too old for this role opposite Kim Novak, who was supposed to be 19. It was obvious that Holden was older than Robertson, who was 30 at the time, and was supposed to have been Holden's college roommate. William Holden pulls it off though.
I really appreciated Rosalind Russell's protrayal of the school teacher/spinster, Rosemary, desperate for a husband or any man. I did feel bad that all the women in this movie that were under 50, were so very desperate for men. Rosalind Russell's lust for William Holden, though, was very entertaining. But on the night of the picnic when she had too much to drink and behaved so badly, you couldn't help but feel embarrassed for her and how pathetic her character had become. I would not have enjoyed this movie much at all, if it were not for the Rosemary character Russell played.
Susan Strasberg was a little too pretty to be the tom boy they wanted her to portray, but you knew she was going somewhere in life. Finally, one strong woman in the bunch.
I had a very difficult time with the thought of Madge ruining her life with the likes of Hal. I wanted to shake her! Come on, Girl, he came here on a freight train! I don't care how cute he is. He is going no where fast and will take you right down there with him! Don't listen to the 16 year old and the 70 year old that are telling you to follow your heart with Hal. Sure, you are as boring as a bag of rocks, but you are beautiful and can find someone that owns more than one shirt!
All that aside, this was an entertaining movie. Watching Rosalind Russell try to take a sip of liquor while driving in a car was pretty funny, as was most everything she did. She and Holden made this movie somewhat delightful.