Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Picnic anyone?

It's Canada Day today. Many people will be going to pancake breakfasts or planning a BBQ or maybe even a picnic. Hmmm, if I could arrange a picnic for today it would have a theme. But it wouldn't be your usual red and white, maple leaf, national day theme. Nope. My theme would be that of mystery. Specifically, the mystery in this 1975 film by Peter Weir, Picnic at Hanging Rock (*see Criterion Collection's recent re-release).

I first saw this movie at my favourite rep theatre. It was the early 80s and my boyfriend and I (both working for Famous Players / CINEPLEX) watched a LOT of movies. Not many stayed with me like this one did - haunted me for years.

It's the mystery. The unaswered question behind the disappearance of the girls. Was it, as stated, based on a true event? So, I ordered the book the movie was based on, by Joan Lindsay, and waited weeks for it to arrive. Finally it was in my moist, sweaty palms and I read it ALL in one sitting! But guess what? It didn't really give a solution -- as the author states, "I will leave it to my readers to decide." WHhhhaaAT?! And so, occasionally, over the years, I would find myself at a library trying to research mysteries or disappearances at Hanging Rock in Victoria, Australia.

Today's research (thank you wikipedia) revealed there was a chapter to the novel that was not released until 1987! Following the author's specific wishes this final chapter was only released after her death. The chapter doesn't do too much to really solve the mystery tho. So we can all remain haunted.

You can read more about other people's 'research' efforts here and here and here.

Also worthy of note is Zamfir's theme music for the film which started the pan pipe craze of the late 70s.

And, finally, speaking of music, earlier this year a musical, yes, a musical version of Picnic at Hanging Rock, premiered at Weber State University.

What more could you ask for from a mystery themed picnic!?