Picnic is a Technicolor romantic comedy-drama flick from 1955 that was shot in Cinemascope. Daniel Taradash adapted it for the screen from William Inge’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name from 1953. It grossed $6,300,000 in theatrical rentals in the United States and Canada and $9 million worldwide.
The film adaptation was directed by Joshua Logan, who also directed the original Broadway stage production. It stars William Holden, Kim Novak, and Rosalind Russell, with Susan Strasberg and Cliff Robertson in supporting parts. Picnic received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and won two of them.
The film depicts a day in the lives of a small Kansas community in the mid-twentieth century for 24 hours. It is centered on the Labor Day holiday. It’s the narrative of an outsider whose arrival disturbs and rearranges the lives of people who come into contact with him.
In September 1953, Columbia paid $350,000 for the play’s rights. William Holden was already 37 years old when he was cast in Picnic, making him too old for the character of Hal Carter, according to some. Regardless, Holden was ‘pleased to complete his Columbia Pictures contract with such a renowned movie,’ although the picture only paid him $30,000 instead of the $250,000 he would have made otherwise. The picnic was one of Kim Novak’s first cinematic roles, and it was this film that launched her career.
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