"Picnic at Hanging Rock" and false memory syndrome
"Picnic at Hanging Rock" is a Peter Weir film about the disappearance of three schoolgirls and a teacher while on an outing in 1900.
There's a creepy scene where the three schoolgirls silently walk up to the rock and disappear into a crevice. The teacher is shown staring up at the rock.
But many posters at IMDB vividly recall a scene where the teacher walks up to the rock on her own. And I can see it in my head too, though apparently it doesn't exist in any cut of the film.
A false memory created by the haunting atmosphere of the film?
I don't remember seeing a scene like that in this movie. All I saw was the girls disappearing into the crevice and one of them screaming and running down the hill. Such a creepy movie - there's no explanation for what may have happened to the three girls or why they did what they did.
awesome movie. i want to see it again now.
I'm not particularly mystical or superstitious, but there are scenes in that film that make me think Weir was channeling something bigger than he is.
R2, the entire film is on Youtube.
It is wonderfully creepy.
I was just talking about this sort of thing with regards to Rosemary's Baby - I've seen the movie dozens of times and it doesn't matter, I always expect a shot of the baby in the crib, I can even picture it in my head.
It's been more than 20 years since I've seen it but I'm sure I've seen that very scene you're talking about, OP. IIRR, a schoolgirl talks about seeing the teacher walking or running towards the rock in an agitated state and, she adds giggling, her hair was undone or she was in her underskirt or something. Now I'm pretty sure we actually see the teacher in a flashback as the girl recalls it. Or maybe it's another trick from the rock playing with our minds.
What I do remember for certain however is that the sight of the guy's ass as he climbed that rock gave me and my bf fantasy material for months afterwards.
This film gave me one the most bizzare experiences ever. I saw it as a child and years later thought it was a dream because the story was so strange but beautiful and I couldn't remember the ending, what happened with the girls. Then couple of years ago I saw the film on television and realized that wasn't a dream but a film that had an open ending.
I think it feels so magical and memorable because it keeps the mystery till the end. The music is also incredible.
It's one of my favourite films ever. I read some explanations about the meaning of the film and there are lot of clues towards sexual awakening of the girls but also hints at lesbianism among the girls and the teachers.
I just watched the whole damn thing, R4. I think they were abducted by aliens, that's what.
The French tutor may walk up to the rock, but IIRC the main teacher does not. I don't think she even goes on the picnic.
The book it's based on had a final chapter that offered an explanation but it was dropped...
Excised final chapter
Main article: The Secret of Hanging Rock
Lindsay's original draft of the novel included a final chapter in which the mystery was resolved. At her editor's suggestion, Lindsay removed it prior to publication. Chapter Eighteen, as it is known, was published posthumously in 1987 as The Secret of Hanging Rock by Angus & Robertson Publishing.
In this chapter, each of the girls begins to experience dizziness and feel as if they are "being pulled from the inside out"; they then throw their corsets from the top of the cliff, but instead of falling, the corsets stand still in mid-air. The girls then encounter what is described as "a hole in space", by which they physically enter a crack in the rock. The suspension of the corsets and description of the hole in space suggest that the girls perhaps encountered some sort of time warp, which is compatible with Lindsay's fascination with and emphasis on clocks and time in the novel.
"..a schoolgirl talks about seeing the teacher walking or running towards the rock in an agitated state and, she adds giggling, her hair was undone or she was in her underskirt or something."
The schoolgirl was chubby Edith, who was with the original group but ran down in fright when the others went into the crevice. Later she tells the policeman that the teacher was only wearing her 'drawers'. And no, we don't see the teacher in a flashback as the girl recalls it.
My mother and I both have an apparently false memory of Diabolique ending with a pan up to the windows of the school showing Christina either still alive or a ghost.
She rewatched it on cable recently and was flummoxed that the ending was different than she remembered it and told me and I recalled the same ending or somehow she put that memory in my mind and I rechecked both my old VHS of it and an MP4 I downloaded and they both end the same way but not with the ending we recall.
R13, which of the three films are you talking about? It could be that you are remembering a scene that was in one of the two American versions.
r14, I'm talking about the original in French, but I thought that was maybe the case, too, and even rewatched the ending of that ridiculous remake with Sharon Stone and that wasn't it, either. I didn't know there was a 3rd version.
There is a made for TV version from the 1970s. You might find it cross referenced on IMDB.
Why wasn't that blond girl a huge star? She never had any career that I know of, I can't even remember the actress's name, but I can remember her face so clearly and the fine performance she gave. Her baby dyke adore-er was very good too.
Saw it about 3 months ago and just about recognised Jacki Weaver from Silver Linings Playbook as one of the school staff. Awesome movie
It's a great movie. But it NOT a true story. Apparently there are people who think that it is. But there was never any disappearance of young nubile girls exploring the sinister Hanging Rock.
It's a good thing that "explanation" chapter wasn't in the book because it's REALLY stupid.
I think it's amazing that the OP managed to possess someone and type a thread opener even though she obviously has been brain dead for quite a while. A real Sixth Sense moment. I've got goosebumps!
Peter Weir never seems to make it on the list of "great unappreciated artists" but he really is.
Yeah, it was convincing as a true story and claimed to be one in the opening credits, but it wasn't.
[quote]There is a made for TV version from the 1970s.
"Diabolique" was remade for TV in 1974 as "Reflections of Murder", starring Sam Waterston, Tuesday Weld, & Joan Hackett. I don't remember the ending of either this version or the original movie, but I did think this was a very good job.
I've sworn for years that in the original "The Wizard of Oz", when the guard says, "You killed her...", all the guards break into "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead". When it's over, she asks for the withered broom and they give it to her.
Hear, hear, r21.
I live near hanging Rock. Before the film made it too well known it was a special place - not quite eerie, but it had an "other-worldly atmosphere". My bf and I had a picnic there, well, you sorta felt obleiged to do that.
Just the 2 of us. Lovely. Had fab sex on the top rock. When we returned to the car . . . the hub-caps were all missing!!! Spooky.
(these days it's dreadful. Over developed, souvenir shops, "special" footpaths all over the place. Sad)
In the TALK section of wikipedia people say it's based on the Beaumont children's disappearance. It's never been established what happened to the kids.
I wonder what that symbol in the book that the older teacher was reading meant. It seemed to align with the rock formation above her and soon after that, the girls disappeared. That old lady knew something was going to happen when they were in the carriage heading to Hanging Rock, but I still don't know what her deal was. This movie is so weird and mysterious.
Sorry... I meant " obliged ".
It musta been remembering the fab sex on the top of the rock !! (r26)
Miranda also seemed to have a premonition that she wasn't coming back. It's interesting that the rock rejected the worldly Irma and the whiny Edith to claim the three unworldly women - Miranda, Marion and Miss McGraw.
R27, I can't imagine why. There are no similarities.
R5, did you read John Saul books? There's a prominent reptilian baby in a crib featured on one of his book covers.
R13, what you are describing is the ending of Reflections of Murder which, as has been mentioned, was the TV version with Joan Hackett and Tuesday Weld.
It's easily the best of the three remakes (there's also a version set in New Orleans with Melissa Gilbert, as well as the Sharon Stone one).
R33, well, that's really weird because I'm sure I've never seen it. My mom may have, but that doesn't explain why I have the memory, too...Is it available on YouTube or the like?
[quote]But many posters at IMDB vividly recall a scene where the teacher walks up to the rock on her own. And I can see it in my head too, though apparently it doesn't exist in any cut of the film.
A scene was filmed in which the Headmistress (played by the late Rachel Roberts) does indeed walk up to the rock and passes by several huge boulders, however it was not included in the original film, and has still not been restored to it by Director Peter Weir.
Here you go r13/r34. I usually dislike remakes on principles, especially of my favorite films, but I have to admit this one is really good.
R27, I wish I hadn't read that wikipedia entry you linked to the story of the disappearance of the Beaumont children. Found it really disturbing.
I'm pretty sure there was a scene of the homely teacher in her undergarments walking up to the rock. I've got the DVD so I'll watch again to double check. Like her character in the film, actress Rachel Roberts took her own life in horrific fashion.
I didn't know that Rachel Roberts (the Headmistress) committed suicide horrifically, nor that she had been married to Rex Harrison. From wikipedia:
"She married firstly Alan Dobie (1955–1961), then Rex Harrison (1962–1971). Both marriages ended in divorce. Her alcoholism and depression increased after her divorce from Harrison. Devastated by their divorce, she moved to Hollywood in 1975 and tried to forget the relationship. In 1980, a final attempt to win Harrison back proved futile; and, impulsive and insecure, she committed suicide on 26 November 1980, at her home in Los Angeles.
It was reported that her death was a result of swallowing lye, alkali, or another unidentified caustic substance, as well as barbiturates and alcohol, as detailed in her posthumously published journals. The acidic effect of the poisonous agent was an immediate cause of death. Her body was found by her gardener on her kitchen floor, having fallen through a decorative glass divide between two rooms, lying amidst shards of glass. Her death was initially reported to be caused by a cardiac arrest. The coroner reported the cause of death as "swallowing a caustic substance" and, later, "acute barbiturate intoxication." It was ruled a suicide. She was 53 years old."
Boy, Rex Harrison sure left a path of destruction in his wake, didn't he? How many women in his life wound up dead of suicide or under mysterious circumstances?
So Rachel Roberts tragic end mirrored her character's in the movie.
In the movie, isn't Roberts' last seen just sitting in her office wearing funeral type attire when they find the dead girl's body?
Such a bizarre, hypnotic film.
You don't see the teacher running up the hill without her dress on but the image is so bizarre and vivid (why did she take her dress oiff, is there something sexual going on?) and creepy as is the moment when the girls disappear.
I stand corrected. I forgot about the final voiceover detailing Roberts' character's fate.
[quote]What I do remember for certain however is that the sight of the guy's ass as he climbed that rock gave me and my bf fantasy material for months afterwards.
The Australian guy or the British guy? Probably the British guy, Dominic Guard. He and his brother, Christopher Guard, both had a lot of appearances on British t.v. in the 1970's & 80's although I think they've left the acting profession now. Both made appearances in the original 'Doctor Who' in the '80's, and Christopher Guard is in the 1st episode of 'I, Claudius' as Livia's first murder victim, Marcellus.
Anyway, Dominic Guard, small & blond, was at his physical peak in 1975 and I assume the above post refers to the scene where he clambers up the Rock looking for the missing girls. He wore tight white pants the whole time, with lots of shots of his ass from Director Peter Weir.
I love the quote at the beginning. "All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream."
I also love it starting off that "Propaganda" album...
From the mid 80s..
Both are fascinating...
[quote]I love the quote at the beginning. "All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream."
It's at the beginning of John Carpenter's "The Fog", I like that quote too.
r38 me too, I'd never heard of it, and I'm totally freaked out and obsessed with what happened to those Beaumount children too.
There's a website dedicated to the Beaumont children's disappearance, with "possible suspects" on it.
It's totally awful.
I really hope that Bevan Spencer von Einem didn't torture them to death, but it sounds possible. :|
Neuroscientists would claim none of our memories are reliable, that they are all ever so slightly distorted every time we use them, so the more frequent the memory, likely the more distorted it is.
Interview with "Miranda", now in her 50's, linked below.
"Irma" is now an entertainment lawyer in LA.
"Edith" is married and studying theology.
True to the spirit of the film, "Sara" (Margaret Nelson), seems to have disappeared completely. None of her costars know what happened to her, not a single recent word of her on twitter.
Thank you, r45, yes I meant Dominic Guard the blond guy - though for a while I had my doubts (False Memory Syndrome Strikes Again) since I couldn't remember which of the two finds the girl. Also, the latent homoeroticism is so strong, not just among the girls but between the two guys, that it tends to blur my memory of who was hotter in that movie :)
Strangely enough, since others have mentioned it too, False Memory Syndrome had me conjuring up visions of the Headmistress walking up towards the Rock at night in the closing scene. It's a testament to the evocative power of that movie that so many things left unsaid or unshown seem to have existed in our minds.
Or maybe the whole film is a false memory syndrome and will disappear someday like the girls with no explanation. And then we'll find ourselves the only ones in the world swearing there WAS a movie called "Picnic At Hanging Rock"...
Picnic at Hanging Rock, INTERVIEW, Anne Louise Lambert
Just Where Did The Girls Go?
The film, shown in theaters in 1975 (and most recently in a revival this summer), is based on the novel by the late Joan Lindsay. During a picnic on St. Valentine's Day in 1900, a group of schoolgirls is hypnotically compelled by an unknown force to climb a rock formation in central Australia. Three of them and a chaperone who goes to look for them disappear without a trace.
The movie, both spooky and sexy, broke fresh ground in at least two respects. For one, it was the first internationally distributed representative of what was to become a noted school of filmmaking. ''There wasn't much of a theatrical film industry in Australia then,'' said Karen Robson who as a 17-year-old portrayed a picnicker named Irma in the film and is now an entertainment lawyer in New York. ''The fact that it just was a movie and not a glorified piece of television set it apart.''
In a riskier departure, the film dared to pose a mystery, and a riveting one at that, and then take leave without providing a resolution or even a suggestion as to what could have happened to the missing persons. ''Disappearance is to be neither dead or alive, so I thought it was an interesting area to take a film,'' Mr. Weir said this week on the telephone from Sydney. Caught by the seductive moodiness, audiences generally didn't seem to mind the lack of explanation.
The answer might have come from Irma, who at first vanishes with the others, but is later found in a trancelike state. When she revives, interrogators cluster around. She can't remember a thing.
Ms. Lindsay's book was supposedly based on a true story, but records reveal no such incident. ''Yet another red herring,'' Ms. Robson said with a laugh. ''Totally typical of the author of this book. She was a very playful woman.''
Is it on Netflix? Roku? Amazon? I'll watch it on YouTube, but I'd rather watch it on TV.
I think the 1998 DVD release is still available on Amazon. I ordered one not too long ago.
I am kind if certain that the time I saw poltergeist the "dragging" scene in the kitchen included the mother being dragged as well as carol Anne , then the mother invites the dad to try it but he won't. The version now ha s only Carol Anne being dragged.
I never could figure out what happened with the girl who died at the end. Was it suicide or did the headmistress kill her?
I haven't seen it in a few years, so maybe it would be more clear upon re watching. Or maybe that was intended to be as ambiguous as the disappearances?
This has always been one of my favorite movies. I even bought a limited edition book a while ago. It has amazing photos from the set I've never seen before. My favorites are the ones of the headmistress climbing the rock in a black dress with a black parasol and her hair wild and messy with this great look on her face. I still find this movie as one of the most mesmerizing I've ever seen.
R61, it was suicide, but you could conclude that the headmistress' actions drove her to it.
r63 then why were bodies never found?
Huh? Her (singular) body was found in the greenhouse.
You can catch Picnic At Hanging Rock November 4th on TCM.