Picks and Pans Review: Picnic
Showtime (Mon., Nov. 10, 8 p.m. ET)
No one can forget the movie, especially the chemistry between William (Best Chest of 1956) Holden and Kim (was anyone more beautiful?) Novak. This stage adaptation of William Inge's play, filmed at Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre, was produced by and stars Gregory (Trapper John, M.D.) Harrison. He plays Hal Carter, the sexy, mysterious drifter who arrives in a small Kansas town one hot Labor Day when everyone seems to be in heat. Taking on a role so identified with the charismatic Holden requires courage, and Harrison carries it off, making a smokier, more vulnerable outsider. Although Harrison has a great body, he's physically too lean; you can only wonder if they have optometrists in Kansas, as everyone keeps commenting on how beefy he is. The best reason for seeing the play is Jennifer (The Men's Club) Jason Leigh, who plays Madge, the teenage beauty queen who falls head over peau de soie pumps with Hal. You really believe Madge is being torn apart by her sexual awakenings. Michael Learned's performance as a marriage-hungry schoolteacher is uninspired, and Dana (Shoot the Moon) Hill, as Madge's kid sister, seems to be doing a Rodney Dangerfield impression (change her constant lament, "Madge is the pretty one!" to "I get no respect!" and you have the idea). The main problem with the play is its often forced dialogue and passions. Nevertheless, it's a picnic worth attending, bugs and all.
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