Picnic at Hanging Rock Movie

What's on this DVD.

The opening statement which makes the events appear to be true but, factually, they never did happen. There is no evidence at all to indicate the events of the movie actually took place.

The title.

The film opens with the girls getting up in the morning. The girls are getting valentine's day cards from the other girls.


Appleyard College.

The first mystery. Miranda tells Sarah not to love her since she, Miranda, 'will not be there much longer.' That could have a prosaic explanation in that she might be nearing the end of her education at the college. It could also have a more supernatural explanation in that Miranda feels something is going to happen to her soon.

There appears to be fifteen to twenty girls at the college.

Sarah is told that Mrs. Appleyard has decided Sarah cannot go on the picnic. No explanation is given for this decision.

I love the quality of photography in this movie.

Mrs. Appleyard who runs the school.

The carriage with the girls passes through the town.

The carriage driver points out Hanging Rock.

Not far away another group of people have their own outing. The young boy is Michael.Michael meets Albert who is obviously of a lower social standing than Michael. This can be told in their dress and their speech.

Miranda goes to open the gate. There's a suddenly flock of birds and the horses become excited.

The girls stop for some cake.

This is the part where Sara says she 'can't learn the lines to the poem and Mrs. Appleyard becomes angry.

The carriage driver notices that his watch has stopped. This introduces the element of something being wrong with the time near the Hanging Rock.

Miss Mc Craw's watch has also stopped at twelve.

Another, small group, of people is spotted. This includes Michael.

I like this shot. Soon Miranda, Marion and Irma says they want to explore a little. Edith joins them although she's not part of their in-group.

Miranda waves to the French teacher.

Albert and Michael see the girls. This will be the last time Miranda and Marion are seen alive.

Michael is attracted to Miranda.

Edith is in last place in the group and is the only one still wearing her hat.

The girls have removed their shoes and stockings and Edith wonders where they are going. They have removed their shoes and socks despite being warned about poisonous snakes and spiders. This seems a very odd decision on their part and could indicate they are no longer in control of their own bodies.

All four girls fall to sleep. Again, this is an odd action since a little earlier they had noted that they had been gone and it was time to return. The film goes on to show the math teacher reading a math book and looking up at the rock.

Miranda, Marion and Irma move on further up the rock while Edith remains behind, saying she feels 'awful' and wanting to know when they are going home. Edith tells them to come back and then she starts screaming although what is causing her to scream is hard to figure out.

She then starts running down to get back to the other girls. Interestingly enough this part of the film, from the start to Edith running down, takes almost the same amount of space as does the same part of the book, about 24%.

The carriage returns and a report of the missing girls and teacher is given. It's definitely downhill for Appleyard College from this point on. Sara waits on the steps for Miranda. The police begin their investigation.

One thing I haven't seen discussed is why Miss Mc Craw was also missing. The three girls were all young; Miss Mc Craw was old. What is the common factor between the girls and the teacher that brought them under the 'spell' of Hanging Rock? If personalities were the common factor than the French teacher would have been the most likely one to vanish and not the mathematician teacher.

The movie then moves on to the next day with a number of men exploring the rock and making as much noise as they could so the missing girls and teacher might hear them. The doctor gives a report Edith noting her legs were badly scratched and she was 'intact,' meaning no one had sex with her. Michael also gets interviewed by the polcieman.

Edith returns to the scene but still can remember nothing. Edith remembers a red cloud and seeing Miss Mc Craw who was no longer wearing her skirt. Bloodhounds are then brought in and a pool is checked out. Michael talks to Albert about what happened. Michael says he wants to go back to the Rock to do some searching on his own.

It gets late but Michael says he plans to stay on the Rock overnight.

An article about the disappearance in a local newspaper. (There have never been any articles at the time about any alleged disappearance in reality.)

Michael searches the rock and lays down. He seems to dream of the girls moving and talking, things he could not possibly have seen or heard. If that is what he is actually dreaming about then this means that he is somehow accessing the past.

The next day Albert searches and finds Michael whose in pretty bad shape. (Of course, Michael didn't think about bringing any food or water with him and he's definitely not a trained rock climber.)

Albert opens Michael's fist and finds a piece of cloth from a dress. He goes up to where Michael was and finds Irma, unconscious.

The film then focuses on the townspeople and how they are very upset and 'want something done about it.' (My own guess is that most of them thought the girls had been abducted and possibly really bad things done to them. )

Mrs. Appleyard addresses the students. (There are eleven students in the room. Counting Irma, Marion and Miranda is still means the school was quite small. Notice also the girls all have a school uniform on.)

Things continue to fall apart for Mrs. Appleyard. Within a week after the event she says three parents have said their daughters will not attend the school the following year.

The doctor notes that Irma's fingernails are torn which could possibly indicate she damaged them while digging her way out of a landslide. Her feet, though, were unmarked which is hard to figure out why they would be that way while the rest of her obviously had a tough time surviving.


Then, again, she was also out for days, without water or food as far as anyone could tell, and high temperatures so she should have died from that alone.

Mrs. Appleyard shows she is totally without any feeling as she confronts Sara on the fact that her fees have not yet been paid. She is banned from dancing and drawing lessons. Further, Mrs. Appleyard says that if the fees are not paid by Easter Sara will be sent away to some institution. 'The milk of human knidness' dried up in Mrs. Appleyard a long time ago. Lumley sees Sara a little later and implies that she is not right in her head.

The French teacher talks to Irma in a very emotional scene.

The second appearance of a swan. Swans stand for beauty and innocence among other things which would definitely fit Miranda.

The police poster. It's a reasonable assumption by that time that all three are dead. We then see the students leaving a church service.

You can see that Sara has a photo of Miranda on her makeup table. There is no doubt she had strong feelings for Miranda. The French teacher tries to comfort teacher. (The French teacher is about the only really nice person that works there.)

Irma returns for a short time but things go very, very wrong.

Further terrible treatment of Sara. (Why is she with the dancing group in the first place? Mrs. Appleyard had banned her from dance class.)

Mrs. Appleyard is staring to drink too much alcohol.

Mrs. Appleyard must have studied under Darh Vadar as she now confronts an already emotionally fragile girl that she will be returned to the orphanage. (Sara is only thirteen years old at the time.)

Albert talks to Michael about a dream he had about Sara. (Sara at this time was dead due to a suicide or possibly a murder. To appear to a loved one at such a tragic time is not at all unknown. There are many cases of someone who has died appearing to a loved one.)

Mrs. Appleyard talks to the French teacher and lies like a dog. She says Sara's guardian came that morning and took Sara away with him. No such thing happened. Appleyard tells more than one lie, too.

The students leave at the end of the term. Mrs. Appleyard and the French teacher have dinner together and it seems that Mrs. Appleyard may be somewhat drunk.

Sara's body is discovered. She was very depressed and could have jumped to her death. If Mrs. Appleyard had murdered her, as some people believe possible, then why would Mrs. Appleyard have left the body in a place where it would definitely have been discovered? Still, she lied about Sara's leaving the school so pretty much anything is possible.

It really seems that Mrs. Appleyard has gone completely around the bend. She's wearing morning clothes, possibly the same ones she wore when her husband died. Then there's a voice over saying Mrs. Appleyard's body was found at the base of Hanging Rock. Searches for the missing girls continued for a few years.

Back to start of Hanging Rock section

My Index Page