Comparison between the international theatrical version (included on Koch Media's German bonus DVD and various German VHS editions) and the Australian theatrical version (included on Second Sight's UK Blu-ray/4K UHD).
- 17 cuts
- Difference: 225 sec (= 3:45 min) [in PAL speed].
Three versions of PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK
With Picnic at Hanging Rock, Peter Weir directed a fascinating cult film in 1975 that cannot really be clearly narrowed down to any specific genre. The mysterious disappearance of four schoolgirls serves only as a hook for a beautiful series of images with an atmospheric score and countless hints - without offering a concrete resolution. David Lynch has certainly copied a trick or two for Twin Peaks.
Since the 90s, the Director's Cut is common on various DVDs and Blu-rays, which in this case is over 8 minutes shorter (report). Only as a SD/DVD bonus, the German Blu-ray collector's edition from Koch Media and the 2008 British Deluxe Edition DVD from Second Sight still had the international theatrical version on board.
On May 01, 2023 (alongside appropriately remastered Blu-rays), the worldwide 4K premiere has been released in the UK. Director Peter Weir has signed off on the new HDR treatment for this release. In addition to the Director's Cut, a theatrical version is also included for the first time in (U)HD - and here there's a bit of a surprise. The film is about 4 minutes longer than the international theatrical version and thus even almost 12 minutes longer than the Director's Cut included on disc 1.
We therefore went back to the international theatrical version, which is only available on DVD/VHS. The Director's Cut was obviously further shortened on the basis of the international theatrical version, because almost all of the passages missing there compared to the "new" theatrical version of Second Sight are conspicuously absent in the DC as well. The present comparison therefore compares the (presumably) theatrical releases of the time. For the additional cuts in the Director's Cut, please refer to the corresponding report.
The Australian theatrical version on Second Sight's Blu-ray/4K UHD
Presumably, the version of Second Sight is the Australian theatrical version. As with e.g. Crocodile Dundee (or Lion in somewhat different form due to the later release of the longer Australian version), the Australian production was probably somewhat trimmed for international release. While the later trims for the Director's Cut were somewhat more specific in reducing certain characters/plotlines, no such clear theme is discernible here. Predominantly it is probably a matter of pure tightening cuts, without getting rid of moments relevant for plot development.
The difference between the international and Australian theatrical versions is thus comparatively small. Whether one prefers the crisper DC or the somewhat sprawling (Australian) theatrical version is ultimately a matter of taste. Those who enjoyed the quiet and fantastically staged film will most likely be happy to see the longer theatrical version of Second Sight. However, the color grading of both 4K-restored versions of Second Sight was once again discussed critically, see e.g. the thread on Blu-ray.com or Hometheaterforum (Robert Harris). We also have a few comparison screenshots in the report. Overall, the picture quality is a welcome improvement and there is once again a lush package of bonus material for the fan.
It is interesting to note that there is also an alternative ending with Mrs. Appleyard in the form of preserved outtakes, which was inserted in this YouTube fan cut between the two scenes shortly before the end credits. However, the footage is not enjoyable like this on any of the known releases over the years - and it is not included in the Australian theatrical version or included in the bonus material of Second Sight. The IMDb also mentions another version, probably available in Japan, that fades to a shot of Hanging Rock to the fog at the end, similar to the beginning of the film. However, the Australian theatrical version doesn't have that either.
The official film versions summarized again:
1) Australian theatrical version - 119 min (~ 120 min with restoration notes before and after the film)
Disc 2 of Second Sight's 2023 Blu-ray/4K UK release, new 4K restoration. No old releases known, but possibly this version was also included on Australian VHS editions.
2) International theatrical version - 115 min (equivalent to 110 min in PAL/25fps on the German/UK DVD)
Streamlining cuts based on version #1. Was in common use on VHS in Europe and presumably the U.S., and included as a bonus in SD quality on the UK 2008 Deluxe Edition DVD and the German Blu-ray collector's edition.
3) Director's Cut - 107 min (equivalent to 103 min in PAL/25fps on the German/UK DVD)
First shown on the US DVD by Criterion in 1998. Based on version #2, the film has been shortened in some plot elements. Most widely distributed on DVDs/Blu-rays worldwide and usually seen on TV.
Running time details are arranged according to the scheme
International theatrical version in 25fps / Australian theatrical version Blu-ray
Second Sight still has a restoration note of around 20 sec to start with, explaining the additional running time difference (not included in cut duration/amount). The introductory text panel of the film is then a bit smaller than on the German DVD. We also added two comparison images from the rest of the film here, which highlight the rather questionable yellow tint of the 4K restoration quite well. At least the visible area of the image is a bit larger and as you can see in the rest of the report with screenshots fir the exclusive moments, this tint is at least not consistently overdone as strongly as in the moments shown here.
08:03 / 08:46-08:53
After Mrs. Appleyard has put aside her pen inside, you see the girls outside a little earlier.
Almost not audible, but according to the subtitles you can hear: "Going to have to do that for us today."
09:47 / 10:42-10:52
Mrs. Appleyard watches the girls a little longer as they walk to the horse carriage.
12:56 / 14:09-14:13
A shot with Albert starts (basically insignificantly) earlier.
16:20 / 17:45-18:08
After the shot of the cake, you see a long tracking shot of Mrs. Appleyard walking up the stairs, with the camera slowly moving up. When she reaches the top floor, the international theatrical version kicks in with the rest of the shot.
The scene immediately after this is another good example of the significantly improved picture quality with the 4K restoration, even with the yellow tint. The part on the right of the image, that was drowning in black tones on previous releases, can now be seen much better. In addition, the visible area of the image here is not only larger, but also slightly shifted: The DVD showed a bit more at the bottom, but the 4K restoration now has significantly more at the top. The painting that can now be seen in its entirety clearly indicates that this is most likely how this shot should actually look like.
In addition, here the same moment from a German VHS. The 4:3 image was open matte and basically shows the same, larger image section as the Second Sight master - only additionally opened at the top and bottom. However, the VHS is also way too dark and naturally cannot keep up in terms of quality today.
20:04 / 22:02-22:09
Mr. Hussey is still smoking his cigarillo.
As he does so, Irma can be heard whispering softly, "You know what, Mam'selle? I'd like to go to Paris, with you."
Mam'selle de Poitiers then says briefly, "No, no, no."
24:15 / 26:31-26:42
Albert still stands around a bit irritated and reaches for his coat. Another shot of the forest follows.
Note: The Director's Cut at least shows a brief moment of the shot of Albert at this point.
34:58 / 37:53-38:05
Mrs. Appleyard takes another step forward at the end of the close-up and then sits down thoughtfully at the table. She looks at a leaf.
37:56 / 41:13-41:15
A shot of Mrs. Appleyard starts a little earlier and she thus looks down for a longer time first.
39:39 / 43:00-43:05
The search party walks around in two additional shots.
39:54 / 43:20-43:23
Sgt. Bumpher is seen again, as well as the search party.
41:11 / 44:43-45:01
Mam'selle de Poitiers walks around with a worried look on her face.
Doctor McKenzie reassures her: "I do hope you don't blame yourself. After all, no one can be held responsible for the pranks of destiny. And besides, it may well turn out to be a storm in a teacup."
Edith is then briefly seen lying in bed.
43:26 / 47:22-47:51
Michael still says: "They made no sign. But Albert did whistle at them."
Cut to Sergeant Bumpher.
The following scene begins a bit earlier and, while Bumpher is walking around thoughtfully, Mam'selle de Poitiers asks: "Which way now, Edith?"
Edith: "I don't know. It all looks the same. I was frightened. I don't know why."
Mam'selle de Poitiers: "Think, chérie. You have been doing very well so far."
Edith: "I was tired. I wanted to go back."
72:23 / 78:03-78:21
Tom hums a bit more of the song: "The north wind brings me no rest--"
Then he mumbles to himself: "Any number of unsolved murders there are."
80:58 / 87:18-87:26
The police officers walk around in an additional shot and someone comments off-camera: "This is the local police."
91:40 / 98:36-99:11
The photographer lets his apparatus rattle a little more. The women walk away, whereupon Mrs. McCraw complains a little.
Mrs. McCraw: "Send that reporter packing. Girls, girls, get inside at once!"
The follow-up shot of Sara inside then starts a little earlier.
This scene was actually included in the Director's Cut.
100:13 / 108:06-108:18
Another wide shot outside, then the dialogue between Albert and John begins a little earlier.
Albert: "You still thinking about that bloody rock?"
John: "I can't help it. It comes back at night in dreams."
107:21 / 115:44-116:13
The final tracking shot begins much earlier in the Australian theatrical version. The (identical) offscreen comment already ends during these seconds, while in the international theatrical version it still runs over the part of the shot that is included again afterwards.
110:26-110:40 / 119:26-120:13
After the identical credits, the German DVD has another production note, while the Second Sight has some restoration credits instead. Not included in cut duration/quantity.
British Blu-ray 33 sec longer