A Day’s Pleasure with Charlie Chaplin

A Day’s Pleasure with Charlie Chaplin

Though sometimes titled Charlie’s Picnic, A Day’s Pleasure was meant to be ironic because the story is a series of misfortunes: seasickness, fistfights, and a return home that ends with a fight with traffic police in a drying pile of cement.  The final screen legend...
Edna Ferber’s Barbacoa Picnic

Edna Ferber’s Barbacoa Picnic

Giant is Ferber’s novel about how a Virginia belle, Leslie Lynnton, learns to be a Texan. Among her lessons is what to eat during a Texas-style picnic at her husband Reata,  Jordan’s ranch. At first, Leslie realizes that what she is looking at is “no ordinary picnic...
John Banville picnic in The Sea

John Banville picnic in The Sea

John Manville’s The Sea is about a man’s untrustworthy memories—less about his dying wife, and more about his sexual awakening when he was about eleven years old. Looking back, Max Morden realizes that his observations of the Grace family’s beach picnics “changed his...

   
Ron Howard’s Nerdish Picnic in A Beautiful Mind

Ron Howard’s Nerdish Picnic in A Beautiful Mind

Ron Howard’s fictional (and sentimental) A Beautiful Mind is a biography of John Nash, a Nobel Prize winning mathematician. If Nash ever picnicked, his (factual) biographer Sylvia Nasar doesn’t mention it. Undeterred, Howard invents a lovers’ picnic at which Nash...
Fish Fry Picnics in The Green Pastures

Fish Fry Picnics in The Green Pastures

Broadway audiences ignored issues of racial stereotyping in The Green Pastures, Marc Connelly’s dramatization of Roark Bradford’s Ol’ Man Adam. * How charming to see African American angels with white wings dressed in brightly colored robes preparing for their eternal...
The Marx Brothers’ Picnic in a Barn

The Marx Brothers’ Picnic in a Barn

The plot of Monkey Business is fluff. It begins with the Marx brothers hiding in kippered herring barrels on a transatlantic liner crossing to New York. The narrative ends in barn (whereabouts unknown) in which Groucho and Chico picnic in a hay pile. Zeppo Marx is in...
Two Spinsters on the Beach at St. Madoc

Two Spinsters on the Beach at St. Madoc

William J. Locke’s story “Ladies in Lavender” (1916) doesn’t have a picnic. Charles Dance thought better, an in his screenplay, includes at picnic on the beach in a cove on the coast of Cornwall. The story is simple. Ursula and Janet, spinster sisters, well on in...
West’s Cardboard Picnic on Lawn of Fiber

West’s Cardboard Picnic on Lawn of Fiber

The Day of the Locust may have been the best novel ever written about Hollywood, but Nathanael West and his publisher Random House miscalculated. They believed an acerbic satire of the film industry and it’s insidious confusion of illusion and reality would sell, but...
Foster’s Howards End  Garden Party

Foster’s Howards End Garden Party

The episode featuring Henry Wilcox’s garden party for his daughter’s wedding is central to E.M. Foster’s Howards End and James Ivory’s 1992 film because it reveals Edwardian hypocrisy and its predatory sexuality. It is a disaster when Henry Wilcox’s former mistress...