John Banville’sThe Sea

John Banville’sThe 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...
Nathaniel West’s The Day of the Locust

Nathaniel West’s The Day of the Locust

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...
Ernest Hemingway’s The Garden of Eden

Ernest Hemingway’s The Garden of Eden

The Garden of Eden has two picnics; one is unpleasant and the other happy. They are key moments in the novel, but John Irvin’s film with a script by John Scott Linville omits them. Instead there are two outings at the beach neither of which is more than eye candy. For...
Picnic Clambake in Carousel

Picnic Clambake in Carousel

As everyone knows, a picnic is happy, and Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s “A Real Nice Clambake” celebrates the camaraderie and good spirits, while a the same time providing a recipe for the clambake: codfish chowder (with onions and ribbons of salt pork)...
Fontane’s Effi Briest

Fontane’s Effi Briest

Proving that picnics and love are a natural combination, the plot of Theodor Fontane’s Effi Briest hinges on a beach-picnic love affair. At first, it’s a recreational outing for Effi Briest, her husband, Geert von Innstettin, and a friend, Major von Crampas. But when...
James Bond’s Picnic

James Bond’s Picnic

There is a picnic in Terrence Young’s From Russia With Love (1963) but not in Ian Fleming’s novel. It’s inconsequential, shaken, but not stirred. Featured Image: Terrence Young. From Russia, With Love (1963). Screenplay by  Malbaum and Joanna Harwood based on Ian...
71/2 Cents Labor Day Picnic

71/2 Cents Labor Day Picnic

As proletarian novels go, Richard Bissell’s 7 ½ Cents (1953) is a light-hearted comedy about garment factory workers in Junction City, Iowa. Being in a small town is a shock to the new superintendent of the Sleep Tite Pajama Company, Sid Sorokin. Like Dorothy in the...
Picnic at Zodiac’s Knife Point

Picnic at Zodiac’s Knife Point

David Fincher’s Zodiac is an unfaithful adaptation of Robert Graysmith’s sometimes-fictionalized reportage Zodiac (1986) both of which attempt to unravel the Zodiac serial killings in the San Francisco Bay area during 1968-70. What is true, is that when Bryan Hartnell...
Jean Renoir’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe

Jean Renoir’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe

Renoir’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe [released in English as Picnic on the Grass] is a satiric jab at Huxley’s dystopian novel Brave New World and Greek myth. By contrasting two picnics, Renoir suggests that sexless scientific rationality is no match for inherent human...