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Picnic Dance Scene


I’m very grateful for the unorthodox movie education I got as a result of publishing Film Score Monthly, and producing our CDs.


From Star Trek, I discovered George Duning—and in seeking out any of his feature scores on CD, I discovered Picnic.


And in actually watching Picnic, I discovered the extraordinary dance scene, in which Duning’s gorgeous love theme is overlaid onto the old standard, “Moonglow.”

The sexual chemistry and heat between Kim Novak and William Holden is off the charts.


It probably doesn’t seem like much today, but if you understand the sexual repression of the period, this is like an orgy.


This scene was something of a cultural touchstone in the 1950s (I think?), but aside from some of our older collectors and hardcore cineastes today, I wonder who really knows it?


I learned a lot about the playwright of the underlying material, William Inge, when we released the Jerry Goldsmith score to The Stripper (based on Inge’s play, A Loss of Roses). I dove into research so that I actually had some context to write the liner notes.


When screenwriting, I steal from this stuff all the time. Like, all the time.


Not exactly, and not just for the sake of it, but because I’m trying to figure out what’s actually going on in the story I’m trying to tell—and typically, there’s a library of images, scenes and often musical moments that runs through my head.


Oftentimes the right one just pops up and I got, “Oh, we’re doing Picnic. So get them onto the dance floor, dummy.”


So I’m really grateful to have been exposed to so much wonderful material, particularly from time periods are that aren’t our own.


If you steal from the present, it can be pretty obvious. But when you steal from the past, just the nature of repurposing old content tends to reinvent it and disguise it.


I hope!

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