Summertime (The Criterion Collection)
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An American spinster's dream of romance finally becomes a bittersweet reality when she meets a handsome-but married-Italian man while vacationing in Venice. Katharine Hepburn's sensitive portrayal of the lonely heroine and Jack Hildyard's glorious Technicolor® photography make Summertime an endearing and visually enchanting film.
There was a time before Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago when David Lean made smaller, more effortlessly picturesque movies, and this splendid Venetian travelogue and love story is one of them--the last, actually, before the epic onslaught started with the Oscar-winning The Bridge on the River Kwai in 1957. "Sometimes I think a schedule in Venice is just, well, all wrong," observes a bewitched tourist to Katharine Hepburn's vacationing spinster near the beginning of Summertime, which is based on Arthur Laurents's play The Time of the Cuckoo. Before the end, however, Jane will have thrown her idealized romantic notions into the canals and embarked on a passionate affair with a married art dealer (Rossano Brazzi). More blissful than Lean's adulterous fable Brief Encounter 10 years prior, but not entirely guilt- or pain-free, this deceptively simple romance is an often-fascinating glimpse at a time when sexual revolution for Americans--and especially middle-aged women--was confined to fanciful European trysts. Plus, with all the architecture, art, Italian conversation, music, and fine cuisine around you (all richly photographed on location by Jack Hildyard), who's to pish-posh a furtive all-nighter between one repressive country and a free-loving one? The two leads are graceful and even musical in their movements and line deliveries. Hepburn's initial outrage at the idea that illicit love is part of her impossibly beautiful surroundings may at first seem outdated, but the Academy Award-winning actress is too good not to suggest as well the poignant, deep fear her character has of opening up emotionally to anybody. Ultimately, Summertime is the movie equivalent of a deep, satisfying sigh. --Robert Abele
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Top Customer Reviews
The score helps a great deal to underscore the film, making it operatic, and the Rossini references and his actual music add to this operatic sensibility.
Summertime is one of the few films up to this point(1955) Katharine Hepburn made in color..there was The African Queen,(1951), Desk Set(1955) but she is very different in these, and The Rainmaker, later than Summertime by a year, is hampered by indoor sets and color that hide rather than show Ms. Hepburn's startling beauty. In Summertime, in color, she gets her only chance to be absolutely stunning, and it is so paplable and rich that you cannot take your eyes off of her.
See this beutiful film,but watch for the American racism, the advanced sexual mores that the Catholic Church hated in this film but could not censor, and the very evident pollution of the canals of Venice in 1955. David Lean, always showing the shining surfaces, but always too, the shadows and the undertows of life..even in Zhivago.
Lots of subtlties and lots of Katharine Hepburn here. A must!
Directed by David Lean, known for his wonderful epic movies, this is a very simple and personal story of a middle-aged woman's wistfull dream of romance. It's easy to feel Jane's sadness and later, her exhilaration. Hepburn is perfectly cast and gives a wonderful performance, full of spunk and longing. Charismatic Brazzi was just starting his American film career in 1955 when he played Renato, and he certainly could sweep a woman off her feet. Filmed entirely in Venice, the scenery is lovingly photographed, and there's even a sweet subplot about a little boy. Highly recommended for those who like a (nearly) proper romance in an idyllic setting. Lovely.
I am English and live in the UK and have been unable to get a video copy of this film that will play on my TV, but I would recommend this film to anybody who enjoys a love story. It tugs at your heart and really does stay with you as one of Hepburns best films and her main main Rossano Brazzi is great too, he plays her emotions magnificently - Sit back and enjoy a truly wonderful film...
Katharine Hepburn here is in her prime. Rossano Brazzi is every woman's dream man (at least, he is mine). I do not believe that her conflict about their attraction (and yes, love for each other) was about sex outside of marriage, so much as it was the principle of an involvement with someone who is married. Perhaps it was a little of both. Still, they touched the heart of happiness, and Hepburn's character, Jane, seemed to intuitively know when to leave, stating that in the past she had always stayed too long at the dance (or was it the party?).
It is hard to review a movie that is so much about the heart, because matters of the heart are mysterious, and are not always reviewable. Leave it to say that this film is a delight, a trip through beauty, Brazzi's sincere performance, Hepburn at her most spirited, and a sterling story. And must not forget David Lean's quality direction. No part seems small with him at the helm.
Most recent customer reviews
Summertime (1955) is one of those classic movies that makes you want to visit Venice, sit in the Piazza San Marco with a cold drink, see all the sights, and soak in the vibrant... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mys M
Romantic, sentimental. Venice shown to it's best advantage.Published 14 months ago by askedtoreview
Great plot line, excellent acting and wonderful music. The shots of Venice were magnificent and as a lover of Italy and having visited Venice twice, I found the entire movie very... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Colleen Cunningham
I think that this is a great movie and I have been to Venice so really wanted to have it so I could remember my trip. Love the story and Rossano Brazzi. Bitter-sweet love story.Published 22 months ago by Katie G
I enjoy this not only because of the love story but of the views of
Venice as I have been there myself and enjoy seeing it again.
I have loved this movie since I first saw it especially since I have been to Venice. Now I have my own copy.Published on Sept. 25 2013 by Joyce McCallum
I had remembered this movie - already old - from my youth (I first saw it when I was babysitting on the late, late movie). Beautifully filmed in Venice. Fun movie.Published on Oct. 17 2012 by CeeEmm
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