- The Venice of "Summertime," in the Piazza San Marco, is indeed unique? 6/1/2008 12:00:00 AM by Nazi_Fighter_David
Jane Hudson (Katherine Hepburn), a middle-aged American school teacher, arrives in Venice, fulfilling a lifelong dream? On her first evening, she has an encounter with Mauro, an enterprising little street child, who becomes her unofficial escort? But in the evening, while seating in a crowded café, she sees a handsome man in a gray flannel suit... Her first instinctive reaction was to oppose, pay the bill, escape, and keep out of sight...
The next evening, she sits alone to take a drink in the Piazza San Marco, but with a wandering eye? As the violins begin playing 'Summertime in Venice', Jane would turn away in a heart beat to see Renato passing by? To hide her anxiousness, she inclines the chair next to her, pretending that she is expecting a company... Jane has come to Venice to find a handsome, unmarried hero of her dreams... But she is furious and resentful... She really can't understand what she is doing...
The most advantageous thing about David Lean's 'Summertime' is its sensitive portrait of the loneliness that holds back the fancy secretary, a desperately single heroine whose search for romance and adventure is prevented less by cultural differences than by her own feeling defenses...
Hepburn is a pleasant tourist with great magnetism... Rossano Brazzi is too powerful, tempting and charming as Renato, the Venetian who couldn't catch a fallen white gardenia in one of the canals of his town?
- Fragile bittersweet romance amid gorgeous Italian settings... 6/3/2001 12:00:00 AM by Doylenf
"Summertime" is more of a mood piece than anything else. It captures the loneliness of a traveler in a foreign land, in this case a spinster who is hungry for love but too repressed to accept the love Rossano Brazzi offers. It has a bittersweet ending, appropriate for a thin story that sets the tone early on and never once makes us believe that Hepburn is going to find her true love in Venice.
The photography is gorgeous and must have had everyone heading for the nearest travel bureau for a tour of Italy when the film was released. The performances are all excellent--but the film belongs to Hepburn. She creates one of her most moving and truthful portraits--sensitively showing us what this woman feels as she watches others pairing off for affairs, alone and unable to really connect. The sexual mores of the 1950s permeate the film--the sexual revolution was just over the horizon but not yet evident.
One of Hepburn's most subtle, yet affecting performances. With David Lean's sensitive direction, the gorgeous photography and the evocative background music, "Summertime" will put you under the spell of its fragile romance. Easy to see why Brazzi was the ultimate continental charmer.
- Venezia in Summer: Magic! 7/30/2002 12:00:00 AM by gaityr
A few weeks ago, I spent a summer day in Venice and was reminded of what a beautiful, magical place it is (I'd spent a few days there on vacation previously). I remember thinking at the time that no matter how many photos I took, I would never be able to capture its essence--the twisting little alleys shielded by towering brick walls, the staggeringly lovely architecture scattered through piazzas, the feel of walking on water as gondolas drift by below you--Venice is about life, living, love. It didn't seem possible to me that all that could ever be effectively captured on film.
In filming SUMMERTIME, David Lean has come as close as anyone ever will to capturing the feel and atmosphere of the magical city. While watching the film for the first time, I felt almost as if I were walking through the streets of Venice myself, all the colour and noise and beauty intact. All the little things were there, the places visited, the things done (taking a water bus, or washing one's face in the springs to keep cool)... It helps that I can recognise the monuments from personal experience, of course, but the photography is so lush, and the attention to detail so great (there is one scene of several set in the Piazza San Marco in which an entire flock of pigeons take wing in the background--it is so breathtaking that one feels it must have been choreographed) that you really are taking Jane Hudson's journey with her. That, for a moment that lasts through the film, you are part of that world, part of David Lean's Venice. I only wish I had the opportunity to see this film on the big screen, to be able to experience the cinematography the way it was meant to be experienced.
The plot of the film is itself somewhat weak. Katharine Hepburn plays a lonely spinster, Jane Hudson, who has saved and saved all her life to finally make her dream trip come true. It turns out to be a dream trip in more ways than one, for she soon meets and falls in love with Renato di Rossi (Rossano Brazzi), a married shopkeeper with several children. They share a few dizzying, intimate days together, but Jane eventually has to make a choice between her heart and her mind.
A great part of the film is involved in setting up Jane as a desperately lonely figure, and therefore the love affair itself, though sweet, feels rushed through. (When intimacy *is* created, however, it is startlingly touching. Take for example the scene on the island of Burado, or when Renato buys Jane her first flower.) What makes the romance more tangible and believable to the viewer is the skill of the performers involved--you truly hurt from the aching loneliness Katharine Hepburn sneaks into every corner of her Jane Hudson, from the way she holds herself when she sits, to the slightly pained eyes and tightly crossed arms--her defences when she realises how alone she really is, even amidst the noise and bustle of the city. You feel sorry for her when she pretends that she is waiting for someone, positioning the chair just so and placing her own coffee before it, just to not appear entirely pathetic to her friends from the Penzione Fiorini. Hepburn manages to pull this off while also infusing Jane with an almost child-like desire to find a little magic for herself, a miracle in the form of a summer romance.
Rossano Brazzi too is excellent at walking that fine line between charm and smarm, because you never really know whether his intentions towards Jane are good or not-largely due to the revelation regarding his status as a family man. Perhaps for this reason the romance between Jane and Renato seems a bit forced for the purposes of finishing the tale David Lean set out to tell, but there is to be no denying that Hepburn and Brazzi do have great chemistry together.
SUMMERTIME isn't the kind of movie you'd recommend to *all* of your friends and constantly badger them until they've seen it and can talk to you about it. It's the kind of film you tell a select few people about, people you feel will appreciate it and understand it, and will connect with it like you do. That, perhaps, is its own special little magic.
- Andante cantabile 4/5/2000 12:00:00 AM by harry-76
The mood is leisurly, the pace deliberate, and the look of Venice is shimmering and magical. This "brief encounter" of an American spinster on vacation falling for a married, though separated, man is David Lean as his best. It is also one of Katherine Hepburn's lovely performances. Having read about production problems with this film, it became all the more remarkable to watch. To name a few, Hepburn suffered severe eye damage from her spill in the stagnant canal (in a remarkable shot without use of a double) and the stench from the waters aggravated ailments left over from her previous "African Queen." Also her private life during the filming mirrored the quiet desparation of the heroine, due to personal circumstances. Yet all of this is amazingly hidden through the skill of Director Lean and his camera crew. It's a Hepburn "spinster" role she played many times ("Alice Adams," "The Rainmaker") and no one could do it as convincingly. "Summertime" is a kind of film they don't make any more--and for good reason: they couldn't top it. Nor is there a "Hepburn" today able to carry a full production like this on her shoulders as effectively as this legendary actress.
- Needy for Love 3/30/2017 12:00:00 AM by claudio_carvalho
The American secretary Jane Hudson (Katharine Hepburn) travels from Ohio to Venice. Jane is a middle-age single and lonely woman that have saved money for her dream trip. On the arrival, she immediately befriends the owner of the boarding house Signora Fiorini (Isa Miranda). During the night, she goes to a café and an Italian helps her to call the waiter. Jane feels sort of uncomfortable for being alone and on the next day, she sees a red glass goblet in the window of an antique store. The owner Renato de Rossi (Rossano Brazzi), who is the man that helped her, explains that it is an ancient goblet from the Eighteenth Century and therefore expensive; then he also explains that she should always bargain for a lower price in Venice. Jane recognizes Renato from the previous night and becomes clumsy. Soon Renato woos her but the needy Jane is afraid to love.
"Summertime" is a deceptive film directed by David Lean and with Katharine Hepburn. Her character is a tight and awkward spinster and the romance with Rossano Brazzi has no chemistry. Most of the time the viewer has a tour through Venice and a tasteless romance. My vote is six.
Title (Brazil): "Quando o Cora??o Floresce" ("When the Heart Blossoms")