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... more » Jack Hildyard's glorious Technicolor® photography make Summertime an endearing and visually enchanting film.« less
"Summertime pairs Hepburn with Italian hunk Rossano Brazzi in a delicious, sad, funny and ultimately very adult film about a Plain Jane who finds romance in Venice. Hepburn is a joy to watch here as she gets to show so many facets of her character. Jane Hudson is socially self-assured; she has a funny quip for every occasion and she's not afraid to speak her mind; she really is the quintessential American spinster of the early 20th century. She has a romantic side that longs for moonlight trysts in a gondola, dancing at midnight, and coffee and small-talk with her lover in a sidewalk café, but there's an element of prudishness which holds her back from a love affair with a married Venetian who assures her that he and his wife have an "understanding." Ultimately Jane recognizes that she's not likely to get her dream of love intact and that she'd be a fool not to take the one on offer, and she blossoms into the happy, loving, passionate woman she (and the viewer) always suspected she could be. Brazzi as Renato is earnest and handsome, and while he's no great shakes as an actor, he does persuade us. After all, we want to be persuaded, don't we? Just like Jane Hudson, we want to believe that even after half a lifetime of loneliness and disappointment, love is possible. There are some nice supporting roles here, particularly a young Darrin McGavin as a self-involved artist, and Mari Aldon as his trophy wife who isn't quite as dumb as she first seems. There are a few bits of business that seem forced, such as the loud, insensitive American tourists - perhaps this sort of characterization has become so clichéd that what was new in 1955 seems awkward and heavy-handed now - and Jane's friendship with a street urchin who cadges cigarettes from her. On the other hand, Isa Miranda gives a lovely, low-key performance as the owner of the pensione where Jane is staying. If Jane is the quintessential American spinster, then Signora Fiorina is the essence of a worldly European woman of "a certain age."Don't look for a syrupy, artificially happy ending here; Jane returns to her old life, her real life, if you will, in spite of the happiness she's known with Renato because she is a practical woman and this was, after all, just a summertime fling."
A wonderful 50s time-trip to Venice
R. Geatz | Washington, DC USA | 07/06/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Venice has never been more beautiful; Katherine Hepburn has never been more poignant, and Rosanno Brazzi has never been sexier. And this DVD version of the film captures the Techni-colors in ways they've not been seen since the film was released in the mid-50s. What's surprising about seeing the film today (for anyone with a knowledge of where screen morals were in the 50s) is the fact that it deals with adultery in a way that was rarely seen in its time. Spinster Hepburn goes off to romantic Venice, sort-of-but-not-quite looking for love, and when she finds it, it's with a middle-aged, married man. While she doesn't "get the guy" in the end, she isn't "punished for her transgression" either. It seems a miracle that the Church allowed such a movie to be made in the 50s--and in Italy no less. Watch this in a double bill with "Roman Holiday" and you'll be booking a flight to Italy before the end credits finish rolling."
The Best of Hepburn ? Possibly !!
Charles Reichenthal | Brooklyn, New York United States | 10/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"SUMMERTIMEis the film version of the hit Shirley Booth Broadway success "Time of the Cuckoo" and it later would be the basis for Richard Rodgers & Stephen Sondheim's "Do I Hear a Waltz?" Obviously, there is substantial reason for the longevity of a simple romantic plot in a remarkably romantic setting. It simply works, but David Lean's film version works the best of all. Never has Venice been captured on screen as well, and, certainly, never as effectively as a "character" in a lovely tale that is made perfect for even the most anti-romantic audiences by the superlative, career topping work of Katharine Hepburn as a spinster who discovers "true love" with an unacceptable partner during her Venice vacation. The color is absolutely perfect; the music is splendid; everything works. The cast rises to Hepburnian heights -- including Rossano Brazzi, Mari Aldon, Isa Miranda, Darren McGavin, and an adorable youngster. Key scenes are everywhere, but who will ever forget Hepburn and the Canal....!! A lovely movie that deserves its perennial popularity."
Venice, Katharine, Rossano, Romance; enough said!
Marc Lucas | San Diego, California | 05/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have watched this magical bittersweet movie at least 25 times. And it only gets better every time. Katharine Hepburn is just superb as the spinster who finally makes a much anticipated trip to Venice, Italy. 'Everything' about this delightful film creates the ultimate escape for the true romantic viewer. The scenery of Venice, filmed in 1955, is breathtaking. Katharine is at her very best and Rossano is perfect as the married Italian man she reluctantly but helplessly falls in love with. The symbolism expressed throughout the film is sweet, sad and haunting. The little boy she befriends is adorable, and the almost ever present theme song quickly becomes, "One of your favorites"... I cannot recommend this charming, captivating and heart-warming film enough!"
David Lean and Katharine Hepburn together - who could ask fo
I. Sondel | Tallahassee, FL United States | 11/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I only recently finished reading John Berendt's wonderful book on Venice, "The City of Falling Angels." I was so inspired that I hauled out my video of "Summertime" just to see Venice in the background. Imagine my horror when I put that video in the player and found that it had degraded considerably. Still I watched. Based on the Arthur Laurents play "The Time of the Cuckoo," the film has lost none of its power, and remains one of the major achievements of both David Lean and Katharine Hepburn (which is REALLY saying something).
A few weeks later my special friend Patty surprised me with this DVD. Even though I had only just watched the film, I couldn't wait to see how it would look on DVD. UNBELIEVABLE - what an incredible difference. The photography of Jack Hildyard is absolutely stunning! As is the case with most of Lean's films, the composition of each shot is a work of art unto itself, with "Summertime" that is especially true. Venice has rarely, if ever, been filmed this effectively.
I couldn't find a false note in this entire film. Hepburn is luminous. In one scene after another Hepburn brings this lonely lady to life. I am haunted by the figure of Hepburn at dawn, standing in a gondola, waving goodnight to her lover. The scene where she first enters the Piazza San Marco is breathtaking. I can barely hold myself together as she sits in the Piazza taking her coffee alone, hoping that Rossano Brazzi will appear. Suddenly he's there, but withdraws without joining her. In her folly she has made it appear that she is not alone. I thought my heart might break. Her face conveys a myriad of emotions all at once (she REALLY should have won the Oscar for her work here). The eventual romance, the inevitable parting, Brazzi running down the train platform with that single white gardenia.....oh, I get choked up just writing about it. This is simply one of the greatest love stories ever filmed. Don't miss it - whatever you do.