Thursday, January 6, 2011

Movies to Travel By: Summertime (1955)

Images from "Summertime" above and below. (photos credit: United Artists)

Venice never looked more splendid or inviting than in David Lean's "Summertime" starring Katherine Hepburn as Jane Hudson, a lonely woman on vacation unexpectedly falling in love with a married man (Rossano Brazzi).

Many movies would capture Venice in equally breathtaking images. But for the time of its release, the film brings a romance and city bookmarked in another time. Filled with friendly locals and popular visitor locations, it's the kind of idealized Venice many people dream about. St. Mark's Square, Camp San Barnaba and the Venice canals, bridges and lagoon are featured prominently.

The story of a woman having an affair with a married man was daring in the 1950s but the portrayal seems innocent in the film. Hepburn displays emotions of longing, lonely, joy and disappointment in the many scenes when is alone onscreen. The film opens with Jane arriving in Venice and ends with a bittersweet goodbye.

One of the highly romanticized scenes in the film .
The source material for the film is the 1952 Broadway play "The Time of the Cuckoo" which was later adapted into an unsuccessful 1965 Broadway musical "Do I Hear A Waltz?" with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The musical was revived and recorded by the Pasadena Playhouse in 2001.

"Summertime" received two Oscar nominations: Hepburn for Best Actress and Lean for Best Director.

View of Venice from Hepburn's hotel balcony.
Iconic scene where Hepburn's character falls into the canal.
One of multiple moments with St. Mark's Square on view.
The Venice lagoon.
One of the opening scene as Hepburn is rushed through Venice as she follows
her luggage carrier to the hotel.

Another scene from Hepburn's hotel balcony
Katherine Hepburn as Jane Hudson. Love the film camera.
Rossano Brazzi as Renato De Rozzi
The statue is part of the clock near St. Mark's Square.
The Venice lagoon in evening.
Hepburn upon entering her the Pensione Fiorini. The entire hotel
was a fabrication. The hotel's interior and exterior scenes were filmed
at various locations.
The outdoor cafe in the square makes more than one appearance and
sets the initial meeting between Hepburn and Brazzi's characters.
Even the simple shot of Jane's shoe was filmed beautifully.
One of the film's final moments as she waves goodbye to Venice.


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