Wednesday, May 19, 2010
hepburn + brazzi + venice = yum
Did anyone else see Summertime, 1955, on TCM the other night? Gosh, I can't stop thinking about it. I thought I had seen all the David Lean films out there, but somehow this little gem fell through the cracks. It's about a lonely American spinster, who learns to accept imperfect love from a married art dealer, while on holiday in Venice.
This is a smaller, slower film than Lean's epics, and not quite in the same league as Brief Encounter, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The unique thing about this movie, is that it's filmed entirely on location in gorgeous 1950s Venice. The remastered Criterion Collection version is crisp, colorful and quite delicious. I'm not sure which was the most lip-smacking, the 39 year old Rossano Brazzi in a gray flannel suit or Venice. Hepburn is magnificent, at any age, and she certainly held her own, at 48, paired with the younger Brazzi.
I love the scene where Hepburn enter's Brazzi's shop and spots a wonderful vintage goblet in the window. It made me long to travel in time back to the Venice of the 50s and do some serious shopping. One interesting tidbit of trivia; there's a scene where Hepburn accidentally falls into the canal while taking a home movie of Brazzi's shop. As a result, she actually contracted an infection in her eyes that she battled the rest of her life.
Although this film is a predictable love story, it's not a sappy one. It's poignantly real and deals with the deep fear and emotion felt by Hepburn's character. The quintessential Lean photography is breathtaking. It made me want to pack my bags and head straight to Venice. In the meantime, I'm going to buy myself a DVD for my little manor library.