Saturday, January 9, 2010
While it isn't quite the soaring romance of Lean's Brief Encounter, the love affair Katherine Hepburn spends her Venice vacation experiencing in Summertime is a respectable and beautifully shot rendition of the age-old story of the stodgy American and the sexually comfortable European (French? No, this time Italian).
Apart from the obvious appeal of seeing Venice in the 1950s from the POV of a wide-eyed newcomer, Summertime also boasts a great performance from Hepburn, the above-mentioned cinematography, and a plot that genuine got to me by the final climactic scene of Hepburn pulling out of the station, her lover running after her.
It does seem strange that this was so early in the collection, considering that while the film is a solid well-made one, it's certainly not on par with many of the heights in Lean's career, even others on Criterion. But sometimes it all comes down to what they get the rights to earlier, which was probably the case with this one.
I also just read that this was David Lean's favorite of the films he made. Which is, needless to say, fucking insane.