Visually ravishing, but with a plot as creaky as a boarding-house bed, David Lean’s Technicolor travelogue romance spends as much time lapping up the picturesque sights of ’50s Venice (Piazza San Marco, pigeons, big-eyed urchins) as it spends with feisty, 40-ish Ohio tourist Jane Hudson (Katherine Hepburn, doing her sharp-tongued spinster thing). But once she stumbles reluctantly into an affair with melancholy married shopkeeper Rossano Brazzi, Hepburn’s eloquent, ambivalent turn ramps the film up a gear. Sandwiched awkwardly between the British classics and the Hollywood epics in Lean’s career, Summertime is often overlooked, but its restrained, bittersweet take on last-chance love makes a neat companion piece to Brief Encounter. Especially since the adulterers get some off-screen bedroom action (signalled by a hilarious fireworks-for-fucking visual metaphor). A bare-bones release that would have benefited from some Lean or Hepburn background info, at least.


Film Details

  • PG
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: August 6th 2007

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