At the Movies

It seems that summer has finally found us. Several conversations I’ve had recently with friends online have involved their upcoming trips to Italy. While I am totally envious, it reminded me of a vicarious trip I took long ago. It was my first real exposure to Venice, a city that I am sorry to say I still haven’t seen in person.

Summertime is a bittersweet romance with the wonderfully poignant Katharine Hepburn as a secretary from Ohio arriving in Venice on her initial trip to Europe. She is eager to appreciate all the exquisite city has to offer, it’s history, beauty and ultimately its romance. The incredibly handsome Rossano Brazzi plays a married antiques dealer who seduces Katharine Hepburn into what was then in the mid 1950s considered an illicit affair. Her sensitive transformation from a prudish nervous spinster into a lover of life and passion is both tender and heartbreaking.

David Lean, who would later go on to direct such blockbusters as Lawrence of Arabia and Dr. Zhivago, cited this as his personal favorite. He so accurately rendered Jane’s (Katharine Hebpurn’s character) dichotomous feelings toward love and beauty. She yearned for it yet feared it as well. His successful and intimate navigation of her longing and loneliness, of her inner conflict, self awakening and final grasping of her brief opportunity for love is a minor miracle. No wonder he was so proud of this insightful and compassionate romance.

Yet this is worth watching for Jack Hildyard’s beautiful photography alone. Filmed in vivid Technicolor, Venice is a feast for the eyes. From the opening sequence in Piazza San Marco to gondola trips down the canals, you will feel like you are on vacation yourself. So take an armchair trip to Venice and fall in love with it for the first or fiftieth time. And as usual, don’t forget the tissues – I think you’ll need them! Here’s a peek from the opening sequence.

29 thoughts on “At the Movies

  1. If you’re going to view a movie, then take me to the movies and let’s be swept away! With a guy named ROSSANO pining away at a woman until she falls truly, madly, deeply, I think this is a classic and surely one to enjoy!! Let hte summer heat begin :) XO, Kelly

  2. I haven’t seen it yet…
    I hope its not that hard to find a copy,
    you got me interested in that movie.
    And I love Katherine Hepburn and the guy looks so good.

  3. I love the Actress Kathryn Hepburn. And that “Rossano” is quite the handsome one. I’m going to try and find it on Netflixs. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I know what I am watching this weekend! This looks so good, right up my alley, in one of my favorite places (Italy) and features one of my favorite actresses of all time (Katherine Hepburn)…how can I go wrong? Now I have to go find it..thanks! Have a wonderful weekend.

  5. A great movie and such a wonderful choice heading into the season of travel and passion. The famous clock tower in Piazza San Marco has a Latin inscription… ‘Horas non numero nisi serenas’ and translates as ‘I count only the bright hours.’ Have a wonderful weekend!! ox

  6. “A feast for the eyes” is the perfect way to describe this gorgeous film. It’s been years since I’ve watched it. I think it’s time to put it in the Netflix queue again. A virtual trip to Venice is always welcome. Don’t you wish we could have gone over for the Biennale?
    Have a lovely weekend!

  7. I love this movie–the perfect travelogue of Venice, Katharine Hepburn’s elegant wardrobe, a summer love story–Venice always delivers!! Our local summer film series showed The African Queen the other night–Kate really knew how to pick great stories!!

  8. My daughter leaves with
    her Latin class in less than
    two weeks for 10 glorious
    days in Italia! So, this would
    be fun to see in anticipation
    of the big trip. I have never
    been to Venice, only to Roma.
    It is my favorite big city, so far
    in my travels : ) Thanks for
    the wonderful review and your
    recommendation. I always look
    forward to these!
    xx Suzanne

  9. I have to rent this movie! I had not heard of this and I love Venice. And of course Katherine Hepburn. I will enjoy seeing this beautiful city once more through this film!

  10. Katharine Hepburn is my favorite actress of all time. Great movie! Reminds me to watch it again. Maybe have a Hepburn marathon!
    Have a great weekend.

  11. I have to watch this movie since I myself haven’t been to Venice either. Until I finally get to see this City in person.

    Have an great weekend!

  12. After reading your amazing and vivid description of this movie, not only do I feel compelled to see it asap…but like you, I’ve never been to Venice, and need to figure out how to visit this magical city…the sooner the better!

  13. I’ve never seen this one – will have to catch it soon. And get out the tissues while watching. Would love to visit Venice some day…
    xo Cathy

  14. Naturally, the geek in me became instantly enamored with the stereo viewer movie camera. I thought I’d seen every movie Katherine Hepburn ever made, but you caught me. By the way, I’m still shocked by “illicit” love affairs. I’m fully pissed at Arnold for breaking Maria’s heart, not to mention Tiger (who deserved getting clubbed), Spitzer, and Sanford–to name a few. I still believe in true love and fidelity.

  15. I have not seen this and it sounds like one of the best ever of Hepburn s, I may feel as Liz though about Miss Kate’s heart being broken.

    Art by Karena

  16. This looks like something I would really enjoy and is definitely the closest I’m going to get to Italy for a while. Hope your enjoying your Sunday. Mona

  17. Would love to see this one…I’m so not familiar with it and it sounds wonderful! I”m in desrerate need of a movie night too, this will be perfect. Plus, I love any old movie set in Italy….they seem to portray the Italy we would all wish to visit.
    xo J~

  18. This stirred my young teenage heart when it was released and does so still. A love story in the true meaning of love. God Bless Miss Hepburn, Mr Brazzi and the magic that is Venice.

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