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SUMMERTIME(aka: SUMMER MADNESS)(director/writer: David Lean; screenwriters: H.E. Bates/Donald Ogden Stewart/from the play “The Time of the Cuckoo” by Arthur Laurents; cinematographer: Jack Hildyard; editor: Peter Taylor; music: Alessandro Cicognini; cast: Katharine Hepburn (Jane Hudson), Rossano Brazzi (Renato de Rossi), Isa Miranda (Signora Fiorini), Darren McGavin (Eddie Yaeger), Mari Aldon (Phyl Yaeger), Jane Rose (Mrs. McIlhenny), MacDonald Parke (Mr. McIlhenny), Jeremy Spenser (Vito de Rossi), Gaetano Autiero (Mauro), Virginia Simeon (Giovanna); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ilya Lopert; United Artists; 1955-UK)
It’s beautiful to look at, the acting is superb and it has its poignant moments.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Director David Lean’s (“Lawrence of Arabia”/”Hobson’s Choice”/”Oliver Twist”)subtleromantic melodramaabout falling in love is a charmer and one of the British director’s favorites. It’s shot on location in a stunningly beautiful Venice. Screenwriters Lean, H.E. Bates and Donald Ogden Stewart base it on the play “The Time of the Cuckoo” by Arthur Laurents. It’s beautiful to look at, the acting is superb and it has its poignant moments.

Jane Hudson (Katharine Hepburn) is a lively but unsophisticated middle-aged spinster secretary from Ohio, who goes by herself on a three week holiday trip to Venice and stays at the Pensione Fiorini. At the famed Piazza San Marco, Jane hurries away after she spots a lone Italian man, sitting behind her, who gets a kick out of her touristy attempts to cheer herself up by taking pictures of everything with her camera. The next day she accidentally meets the same handsome man, Renato de Rossi (Rossano Brazzi), a merchant of Venice, who owns the antique store she entered to buy an 18th-century wine goblet. It takes a few meetings and a moonlit stroll until Jane loosens up and has an affair with the smooth married man, and departs Venice as a happy woman.

Hepburn’s sensitive portrayal as a vulnerable woman was winsome, enabling the film to be a box office success.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”