by guest writer
Summertime can be seen as a companion to Brief Encounter due to its subject that delicately deals with temptation. The difference between the two themes is that this one treats this frail issue in an obvious, relaxed attitude and somehow less guilt than the British characters. Summertime charms the viewer from the opening credits, with the detailed depiction of a middle-age redheaded woman, Jane Hudson (Katharine Hepburn), travelling to Venice. A trademark of David Lean’s movies is felt from the very beginning by the long shot of a train approaching the Venice lagoon. The train is a constant leitmotif in the director’s filmography, always recounting secrets, stories or important journeys to mysterious places.
Miss Jane Hudson is Lean’s typical character, looking for something different in life. Katharine is fragile and demure in her role, her stunning interpretation denoting her character’s unfulfilled love life, always subtly observing the relationships around her. Venice is the painted background, beautifully shot by David Lean, who vividly captured the colours and the spirit of the city. Last but not least, this city proves to be the place where Jane Hudson rediscovers herself.
photos: stills from the film; production credits