Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Katharine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi in "Summertime"

Summertime (1955) is a romance directed by David Lean and starring Katharine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi. The film is based on the play The Time of the Cuckoo by Arthur Laurents. 

Jane Hudson (Hepburn) is a middle-aged secretary from Akron, Ohio, who is traveling to Venice, Italy for the first time in her life. This is a vacation trip that she had saved for over many years. During her vacation, she feels a sense of loneliness when she sees all the couples in the city. Along the way, she meets Renato de Rossi (Brazzi) who expresses a romantic interest in her. 

Will Jane find true love and happiness with Renato or will she go back to Akron, Ohio, and resume life as a "fancy secretary?"

Katharine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi

David Lean (1908 - 1991) was an English film director, producer, screenwriter, and editor. He is considered one of the greatest and most influential directors of all time. Lean started out working in silent films where he worked his way up from teaboy to film editor. He made the transition to talking pictures and in directed his first feature In Which We Serve in 1942 which was made in collaboration with Noel Coward. Lean collaborated with Coward on This Happy Breed (1944), Blithe Spirit (1945), and Brief Encounter (1945) widely considered one of the greatest British films ever made. Today Lean is best known in America for his epic productions of films like The Bride on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago (1965), and A Passage to India (1984).

Katharine Hepburn (1907 - 2002) was an American actress on stage, screen, and television. She is the Oscar champ, winning four competitive Best Actress Awards. She received her first in 1933 for Morning Glory and her fourth for On Golden Pond (1981). Other Hepburn films include Little Women (1933), Alice Adams (1935), Stage Door (1937), Holiday (1938), The Philadelphia Story (1940), Woman of the Year (1942), Adams Ribs 1949), and The African Queen (1951). Hepburn continued acting as late as 1994, concentrating on television acting in The Man Upstairs (1992) with Ryan O’ Neal and This Can’t Be Love with Anthony Quinn.

Summertime trivia
  • Katharine Hepburn got an eye infection when she fell into the canal. It plagued her for the rest of her life.
  • Tourism to Venice increased after the release of this film.
  • This was the last of Lean's "small" film project and supposedly his favorite.
  • The director became so enamored of Venice that he made it his second home.
  • Olivia de Havilland considered starring in the film.

To watch the film on YouTube, click on the link below.

To join the discussion on April 18, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. Central Time, click here. Once you RSVP, you will receive an invitation to the discussion along with a Zoom link.

Discussion questions
  1. Was Katharine Hepburn convincing as a spinster from Akron, Ohio?
  2. Do you think the red goblet Renato sold to Jane is really an antique?
  3. What did you think of Renato's relationship with Jane? Do you think he really cared for her?
  4. Did you have a favorite character actor?
  5. Were you surprised by anything in the film?
  6. Was the ending satisfying? Did you expect a different ending?


  1. I look forward to giving this one another try, Stephen -- the last time I tuned in, I gave up after about 15 minutes. Fingers crossed!

    1. I'm not a Hepburn fan, but I found her performance very touching. Let's hope you can get through it this time!


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