Independent Films, Film Profiles
Summertime (released in the UK as Summer Madness) is a 1955 American/British drama film directed by David Lean. The screenplay by Lean and H. E. Bates is based on the play The Time of the Cuckoo by Arthur Laurents.The story focuses on Jane Hudson, a middle aged spinster from Ohio, whose lifelong dream of a vacation in Venice finally comes true. During the water bus ride to the Pensione Fiorini, she meets two fellow Americans, Lloyd and Edith McIlhenny. At the hotel, they are greeted by Signora Fiorini, a widow who transformed her home into a pensione after World War II. Also staying at the property are Eddie Yaeger, a young American painter studying art, and his wife Phyl.That evening, Jane walks to the Piazza San Marco, where the sight of so many couples leaves her slightly depressed. While seated in a café, she becomes aware of a single Italian man watching her and quickly leaves.The following day, Jane goes shopping and sees a red glass goblet in the window of an antiques store. Upon entering she discovers the owner, Renato de Rossi, is the man she fled the night before. He assures her the goblet is an authentic 18th century artifact, and she purchases it after he teaches her the art of bargaining. Hoping to see her again, Renato offers to search for a matching goblet.The next morning, Jane returns to the shop, and is disappointed to find Renato isn't there. That evening, he comes to the pensione and confesses he is attracted to her. When Jane resists his advances, he warns her not to waste an opportunity for happiness, and she is about to agree to have dinner with him when the McIlhennys return from a shopping expedition, during which they purchased a set of new red goblets similar to the one Jane bought. She accuses Renato of swindling her, but he insists her goblet is an antique.The two attend a concert at the piazza, and when a flower seller approaches them, Renato is surprised when Jane chooses a simple gardenia instead of an orchid. They return to the pensione, where he kisses her, and she responds passionately and murmers "I love you" before rushing off to her room. The next day, she treats herself to salon treatments and new clothes in anticipation of their date that evening. While she waits for him at the piazza, Renato's assistant Vito arrives and inadvertently reveals he is Renato's son. Stunned to discover Renato is married and has several children, Jane takes refuge in a bar where she encounters Phyl, who confides her marriage is in trouble.Upon returning to the pensione, Jane discovers Eddie is having an affair with Signora Fiorini. Renato arrives and tells her their relationship is none of her business. He admits he is married but claims he is separated, a fact he concealed because he didn't want to scare her away. He accuses her of being immature and unwilling to accept what she can have instead of longing for more. After dinner, the couple return to Renato's apartment and their affair is consummated.After spending time with Renato on the island of Burano, Jane, unwilling to remain in a relationship she knows is destined to end unhappily, decides to return home. Renato begs her to stay, but Jane insists it is better to leave the party before it ends. Although she asks him not to come to the train station, she hopes he will ignore her request. As the train begins to leave the station, Jane is thrilled to see Renato running toward it. He tries to hand her a package but the train is moving too quickly, so he opens it to reveal he had bought her another gardenia.
Year of Production: 1955
Length: 100 minutes
Country: United States
- David Lean
- Ilya Lopert
- Katharine Hepburn, Rossano Brazzi