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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summertime d. David Lean w/ Katharine Hepburn

Katherine Hepburn in Summertime by David Lean

Movie Review
 d. David Lean w/ Katharine Hepburn
Criterion Collection #22

  One of the attributes of people I've learned about from the internet is that it is easier to get people to like another person then a thing.  People are more likely to "like" a band/artist then a record label.  People are more likely to "like" Jesus then Christianity. People like to like other people.  When you apply that principle to works of Art that are group efforts, it means that inevitably the Audience will be more interested in the specific people involved: the star Actor/Direction then the craft of an extremely complicated production.  In music, when a new record comes out, people are interested in the novelty of it and what it tells the Audience about the Artist.  Audience members do not care about how the record was produced and distributed.

Sad Katharine Hepburn from Summertime

 Summertime presents two obvious focal points:  the director David Lean and the star actress Katherine Hepburn. I should say it now: I have nothing but contempt for actors and their so-called "art."  I can recognize and affirm great Actors but I don't think it's a worthwhile avocation for an amateur artist, specifically that it's inferior to being an author, musician or studio artist. I have more respect for Directors and the most for the system of movie production itself, but of course, no one wants to hear about that last one.
David Lean shooting Summertime in Venice.

  David Lean is most known for his epics: Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, but the Britiish director had a "long and eclectic career" and this vintage 1950s  Rom with a dash of Com is a good example of his eclecticisim. Katharine Hepburn stars as Jane Hudson, a "fancy secretary" from Akron Ohio who is on a once of a lifetime trip to Venice...solo.  While there she befriends an orphan and has a brief love affair with Renato De Rossi a (married) antiques dealer who may or may not have defrauded her when she bought an "antique" vase from him.

  Ah, Italy. Besides Hepburn doing her thing as a lonely, over-educated white lady from the 50s, Venice takes center stage.  Having been to Venice during the off season, I can only contemplate with horror what a nightmare it must have been to shoot this film, in Venice, during the high season for tourism.  It seems literally insane/impossible not to mention like literally the most expensive undertaking outside of shooting a feature film on the Moon or at the bottom of the ocean- just my impressions from a visit to Venice during the dead of winter in 2010.
David Lean

 I wasn't a huge fan of Venice at the time, but it's hard not to like how Lean shows her off: the bridges, the canals, the plazas, the Churches, the other plazas.   Honestly, it seems like not much has changed in Venice since the mid 1950s.  Once again, the restored Criterion Collection edition was a sheer delight to behold.  Also, this is not a Criterion Collection edition where you need the special features, which are listed on the web page as "Original Theatrical Trailer" END OF LIST- so this is a good title to knock out without regard to missing the DVD only features.

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