Window shopping in Venice, by David Lean, starring Katharine Hepburn in « Summertime » (1955)
I love movies.
Also, one thing you have to know, is that i love David Lean’s films. ALL of them. Some are weaker of course, but i insist on saying i love ALL of them, with a preference for some, but this is not the object of this post.
You’ve hardly ever read about movies here, as i do not pretend to be a movie critic. However, here is one particular film, i want to mention. David Lean used to say it was his favorite film, which could be surprising when you think about his other pictures such as Doctor Zhivago, of Lawrence of Arabia etc, etc…
This film is SUMMERTIME, a 1955 picture, starring Kathering Hepburn (aged 45 at the time) and Rossano Brazzi.
Here is a pretty acurate storyline, extracted from the IMDB, (written by Eugene Kim )
« Jane Hudson, a jaunty as well as attractive middle-aged secretary from Akron, Ohio, has finally made it to Venice, Italy, for her long-awaited dream vacation. Never-married Jane is a self-described « independent type » who’s content, or so she claims, to go it mostly alone, armed with her movie camera. Jane soon discovers that even in a city as beautiful and fascinating as Venice, going it alone can still leave one feeling terribly lonely. All that is about to change, starting with a brief encounter at an outdoor café in the Piazza San Marco, where Jane draws the attention of a handsome antiques-shop owner named Renato de Rossi ».
Well, the first reason i wanted to share this movie with you is its opening. Actually the title sequence. Look at these fabulous postcards.
Second, there is a scene which epitomizes the ultimate act of shopping. I can think of another scene like this. It’s the opening of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where another Miss Hepburn (Audrey this time) daydreams looking at the Tiffany’s window on the Fifth Avenue. Audrey Hepburn is longing for a glamourous, prosperous life in NYC, while older Miss Kate Hepburn who is so desperately feeling lonely is looking for romance. This sequence takes place roughly after one hour film (so, not long before the film’s conclusion). The old maid has finally accepted to let herself go, she’ll give in to her attraction to Rossano Brazzi. How does David Lean show her new set of mind? no « confidante » as she is so lonely. Well, the remedy is… shopping ! We can follow miss Hepburn in her joyful shopping spree and there she is, purchasing this pair of red shoes. [ I don't know what brand they are. At the time, Bottega Veneta was not founded yet, neither was René Caovilla (two venetian brands). My guess would be Salvatore Ferragamo, but if you have more information, please let me know]. These shoes will take her to the most romantic and (probably sensuous but David Lean is subtle enough not to show) night of her life, dancing, walking in the moonlight along the Canal. A right red shoe left alone on the balcony closes this absolutely romantic night. Our old maid and italian lover are getting to the point…
These red shoes are magic not just because they are stylish, trendy and outrageously expensive… Like Cinderella’s slippers (actually these red shoes are slippers) they will bring Miss Hepburn’s dreams to reality. They will transform the magic of the city into what she wishes most at that moment : love. Do we also buy our dreams when we go for 500-700€ shoes? Does it work? i wonder.
view Full movie on YOUTUBE (HD also available), or buy DVD.