The answer to the "How much of a classic is Summertime" can be firmly dealt with by skipping straight to the love scene--a dropped shoe, squarely in the middle of the shot, and a excited, guttural sigh. Cut to fireworks in the sky over Venice. That's the kind of film one's in for--a straight ahead serious piece of entertainment, in Technicolor from 1955. Hepburn is as angular as ever, all sharp edged bones draped in ugly dresses with a messy hairstyle--and as striking as one hopes all older actresses would have the maturity to become. She's doesn't possess the type of heavy beauty that a Jolie jiggles, she's something far more intimidating: a creature who maintains a level of sensual attraction even as she actively repels it, throwing out chunks of her goofy language and overreacting to imagined slights. In short, she's complicated and ridiculously honest in her portrayal of a lonely middle-aged, middle-income American tourist--and it's a brilliant thing to see. In tandem with her performance is Rossano Brazzi, playing the kind of aging Lothario that all lonely spinsters hope to meet. He's well-groomed, aggressively flirtatious and confident--and it doesn't hurt that he's handsome, either. While the film is clearly going to follow the two as soon as they meet, and the ending is reliably predictable, anyone who turns to a David Lean piece and expects non-stop surprises needs to cut down on their Jack Bauer. As trite and as cliched as the statement goes, it has to be said:
"They don't make 'em like this anymore."
-Tucker Stone, 2007