The American secretary Jane Hudson (Katharine Hepburn) travels from Ohio to Venice. Jane is a middle-age single and lonely woman that has saved money for her dream trip. On the arrival, she immediately befriends the owner of the boarding house Signora Fiorini (Isa Miranda). During the night, she goes to a café and an Italian helps her to call the waiter. Jane feels sort of uncomfortable for being alone and on the next day, she sees a red glass goblet in the window of an antique store. The owner, Renato de Rossi (Rossano Brazzi), who is the man that helped her, explains that it is an ancient goblet from the eighteenth century and therefore expensive. Then he also explains that she should always bargain for a lower price in Venice. Jane recognizes Renato from the previous night and becomes clumsy. Soon Renato woos her, but the needy Jane is afraid to love.
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
User Reviews: The mood is leisurly, the pace deliberate, and the look of Venice is shimmering and magical. This "brief encounter" of an American spinster on vacation falling for a married, though separated, man is David Lean as his best. It is also one of Katherine Hepburn’s lovely performances. Having read about production problems with this film, it became all the more remarkable to watch. To name a few, Hepburn suffered severe eye damage from her spill in the stagnant canal (in a remarkable shot without use of a double) and the stench from the waters aggravated ailments left over from her previous "African Queen." Also her private life during the filming mirrored the quiet desparation of the heroine, due to personal circumstances. Yet all of this is amazingly hidden through the skill of Director Lean and his camera crew. It’s a Hepburn "spinster" role she played many times ("Alice Adams," "The Rainmaker") and no one could do it as convincingly. "Summertime" is a kind of film they don’t make any more–and for good reason: they couldn’t top it. Nor is there a "Hepburn" today able to carry a full production like this on her shoulders as effectively as this legendary actress.