22 Summertime

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Martha
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22 Summertime

#1 Post by Martha » Sat Feb 12, 2005 10:07 pm

Summertime

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/257/22_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

An American spinster’s dream of romance finally becomes a bittersweet reality when she meets a handsome—but married—Italian man while vacationing in Venice. Katharine Hepburn’s sensitive portrayal of the lonely heroine and Jack Hildyard’s glorious Technicolor photography make Summertime an endearing and visually enchanting film.

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- The original theatrical trailer

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Toshiro De Niro
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 10:16 pm

#2 Post by Toshiro De Niro » Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:02 am

I've discovered that the edition from the Essential Art House Set includes removable English subtitles while the retail edition does not. The transfers appear to be the same though.

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Highway 61
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#3 Post by Highway 61 » Sun May 13, 2007 5:08 am

I just saw a magnificent print of this last night celebrating Hepburn's centennial. What a beauty the film is! The only flaw that I can find with the film is that it can't be watched alone, which I stupidly did. Hepburn and Brazzi's romance is so genuine, and Jack Hildyard's portrait of Venice so stunning, that the film leaves you yearning for love. I can't imagine a more perfect date movie.

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Darth Lavender
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#4 Post by Darth Lavender » Sun May 13, 2007 7:54 am

Highway 61 wrote:I can't imagine a more perfect date movie.
What about The Collector?

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Highway 61
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#5 Post by Highway 61 » Mon May 14, 2007 12:50 am

That's more wedding night material.

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Lino
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#6 Post by Lino » Mon May 14, 2007 10:31 am

:lol:

Touché!

skweeker
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Re: 22 Summertime

#7 Post by skweeker » Fri Apr 03, 2009 5:08 pm

This is a lovely film: it seems to me that when the use of color film was relatively more rare than what it later became, that it was used to greater effect.

And what was up, with Sir David Lean and trains?

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Matt
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Re: 22 Summertime

#8 Post by Matt » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:18 pm

I am going to do the very thing I normally roll my eyes at and ask if there's any inkling that Criterion or the BFI will put this out on Blu-ray soon. I had always avoided this film, I think because I got it mixed up in my head with Suddenly Last Summer and kind of can't stand Kate Hepburn when she does her neurotic schtick. But I caught the last 2/3 of it on TCM the other night and was riveted to the screen. Those colors! Those camera movements! Those location shots!

And yes, I know there's a nice Japanese Blu-ray.

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jindianajonz
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Re: 22 Summertime

#9 Post by jindianajonz » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:25 pm

I haven't seen anything official, but this is the earliest title still in print that has yet to be upgraded to Blu. Since there's a pattern of rereleasing their earlier spine numbers, I wouldn't be surprised if this came out sooner rather than later.

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Matt
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Re: 22 Summertime

#10 Post by Matt » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:36 pm

All of the Lean films that Criterion put out very early on now seem quite overdue on Blu-ray. Seems odd to have a relatively minor film like Blithe Spirit out on Blu-ray while this film and the two Dickens adaptations languish on 14-year-old DVDs. There was a major restoration of the film done by the BFI in 2002-2003, so I can't imagine lack of satisfactory elements is the hold-up.

rwaits
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Re: 22 Summertime

#11 Post by rwaits » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:58 pm

I think your initial post says it - it's considered kind of minor Lean. I've talked to quite a few Lean fans who haven't even seen it. I agree that it's an absolutely charming little film, and is an amazing Technicolor achievement that badly deserves an upgrade. From what I've been told it's not an immediate priority unfortunately.

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Matt
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Re: 22 Summertime

#12 Post by Matt » Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:11 pm

And yet it was Lean's favorite of his own films.

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Gregory
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Re: 22 Summertime

#13 Post by Gregory » Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:30 pm

I find that starting in the 1950s, Hepburn had a hard time getting cast as strong characters that showcase her talents as an actor (Desk Set being a notable exception), and that most these later-career works were bogged down in a lot of familiar clichés of older women, though I suppose I'm thankful she sternly avoided descending into the kind of grotesque roles seen in Bette Davis's later career.
Summertime is a lovely-looking film, though, and I think it should be a priority for Criterion to upgrade all of those now-inferior transfers from about 15 years ago especially if there are HD masters that can be used. They may not want to round up all manner of special features for a rerelease, so I imagine they could just release it as a lower-tier and it'd do just fine even though it's considered a minor Lean.
Last edited by Gregory on Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Matt
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Re: 22 Summertime

#14 Post by Matt » Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:39 pm

I'm sure some would complain, but I would be totally happy with a lower-tier release. Importing the Japanese Blu-ray looks to run about $40.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: 22 Summertime

#15 Post by matrixschmatrix » Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:24 pm

I feel as though this and the two Lean Dickens adaptations are among the most in need of upgrade spine numbers in the collection- a real upgrade that added on some commentaries or visual essays or whatever would be great, but just something to up the PQ would be wonderfully worthwhile. I really loved this movie, and while Hepburn's character arc may be somewhat cliched, it's not a cliche I can remember all that many movies about- and I think Hepburn's performance (along with the supporting cast) gave what could have been a kind of bland Italian travelogue a pleasing specificity, one that made it possible to care about them.

ryannichols7
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Re: 22 Summertime

#16 Post by ryannichols7 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:45 pm

didn't ITV and the BFI restore Lean's first 10 movies earlier this decade? all 10 should be put out by Criterion...

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Drucker
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Re: 22 Summertime

#17 Post by Drucker » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:13 pm

ryannichols7 wrote:didn't ITV and the BFI restore Lean's first 10 movies earlier this decade? all 10 should be put out by Criterion...
Many were restored for his centennial...not sure if any of those pre-Kwai films were excluded.

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Jeff
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Re: 22 Summertime

#18 Post by Jeff » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:12 pm

I had the exact same experience watching the TCM broadcast as Matt the other day. I had never seen it before, and had always heard it written off as lesser Lean. It's certainly not. What a gorgeous film!

The Criterion DVD, the Japanese Blu-ray, and the TCM presentation are all mis-framed at 1.33. Bob Furmanek presents the hard evidence for 1.85 at Home Theater Forum. The opportunity to present the film properly should be impetus enough for a Blu upgrade.

Since it was shot in mid-1954, I suppose this could be among the handful of films, like On the Waterfront or Touch of Evil, where we know that it was designed to be screened theatrically at 1.85, but there is some controversy as to whether or not that was the director's preference or an unwanted compromise. Criterion could present at multiple ratios again. One only need to look at DVD Beaver to see that there's way too much headroom though.

Fortisquince
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Re: 22 Summertime

#19 Post by Fortisquince » Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:35 am

Funny, I too watched Summertime for the first time on Sunday on TCM and really enjoyed it. Hepburn's performance is wonderful and I usually don't care for her all that much. The film didn't look so bad, but I kept thinking the whole time that I was watching it that Criterion should upgrade it.

Jonathan S
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Re: 22 Summertime

#20 Post by Jonathan S » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:25 am

I'm very surprised that Summertime is considered "minor Lean" in some quarters or that there are "Lean fans who haven't seen it" (unless through lack of opportunity). It's a key film in his career, the transition between the studio-based, mostly black & white films and the location-shot epics. I'd say it's the first movie in which he makes really creative, symbolic use of colour and perhaps his most personal one, a film about the emotionally isolating effect of film-making (or viewing) like Peeping Tom or Rear Window.

Jane in the film is a surrogate for Lean, creating a romantic fantasy of Venice for herself with the aid of her movie camera which - like her sunglasses - she hides behind. The beginning of her real emotional and sexual involvement is signalled when (in a close-up) she puts down her camera to look at the red goblet in Renato's shop. Many of Lean's films - Brief Encounter, Kwai, Ryan's Daughter among them - are about the dangers (and delights) of subjectivism, of creating an alternative world from your imagination, but none more explicitly so.

When I programmed a Lean season for an arts cinema in 1982, they didn't mind my omission of Doctor Zhivago but there was never any doubt we'd include Summertime!

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jindianajonz
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Re: 22 Summertime

#21 Post by jindianajonz » Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:48 pm

Jeff wrote:One only need to look at DVD Beaver to see that there's way too much headroom though.
I'm not doubting that it was intended to be 1.85:1, but a I think a few of those shots (the one with the woman with a white striped dress, the one of the plaza, and the one with Hepburn sitting next to the water) would look much worse in a wider frame. The latter especially gives off a sense of loneliness that would be greatly diminished if she were framed a little tighter.

Also, I emailed Mulvaney about the prospects of this being upgraded, and got the standard "No plans at this time that I know of" response.

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Matt
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Re: 22 Summertime

#22 Post by Matt » Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:52 pm

I got the same response, but I think the current Mulvaney is just giving canned responses. He invited me, ME of all people, to "stay up-to-date on our future release plans" by visiting the "Coming Soon" section of the website. Fabulous response time, though: less than two hours.

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Feego
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Re: 22 Summertime

#23 Post by Feego » Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:55 pm

I got the "No plans at this time" response about a Black Narcissus upgrade about a year before they announced it, so take that as you will.

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Re: 22 Summertime

#24 Post by giovannii84 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:30 am

The Australian DVD release features an audio commentary by Dr. Mark Nicholls, Lecturer in Cinema Studies, University of Melbourne. If Criterion decides to upgrade this on BluRay, or re-release the DVD, they could try to include this commentary as an extra.

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