This is the first time I've seen this film. It was delightful. The visual aspects of the story were surprisingly romantic, simple while touching, and the cinematography captures the desolation of Katharine Hepburn's character in a very unusual way, making her presence in Venice one of the best tourism stories I've experienced in my life as a movie enthusiastic. As usual in Lean's films, the train has a lot of importance, it's a symbol, a feeling, a state of mind. I found this shot simply gorgeous. It shows the energy of the stranger, her mood, her happiness, just before the sadness appears.
Jack Hildyard makes Venice the other important character in the story. Let me say that, having been to Venice, the city is not so sad. It's simply beautiful, but Hildyard, as a good cinematographer, chooses just what is important for the character's evolution. We fall in love with the images, with the city's spirit. Lean uses the city's structure to show the feelings. Flowers on the water, the importance of the bridges, the lady falling down to the canals... I may not have chosen one of Hepburn's beautiful close up shots, given that her face, her eyes, were so revealing for the movie's understanding.
To me, the best shot was this. It contains the essence of the movie, the story's theme. As we follow Hepburn in the city at the beginning of her holiday, we don't expect this to happen at all. It's like a punch in our hearts. Loneliness versus multitude. Sadness versus joy. We understand Hepburn even if we are not watching her face at that moment. It's just unnecessary. We also experience the town, the noise, the sense of an union between all the people present there. A perfect picture just interrupted by Hepburn, the stranger presence. Lean and Hildyard make that possible with enchanting visuals and rhythm, calm and poetry. Summertime is an impressive piece of art, and you should watch it right now if you haven't seen it yet.