Sunny Summer Cinema

July 15, 2016 | Muriel

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Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; 
to me those have always been the two 
most beautiful words in the English language.
~Henry James (1843 to 1916)

I have noticed that free outdoor screenings of movies in Toronto have been opening up like wildflowers in the sun! From Mel Lastman Square to Yonge-Dundas Square to St. James Park to Harbourfront to Sugar Beach and more locations, these screenings have reminded me about some wonderful films with gorgeous sunny summer scenery.


Italy comes to my mind right away as a glorious setting for sunny summer cinema. La Dolce Vita stars the handsome and inimitable Marcello Mastroianni as a journalist looking for love and happiness, over seven days and nights, in Rome. Jep, an aging socialite, is also looking for meaning in the summer in Rome in The Great Beauty. In Mid-August Lunch, Gianni still lives with his elderly mother in Rome. He ends up taking care of several other mothers, in addition to his own, on the August 15 Ferragosto Roman holiday.

La Dolce Vita      The Great Beauty      Mid-August Lunch

Leaving her cheating husband behind in the United States, Diane Lane stars as Frances Mayes in Under the Tuscan Sun. Frances buys a rural Tuscan villa and struggles to start her life over again. Probably my favourite film of all time is A Room with a View, which is based on the novel by EM Forster. It stars Helena Bonham Carter as an Edwardian woman with a chaperone in Florence, who falls in love there with a passionate, free-spirited Englishman. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is a wonderful comedy starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni as three different Italian couples in Naples, Milan and Rome.

Under the Tuscan Sun      A Room with a View      Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

One of the most delightful films I have seen which is set in Paris is How to Steal a Million, with Audrey Hepburn starring as an art forger's daughter. She hires a cat burglar to steal back from a museum her father's reproduced sculpture before it is too late. In Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, aspiring novelist Gil tours Paris on his own, late at night, meeting Jazz Age cultural heroes and becoming more dissatisfied with his present life. In To Catch a Thief, Cary Grant is a retired cat burglar living on the French Riviera. Grace Kelly plays beautiful heiress Francie, whose jewels are stolen, and when the cat burglar becomes a suspect, he must catch the real thief and clear his own name.

How to Steal a Million      Midnight in Paris      To Catch a Thief

The sun actually shines in England in Sense and Sensibility! Emma Thompson plays Elinor Dashwood and Kate Winslet, her sister, and both strive for love despite reduced circumstances due to the death of their father (Sense and Sensibility will be screened outdoors at Harbourfront on August 24). In the beloved musical My Fair Lady, pompous phonetics professor Henry Higgins, played by Rex Harrison, is sure that he can transform a Cockney working-class girl (played by Audrey Hepburn) into someone who can pass for a cultured member of high society. One of my favourite actresses, Brenda Blethyn, stars as Grace Trevethen in Saving Grace. When Grace's late husband leaves her a manor on the Cornish coast with a massive debt, she gets an outrageous idea to raise money.

Sense and Sensibility My Fair Lady Saving Grace

Another sunny film comes from Mexico, Like Water for Chocolate.  A young girl named Tita longs her entire life to marry her lover, Pedro, but cannot since she is the youngest daughter and must care for her mother until the day she dies. In The Seven Year Itch, a faithful husband is tempted during a New York heatwave by a beautiful neighbour, played by Marilyn Monroe.  

From Australia comes The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, about two drag queens, and a transgender woman played by Terence Stamp, as they journey across the Australian outback in a tour bus they have named "Priscilla." 

Like Water for Chocolate      The Seven Year Itch      The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Back home in Canada, in The Grand Seduction, the residents of a small fishing community in Newfoundland try to charm a doctor into staying there. In My American Cousin, a 12-year-old British Columbia girl's American cousin introduces her to rock music and makes her swoon; and in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, the younger son of a working-class Jewish family in Montreal yearns to make a name for himself in society.

The Grand Seduction      My American Cousin      The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

Come and join us for films and programs on related topics, and keep cool on hot days, at Toronto Public Library.

La bibliothèque York Woods vous invite à profiter d'un bon film, Starbuck, lundi le 15 août de 18 h à 20 h.  Le film sera suivi d'une discussion. Pour trouver plus d'informations, s'il vous plaît appelez-nous au 416-395-5980.