Review: The Swimmer
Blu-ray: The Swimmer (1968)
Starring Burt Lancaster as Ned Merrill, who at first seems to be the late 60s everyman, successful, affluent, charismatic, yet here he is, in your back garden, wanting to swim across your pool.
I vaguely remember watching this as a kid with my dad who was a big Burt Lancaster fan, and the feeling of unease, of ‘otherness’ remained with me.
Often called a ‘surreal’ film (it isn’t) The Swimmer is all matter of allegorical American story telling.
Ned decides to ‘swim home’ through every pool he comes across (all owned by ‘friends’) and his story is revealed pool to pool. Is he unhinged? Are his daughters really at home playing tennis? Is he rich? Where is his wife?
I know a lot of film fans think Burt is a one trick pony when it comes to acting (The Sweet Smell of Success – Elmer Gantry proves this isn’t the case) and here he gives such a gently nuanced performance you ache for him yet find him annoying and entitled all at the same time.
As he goes from bright sun to pouring rain, we see the arc of his life. Personally – and despite still having the feeling of unease when watching this film (which to me shows its power and effect) I think this is a real classic of cinema, to be read in so many ways.
Odd yet real, the dialogue IS obviously dialogue, yet the whole thing works and remains with you long after viewing.
INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
- 2014 restoration from a 4K scan of the original negative
- Original mono audio
- Audio commentary with Frank Perry biographer Justin Bozung (2022)
- Marge Champion on ‘The Swimmer’(2013, 18 mins): onstage interview with the actor, conducted by filmmaker Allison Anders at the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival, TCL Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, after a screening of The Swimmer
- Against the Tide (2022, 11 mins): actor, comedian and filmmaker Richard Ayoade discusses the unique genius of the Perrys’ film
- ‘The Swimmer’ Read by John Cheever(2004, 26 mins): the original New Yorkershort story read by the author
- Title sequence outtakes
- Isolated music & effects track
- Original theatrical trailer
- Illeana Douglas trailer commentary (2019, 6 mins)
- TV spots
- Image galleries: storyboards, deleted scenes, promotional and publicity material
- New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Limited edition exclusive 80-page book with a new essay by Sophie Monks Kaufman, a profile of writer John Cheever, extracts from interviews with Frank Perry and Eleanor Perry on the making of the film, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
- Limited edition exclusive poster
- UK premiere on Blu-ray
- Limited edition of 5,000 copies for the UK
Released 29th August 2022.
Review by Tina from a disc kindly supplied by Powerhouse Films.