The Swimmer

Overview

John Cheever's "misery in suburbia" short stories, brief and to the point, have always proven excellent TV fodder. Director Frank Perry's The Swimmer, adapted for the screen by Perry's wife Eleanor, is a rare, and for the most part successful, attempt at offering a Cheever story in feature-length form. Dressed only in swimming trunks throughout the film, Burt Lancaster plays a wealthy, middle-aged advertising man, embarked on a long and revelatory journey through suburban Connecticut. Lancaster slowly makes his ...
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Overview

John Cheever's "misery in suburbia" short stories, brief and to the point, have always proven excellent TV fodder. Director Frank Perry's The Swimmer, adapted for the screen by Perry's wife Eleanor, is a rare, and for the most part successful, attempt at offering a Cheever story in feature-length form. Dressed only in swimming trunks throughout the film, Burt Lancaster plays a wealthy, middle-aged advertising man, embarked on a long and revelatory journey through suburban Connecticut. Lancaster slowly makes his way to his split-level home by travelling from house to house, and from swimming pool to swimming pool. At each stop, Lancaster comes face to face with an incident in his past. Informing Kim Hunter that he once harbored a secret love for her, Lancaster is mildly upset by Hunter's indifference. Elderly Cornelia Otis Skinner is incensed at Lancaster's intrusion in her backyard and orders him to leave. At the next home, Lancaster tries to seduce the nubile Janet Landgard, who'd once baby-sat for his daughters, but she runs away in horror. And so it goes: as each subsequent suburbanite peels off his self-protective veneer, Lancaster grows more and more disillusioned with what he thought was his ideal lifestyle. The more intensely painful episode is the confrontation between Lancaster and ex-mistress Janice Rule this scene was directed, without credit, by Sydney Pollack. Thoroughly defeated, the all-but-naked Lancaster laboriously makes his way through the Connecticut woods in a blinding rainstorm, desperately seeking out his own home where he fully expects his "loving" wife and daughters to greet him. Not this time. Dismissed as too self-consciously "arty" at the time of its release, The Swimmer's reputation increased over the decades following its release thanks to constant late-night TV exposure. The film represents the first movie work of 22-year-old composer Marvin Hamlisch.
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Special Features

Spectacular new digital restoration created from 4K scans for optimal picture quality; Over 2 1/2 hours of documentary featurettes by Oscar winner Chris Innis (The Hurt Locker) featuring in-depth interviews with stars Janet Landgard, Joan Rivers and Marge Champion, composer Marvin Hamlisch, film editor Sidney Katz, asistant directors Michael Hertzberg and ted Zachary, UCLA olympic swim coach Bob Horn, and Joanna Lancaster; The original New Yorker short story read by author John Cheever; Liner notes by legendary director Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator); Rare production stills from the lost alternate scenes; Extensive still galleries, trailers, and TV spots; And other surprises!
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Hastings
Burt Lancaster's imposing screen presence and lanky confidence were put to good use in this 1968 adaptation of John Cheever's allegorical short story. Lancaster plays Ned Merrill, a middle-aged man who decides one morning to swim every pool in his upper-class Connecticut neighborhood; with each new venue and its corresponding set of neighbors, Ned's personal history becomes clearer, and we begin to realize that he may not be as self-assuredly "okay" as he seems. Director Frank Perry retained Cheever's methodical structure and incisive wit, and Lancaster lent the role an eerie, somnambulant feel. An uncredited Sydney Pollack directed one of the most memorable sequences, in which Ned confronts his former mistress (Janice Rule). In an apparent attempt to appeal to audiences who had made Mike Nichols's The Graduate such a hit the previous year, Perry peppered the film with quick cuts, playful camera angles, and wry social satire; much of The Swimmer plays like an extended version of the opening party sequence in Nichols' film. Perry's efforts didn't resonate with audiences, however, as the film's box-office performance was lackluster.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/25/2014
  • UPC: 797679001024
  • Original Release: 1968
  • Rating:

  • Source: Grindhouse Releasing
  • Region Code: 0
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Bonus DVD / 2 PACK
  • Time: 1:35:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 11,904

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Burt Lancaster Ned
Janet Landgard Julie
Janice Rule Shirley
Diana Van Der Vlis Westerhazy
Tony Bickley Westerhazy
Marge Champion Forsburgh
Richard McMurray Forsburgh
Nancy Cushman Mrs. Halloran
House Jameson Mr. Halloran
Kim Hunter Graham
Charles Drake Graham
Jimmy Joyce Finney
Louise Troy Biswanger
Dolph Sweet Biswanger
David Garfield Ticket Seller
Bernie Hamilton Chauffeur
Michael Kearney Gilmartin
Diana Muldaur Cynthia
Keri Oleson Vernon
Joan Rivers Joan
Lisa Daniels Matron at the Biswangers' Pool
Bill Fiore Howie Hunsacker
John Gerstad Guest at the Bunkers' Pool
Rose Gregorio Sylvia Finney
Ray Mason Bunkers' Party Guest
Jan Miner Lillian Hunsacker
Cornelia Otis Skinner Mrs. Hammar
Technical Credits
Frank Perry Director, Producer
Peter Dohanos Art Director
Marvin Hamlisch Score Composer
Michael Hertzberg Asst. Director
John Jiras Makeup
Anna Hill Johnstone Costumes/Costume Designer
Sidney Katz Editor
John Kiras Makeup
Carl Lerner Editor
Roger Lewis Producer
Michael Nebbia Cinematographer
Eleanor Perry Screenwriter
David Quaid Cinematographer
Pat Somerset Editor
Elizabeth Stewart Costumes/Costume Designer
John Cheever Source Author
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Swimmer
1. Opening Credits [3:22]
2. Cocktail Hour [4:01]
3. Nice New Pink Lungs [1:08]
4. A New Pool to Conquer [3:18]
5. Best Filter Money Can Buy [5:09]
6. Permission to Use the Pool? [2:00]
7. Equestrian Reflections [1:59]
8. All Grown Up [1:44]
9. I'm Swimming Home [1:11]
10. Marigolds Montage [4:02]
11. Ever Drink Champagne? [4:57]
12. Riding Ring [3:12]
13. Walk Away From a Wicked City [1:30]
14. Heap of Wheat [3:51]
15. Natural Sense of Rhythm [1:43]
16. Friends Are Not Deductible [3:28]
17. Lemonade Stand [2:28]
18. Make Believe Hard Enough [4:30]
19. Caviar Munching Party [2:00]
20. Joan the Party Girl [2:25]
21. My Hot Dog Wagon! [2:06]
22. Licking the Wounds [:56]
23. Last Year's Suit [7:39]
24. That Smile On Your Face [4:57]
25. How Can I Swim in a Sweater? [5:17]
26. Crossing Traffic [1:03]
27. Wash Those Feet [4:06]
28. How Do You Like Out Water? [3:18]
29. Home is Where the Heart Is [6:11]
30. End Credits [1:18]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- The Swimmer
   Play
   Chapters
   Set-Up
      Audio Options
         Mono English Language Soundtrack
         Isolated Stereo Music Track
      Subtitle Options
         Subtitles Off
         English
         French
         Spanish
   Special Features
      The Story of The Swimmer
         Part 1: Backstroke
         Part 2: East River Crawl
         Part 3: Beneath the Surface
         Part 4: The Deep
         Part 5: Shallow End
         Play All
      Allison Anders Interviews Marge Champion
      John Cheever Reads The Swimmer
      Still Galleries
         Frank Perry's Storyboards
         Production Stills (Part 1)
         Production Stills (Part 2)
         Janet Landgard Stills
         Deleted Barbara Loden Scene
         U.S. Promotional Materials
         International Promotional Materials
         DVD-Rom Content
            DVD-Rom Content
      Trailers and TV Spots
         U.S. Theatrical Trailer
         TV Spot A
         TV Spot #1
         TV Spot #2
         TV Spot #X
         TV Spot #Y
         Play All
      Filmographies
         Frank Perry Filmography
         Eleanor Perry Filmography
         Janet Landgard Filmography
      Disc Credits
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