- Language: English
- Subtitles: English, French, Japanese, Georgian
- Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00005JKQ6
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 242,340 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Swimmer [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Burt Lancaster gives one of his most daringly complex performances in The Swimmer, a fascinating adaptation of John Cheever's celebrated short story. At first it seems that middle-aged businessman Ned Merrill (Lancaster) is merely enjoying a spontaneous adventure, swimming from pool to pool among the well-tended estates of his affluent Connecticut neighbourhood. But as Ned encounters a variety of neighbours, we see from their reactions that he's on an entirely different kind of journey, balanced on the edge of some mysterious psychosis that we can't fully understand until the film's final, devastating image.
A compelling portrait of loss, refracted memories, and deep-rooted emotional denial, The Swimmer sprung from the same late-60s soil that yielded similarly ground-breaking literary films such as The Graduate and Goodbye, Columbus. It's an egotistical showcase for the physical prowess of its 55-year-old star, but Lancaster turns it into something deeper, more disturbing, and completely unforgettable. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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When I first saw the film I was a teenager and did not really grasp the full impact of the story being told. I don't usually go into more depth on a film plot/story, not wanting to spoil it for those who have not yet seen it.
But to get the full enjoyment of this film some explanation is required.
The theatrical poster is probably the best place to start it states: When you talk about "The Swimmer" will you talk about yourself?
Adapted from a short story written by John Cheever, the swimmer successfully translates into a thought provoking film. A good case study for story writers and English students the Swimmer is quite a lot more than it first appears. It is far more than a man simply visiting people and swimming in their pools.
Lancaster described the film as one of his favourite roles, even putting his own money into production to fund additional shooting. Frank Perry (and Sydney Pollack) direct a deep and traumatising film that is a long way off of conventional (and all the better for it)
Burt Lancaster (at the time in his mid 50's) looks in fantastic shape every bit the powerful fit swimmer you would expect. He plays the seemingly well liked Ned Merrill who on a bright sunny day decides to "swim home" through his neighbours pools. We quickly see that this is merely a symbolic representation, the day is really a journey through a man's life, with each pool we learn something new about Ned, as the day progresses the reception he receives is more hostile. The film starts in bright sunshine on a perfect day, and transitions to a dark and wet downpour. Again symbolic of a journey through life both physically but more importantly emotionally.
The pools Ned visits tell us more about the man. It's is apparent Ned was successful, well liked, had a loving family and children/wife, and financially well off, later we meet more people and it becomes obvious Ned has fallen on harder times and both emotionally and financially. Janice Rule puts in an excellent performance as Ned's former lover whom he has had an affair with (we assume some time has passed since then), with a scourn and bitterness in her tone she cruely dismantles Ned with her words. Ned starts off strong and fit, but ends up weak and cold, struggling to swim the last few pools.
There are many pools Ned visits each one tells more of the story of Ned so I won't spoil that for readers. I would pay attention to each one, and this is a film which deserves many repeat viewings to fully unravel the story of this man. In his journey through life (or the day/pools) Ned encounders moments of joy, sucess, inspiration, with sadness, despair, guilt and ultimately rejection; and in one scene openly mocked and belittled. This is a story that will strike a cord with many viewers as we can all draw something from this good and bad. (from our own journey through life)
The ending it has to be said is in my view one of the finest to ever grace a motion picture, which I don't wish to spoil for viewers, but it's a hugely powerful/devestating conclusion to what is in my view a very significant and quite outstanding film. The swimmer is often misunderstood, but deeply moving/tragic. If you want to watch a film that really does make you think/ponder, and in a meaningful way relate to your own life, you've just found it. The abstract nature of telling the story is both highly original and unique/quirky (treat each pool as an episode in Ned's life in some cases many years would have passed from pool to pool): there are few films that can ever hope to reach the heights this one does. A superb performance from Lancaster rounds off the treat, as does the solid performances from all the actors and a good soundtrack.
There are parts of the film that do leave things a little open to debate. Why is Ned so oblivious to what has happened in his life? There are scenes where reality conflict with Ned's perception (for example he say's the wife and kids are fine in one scene) greeted with frowns from his neighbours (clearly he is detached from reality his Wife and Children are long gone). Has Ned been away for some time and only just returned trying to live out his life as he thought it should be? Or is this another complex layer in the story telling? I can't answer all of these questions but the pieces of the puzzle are there in the film. Simple in some ways (the overall story and message), complex in other ways it's a fascinating journey to make and analyse.
I've watched this film dozens of times and only enjoy it more on each viewing.
And that ending...it just floors you every time I see it, a knock out blow...amazing.
Outstanding, daring, unique in it's presentation...a timeless masterpiece of storytelling. Cannot be praised highly enough.
Burt Lancaster was in his mid-fifties when this film was made, but has the body of a man half his age and at first the character he plays seems the model of success. However, as the film progresses it becomes clear that all is not what it seems and the film's climax is both shocking and heartbreaking.
This is one of the finest and most underrated American films of the 1960's. Burt Lancaster gives a mesmerising performance and it is nice to see Kim Hunter as well. From the beautiful opening, with its haunting score by Marvin Hamlisch, to the powerful climax, this is a wonderful film that deserves greater recognition.