By Dennis Hartley
(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on August 9, 2014)
The Swimmer – Grindhouse Releasing Blu-ray
A riveting performance from Burt Lancaster fuels this 1968 drama from Frank Perry (and a non-credited Sydney Pollack, who took over direction after Perry dropped out of the project). It was adapted for the screen by Eleanor Perry, from a typically dark and satirical John Cheever story. Lancaster’s character is on a Homeric journey; working his way home via a network of backyard swimming pools. Each encounter with friends and neighbors (who apparently have not seen him in some time) fits another piece into the puzzle of a troubled, troubled man. It’s an existential suburban nightmare that can count American Beauty and The Ice Storm among its descendants.
Grindhouse Releasing’s Blu-ray features a restored transfer that showcases David L. Quaid’s superb cinematography, plus an absorbing 2 1/2 hour “making of” doc.