Written by: George Pacheco on March 25th, 2014
BluRay Release Date: March 25th, 2014
Approximate Running Time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
BluRay Release: Grindhouse Releasing
Region Encoding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
The film stars famed Hollywood actor Burt Lancaster in what many deem to be his finest film performance, a statement which is difficult to argue when viewing The Swimmer even now, some forty plus years after its initial release in 1968. Lancaster stars as Ned Merrill, a man who decides on one gorgeous Summer afternoon to “swim home” through all of his neighbors’ pools-whether invited or not-on his way home to his proverbial “house on the hill.” Merrill’s American dream is crumbling around him, however, and we the audience are made privy to exactly what his friends and neighbors think of him as he makes his way from pool to pool, house to house, truth to hard, hurtful truth.
The Swimmer is a film mired in glorious allegory and metaphor, anchored by Lancaster’s immense performance as Ned Merrill; a man whose story is understandable and universal, yet self-induced and tragic. Merrill is a big fish in a small pond, a physically fit 52 year old who is described as a “suburban stud at one point,” yet who harbors some deep seeded mental frustration due to the crumbling state of his life’s affairs, not the least of which is the fleeting nature of his youth.
Lancaster is supported by a fantastic ensemble cast, as well, not the least of which is Donna Reed star Janet Landgard in a particularly memorable role as the Merrill’s young babysitter Julie Ann Hooper. Her screen presence is dynamic, and her scenes alongside Lancaster serves as some of the most iconic screen images from the film. Additionally, a young Joan Rivers also makes a brief appearance in The Swimmer, in one of her earliest Hollywood roles.
The film’s gorgeous nature photography is a true joy, and captures every nuance of Lancaster’s character perfectly, while legendary Hollywood composer Marvin Hamlisch provides a brilliant score which understates every emotional reaction on the screen. It isn’t every day that a movie such as The Swimmer is released to the screen, but thankfully Grindhouse Releasing has realized the glory of this film, and how its impact can continue to be felt, so many years after its original theatrical run.
The Swimmer is simply one of the must-see home video releases of 2014.
Grindhouse Releasing presents The Swimmer in its original 1080 Progressive Widescreen presentation, complete with exquisite picture and perfect sound. Prior DVD editions of the film are now long out of print, so this Blu Ray and DVD combo pack from Grindhouse arrives at a perfect time for movie fans to rediscover this cult Columbia Pictures gem. Grindhouse has also provided over two hours of extras, including documentary featurettes, cast/crew interviews and rare production stills from alternate scenes which were thought to be lost.
Additionally, this Blu Ray and DVD also contains the original short story from The New Yorker magazine, read by its author John Cheever, as well as liner notes from Re-animator director Stuart Gordon, still galleries, trailers and TV spots. Grindhouse Releasing scores once again with this package of The Swimmer, pulling out all the stops to provide all of the history and accolades a film of this stature deserves.