Making its UK Blu-ray premiere with a gorgeous Limited Edition release thanks to those lovely folks at Indicator/Powerhouse, Frank Perry’s The Swimmer remains a unique, insightful, and surreal drama.
Based on the 1964 12-page short story of the same name by John Cheever, The Swimmer expands upon the source story’s tale while retaining its simple premise. On a sunny day in an affluent Connecticut suburb, a fit, middle-aged, all-American man (Burt Lancaster) drops by a pool party being held by old friends. After realizing there is a series of backyard swimming pools that could form a “river” back to his house, the man begins a surreal journey to “swim his way home”.
With a sharp satirical edge, The Swimmer was a box-office bomb at the time of release back in ‘68 and has largely faded into obscurity in the years since. It’s a shame, because the film certainly deserves to be celebrated in the same breath as other films of the counter-culture era like The Graduate and Easy Rider. This is a fascinating, funny, and oddly compelling drama that gets under the viewer’s skin with its’ unique sense of mystery and its prescient snapshot of the darker side of the American Dream.
The film looks absolutely astounding on Blu-ray, with David L. Quaid’s golden, sun-soaked cinematography inviting the viewer right into the swimming pool. A wealth of special features offer essential insight into this obscure and fascinating title, alongside the 80-page book packed 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”.
The Swimmer is a unique and fascinating time capsule of late-1960s cinema, lavishly restored and presented in a beautiful Limited Edition release.
THE SWIMMER is available from Indicator/Powerhouse as a UK premiere Blu-ray, in a Limited Edition (5,000 copies) featuring a poster and 80-page book