Dive into 60’s cult oddity THE SWIMMER
Grindhouse Releasing one of our very favorite home video labels have introduced a whole new audience to classic exploitation and cult cinema with their fantastic DVD and Blu Rays over the years. Their attention to quality is unmatched and the bonus content they include on their discs really make every title they present a special event for film aficionados. Their newest acquisition is a gem that I just recently found out about due to it being shown on TCM thanks to guest host Gilbert Gottfried who chose it as part of his line up of films.
Burt Lancaster stars as Ned Merill, an ad executive who resides in the affluent Connecticut suburbs. One early autumn day he appears in the yard of some friends who own a pool. While talking with them he suddenly gets an urge to take a swim. This inspires him to do something rather odd: make his way home (all the way across the county) by stopping and swimming in several of his old friends’ pools. Ned’s swimming tour takes him and us on a journey from his past to his present. Yet what begins as a joyous freeing excursion slowly descends into a look at the darker side of his personal life.
The Swimmer which was directed by Frank Perry (and an uncredited Sydney Pollack) was not a success when it was released by Columbia Pictures in 1968 (two years after it was made). Like many films with similar backgrounds, that didn’t keep it from developing a cult status and get many critics to regard it as as classic albeit a very strange one. For those with an open mind and a curiousity for the unusual side of cinema, The Swimmer will be a truly memorable experience. Grindhouse Releasing’s upcoming Blu Ray/DVD will be a perfect way to see it for the first time.