Burt Lancaster stars as a suburban bum who, in retracing his steps from pool to pool, illuminates the causes of his downfall. The stylized, episodic, moody film, based on John Cheever's dramatic fantasy, is something of a minor triumph in collaborative filmmaking.

Burt Lancaster stars as a suburban bum who, in retracing his steps from pool to pool, illuminates the causes of his downfall. The stylized, episodic, moody film, based on John Cheever’s dramatic fantasy, is something of a minor triumph in collaborative filmmaking.

Lancaster, in swim trunks throughout, pops up on a sunny Sunday morning at a suburban poolside, miles away from his house, and decides to ‘swim’ home by visiting at each neighbor’s house. Each self-contained sequence adds indirect light to Lancaster himself; he is compulsively gregarious, compulsively youthful, compulsively sexual, compulsively self-deluded. Film is the story of a moral hangover, with the sobered-up bewildered man retracing his steps to see what he has done.

Without detailing the large cast, suffice it to say that performances, direction and writing hit the target. Lancaster emerges with a strong achievement, that of a pitiable middle-aged Joe College.

The Swimmer

Production

Columbia/Horizon. Director Frank Perry; Producer Frank Perry, Roger Lewis; Screenplay Eleanor Perry; Camera David L. Quaid, Michael Nebbia; Editor Sidney Katz, Carl Lerner, Pat Somerset; Music Marvin Hamlisch; Art Director Peter Dohanos

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1968. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Burt Lancaster Janet Landgard Janice Rule Marge Champion Kim Hunter Joan Rivers
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