The Swimmer

Directed by Frank Perry (USA 1968; 95 mins. In English)

Based on John Cheever’s  1964 short story - originally published in The New Yorker - Frank Perry’s 1968 Technicolor film The Swimmer brings a touch of dark surrealism to tony summertime in New England. In the film, Ned Merrill (Burt Lancaster) attends a poolside cocktail party in his Connecticut upper class community. After realizing he could “swim his way home” through a series of backyard pools, Ned plunges into his journey from neighbor-to-neighbor. 

At each stop on his classic hero’s journey home, through the pools of wealthy Connecticuteers, Ned engages in uncanny conversations that seem dreamlike or memory-like through a highly stylized lens. One of Lancaster’s most iconic roles - often compared to the seminal performances of Kirk Douglas in Paths of Glory or Charlton Heston in Touch of Evil - Ned Merrill and his strange quest cast a slightly gothic shadow on Rockewellian, American suburbia, anticipating the turmoils that will change the country forever with the end of the decade.  

“As do few movies, The Swimmer stays in the memory like an echo that never quite disappears.” -The New York Times

Available on several streaming platforms, among which are Amazon and YouTube.

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