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The Swimmer (1968)

Approved | | Drama | 15 May 1968 (USA)
Neddy Merrill has been away for most of the Summer. He reappears at a friends pool. As they talk, someone notices that there are pools spanning the entire valley. He decided to jog from ... See full summary »

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (story)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Janet Landgard ...
Julie Hooper
...
Shirley Abbott
Tony Bickley ...
Donald Westerhazy
...
Peggy Forsburgh
Nancy Cushman ...
Mrs. Halloran
Bill Fiore ...
Howie Hunsacker
David Garfield ...
Ticket Seller (as John Garfield Jr.)
...
Betty Graham
Rose Gregorio ...
Sylvia Finney
...
...
Chauffeur
House Jameson ...
Mr. Halloran
Jimmy Joyce ...
Jack Finney
Michael Kearney ...
Kevin Gilmartin
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Storyline

Neddy Merrill has been away for most of the Summer. He reappears at a friends pool. As they talk, someone notices that there are pools spanning the entire valley. He decided to jog from pool to pool to swim the whole valley. As he stops in each pool his interactions tell his life story. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The famed John Cheever short story appeared in the New Yorker and people talked. Now there will be talk again. When you sense this man's vibrations and share his colossal hang-up . . . will you see someone you know, or love? When you feel the body-blow power of his broken dreams, will it reach you deep inside, where it hurts? When you talk about "The Swimmer" will you talk about yourself? See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 May 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Schwimmer  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cornelia Otis Skinner: As Mrs. Hammar. See more »

Goofs

Julie's hair goes from brushed to windblown and back again several times in the same sequence. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Donald Westerhazy: Where have you been keeping yourself?
Ned Merrill: Oh, here and there. Here and there.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Baywatch: The Swimmer (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

It works, most of the way
20 December 2006 | by (The Dutch Mountains) – See all my reviews

Based on the New Yorker short story by John Cheever, Burt Lancaster is the wealthy Connecticut suburbanite Ned Merrill. Clad only in swimming trunks, he decides to swim his way home, through the pools of all his friends and neighbours. Soon, we begin to realize, something is out of place, as each encounter reveals something more about Ned's past, while he is progressively disintegrating.

An improbable premise, but it works, with cleverly written dialog laced with cynicism. Not surprisingly, it's largely carried by Burt Lancaster's credible performance as a middle-aged man in crisis. In one scene we see Burt Lancaster and Janet Landgard just running around some fields in swimming trunks and bikini in slow-motion. Then the music works, and intrigues, but while the scene would have been great for one minute, it goes on and on, accompanied by an ever more corny music score, until the initial effect has gone completely. If I was to guess Marvin Hamlisch' film scoring debut blindly, I would guess it was composed in 1938. Hopelessly old-fashioned and almost ruining the film's impact the final scene.

His music is a definite turn-down here. Not untypical of many '60s films, but especially in the last scene, it undermines the final impact, with a wrap-up, that was already not very satisfying.

The film was deliberately shot with out-of-focus photography, supposedly in tune with Lancaster's disoriented state of mind. An approach quite popular in the late sixties, but it seems to have resulted in bad DVD-reviews three decades later, with complaints about bad transfers with washed-out colours, damaged prints etcetera. Nevertheless, worth seeing.

Camera Obscura --- 8/10


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Burt Lancaster's looks and build. east215
God Awful Hamlisch Soundtrack wrose-3
Where did Ned come from? mike-2620
Film compared to original Cheever story mackjay2
This film is so underrated TheGreatApplesauceCaper
What happened to ‘The Swimmer’ 2004 re-make with Alec Baldwin? john_s_wales
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