Watch Now: THE SWIMMER
Six years after they created David and Lisa, a film based on Theodore Isaac Rubin’s novella that brought them Academy Award nominations, screenwriter Eleanor Perry and director Frank Perry made The Swimmer, another literary adaptation that stood the test of time and became one of the most interesting American films of the sixties. They managed to perfectly transfer John Cheever’s allegorical short story of the same name to the big screen, with a huge contribution from Burt Lancaster in the lead role of a middle-aged man who attends a pool party at his friends’ house and gets an ingenious idea of swimming through a chain of backyard pools in that affluent Connecticut suburb leading him all the way to his home.
On this allegorical journey through the neighborhood, Lancaster’s swimmer encounters a series of people, including former lovers, friends and acquaintances, some of whom greet him enthusiastically, while others aren’t shy about showing animosity and judgment. With each encounter we learn a bit more about his life and character, with the tone gradually shifting from the joyous beginning to the somber ending. In the words of Roger Ebert, The Swimmer is a strange, stylized work, a brilliant and disturbing one. The Swimmer was shot in 1966, but after Fred Perry was fired by producer Sam Spiegel, young Sydney Pollack was brought in to do reshoots and complete the film in 1967.