I think your points are valid, Jon, and well taken. Yes, the treatment of the Perrys is mostly pretty poor. As somebody else pointed out this may be why Joan Rivers is in the doc. As a bit player that only worked a few days on the film she does not have much to add, a nice story about her scene with Lancaster, but is the one person who speaks highly of the Perrys. If you remove her from the doc it would play like 2.5 hours of people saying the Perrys screwed up this picture and had to be sacked to save it. I don't think that is a fair assessment at all. The Perrys had an interesting vision that they wanted to bring to the screen and the film mainly exists in the form it does because of them. I should say I don't think the makers of the documentary where intentionally trying to lynch the Perrys but let the recollections of the people they interviewed stand warts and all. Obviously the doc was made because these people were fans of the film and what the Perrys created. Who knows how much time or money they had to make the doc and maybe they did the best they could with the restraints they had.
Yes, I was the one who responded to Mr. Harris, saying that Joan's involvement in the doc was a very good thing because she spoke up for Frank and Eleanor and her story illustrated that our good man Burt was far from a saintly presence all the time on the set, which you would not really know, if she weren't there.
As much as I've kvetched about the shortcomings of the not-short-enough documentary, my main disappointment is that the Loden footage was not included, making me fear that Mr. Barbara Loden's (aka Elia Kazan) wish to have the negative burned was abided by by Mr. Spiegel. A shame. Loden was a great actress and a talented filmmaker, as evidenced by her masterful WANDA.
Years ago, I was thumbing through a bio of Burt and there was a pretty extensive passage on the filming of the scene with Ms. Loden. The implication was that Burt was uncomfortable with how powerful she was in the scene and was not cool with it, i.e. another actor being stronger than he, which, perhaps explains, the unscripted ripping down of her bikini top, which you can see in the stills and which is alluded to in the doc by Zachary or Hertzberg.
A few months ago, my mother had the occasion to speak with Rose Gregorio, who was married to the late Ulu Grosbard, and who acted in THE SWIMMER. My mother[font="arial, sans-serif;"] told the actress that I was a big admirer of her husband's film STRAIGHT TIME and also THE SWIMMER. Rose couldn't believe that anyone remembered THE SWIMMER...she said that the original actor who played her husband (in the public pool scene) was replaced after Burt punched him out; the star apparently did not like how the other actor touched him in rehearsals of their scene. Rose loves to talk [/font][font="arial, sans-serif;"] , according to my mom, and also later acted in Perry's fine telefilm DUMMY, so it's unfortunate that she not was not part of the SWIMMER doc, for whatever reason.[/font]