- Feb 8, 1999
- Real Name
- Robert Harris
I've always been a huge fan of the work of Frank and Eleanor Perry, especially two productions Last Summer (1969), which is sorely missed on Blu-ray, and David and Lisa (1962).
Falling somewhere between the two is The Swimmer (1968), which places powerhouse actor Burt Lancaster in the lead of a troubled low-budget production.
While I like The Swimmer very much, I'll readily admit that I've never been quite certain where it's going, or where it wants to be. I just like and respect it.
As released on Blu-ray via Grindhouse Releasing, the Columbia production arrives in great form.
Color, densities, black levels, resolution, grain structure are all up to Columbia / Sony standards.
As a release, Grindhouse is marching in line with Criterion and Twilight Time, with a 12 page monograph and what is essentially a 2 1/2 hour documentary, neatly broken up into chapters. I did sample the documentary, and there are enough survivors of the production, along with some archival footage to make it work. The overall history of the project is at times astonishing, as it seems that it was completed only by luck, perseverance and an overall desire not to lose the financial investment. The only odd note to me, was the inclusion of Joan Rivers, in what was apparently her first "major" role. Ms Rivers does have some interesting comments, but I presume that her inclusion came from going through the list of participants trying to find those alive, willing and able to give their time.
Bottom line is that The Swimmer is a superb Blu-ray experience. Based upon a story by John Cheever, a screenplay by Eleanor Perry, as well as the first score from the great Marvin Hamlisch. The film was produced via Sam Spiegel's Horizon Pictures. Above the line talent is all in place.
Image - 5
Audio - 5
As an aside to the folks at Grindhouse, "Nicely done. More, please…"