THE SWIMMER coming to DVD in April?!

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jeff Ulmer, Feb 3, 2003.

  1. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I spent the weekend updating my site for The Swimmer with a list of possible features for a DVD release. Today I received an email from a gentleman pointing me to Movies Unlimited, which has an April 29 release date listed for the DVD...

    I am somewhat sceptical, but am having my sources look into it, but if true, I am both pleased and disappointed that I didn't learn about it sooner, as I have long had materials which would have been gladly donated to the release.

    However, even if the disc doesn't include the 6 trailers I have, I still welcome a DVD release of this exquisite and unique film, possibly Burt Lancaster's finest film performance.
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Jeff,
    I hope your source is correct, but I'm a little skeptical. If it's true then we should be getting some official announcement in the next couple of weeks. A great performance by Lancaster and one of his best.
     
  3. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!

    just read this on Dvdfile.
    hell, while supplemental material would have been wonderful , i am just soooooo glad to finally hear an announcement for this.

    the only "special feature" i desperately want is the films OAR ( and i still haven't gotten a definitive answer on what that is, although i would assume its 1.75-85...the bigger question is was it soft matted?)


    for me, this is one of (if not THE) Holy Grail catalog titles i've been pining for.
     
  4. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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  5. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    while no features or specs have been mentioned, i'm certainly not expecting much for a title that isn't even on a lot of peoples radar (but should be).

    personally, i would love to hear about Lancasters involvement, what attracted him to the project, the way the 60s drug culture may have influenced the story (and storytelling), etc, etc.

    but in the end, the movie is what matters the most.
    i've only seen this on a full frame VHS, and although i can't remember any egregious examples of telecine scanning, it's been a while, and i probably wasn't looking at it with as critical an eye as i will be now.
    given C/TS recent track record and disturbing regression to an and scan only discs, i'm very worried.
    if the film were shot to be soft matted, that won't be so bad, but if its cropped, Sony is going to go from Hero to Zero real quick in my book.

    the film is such a remarkable achievemnt, and imo, a true classic. from a historical perspective (seeing the way drugs-specifically psychedelics, began to change the 'grammer' of storytelling in film) to the time-lessness of the themes (going from the romantic, optimism of youth to the...well...the inevitibility of reality/age/self-knowledge)- just a small masterpiece.

    to chop this up would be crime against art.


    and just to muse- why on earth would a dvd company, whose parent company has a vested interest in 16:9 hardware sales, ever regress back to full frame in the first place? that is a major head-scratcher to me.
     
  6. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    Jeff

    The minute I saw this announced at DVDfile I thought of you[​IMG]

    I'm so excited, I'm just praying it's OAR.
     
  7. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Don't be too quick to assume Columbia is going to mess this up, especially when we are getting:

    Digitally remastered audio and anamorphic video
    Remastered in high definition
    Widescreen presentation
    English audio
    Theatrical trailers
    Subtitles: English, French, Korean, Japanese
    Interactive menus
    Scene selection

    Sure, it may not be an SE, but I have never seen this in its correct aspect ratio, and this looks to be up to Columbia's higher standards. I can't wait! [​IMG]
     
  8. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    Jeff,
    are these the official specs?

    a fine OAR transfer is all i require to be one very happer camper at the end of April.

    supplements are nice, and for some reason i do get excited about them, even though i rarely end up going thru them even once.
     
  9. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    According to my sources, yes, those are the official specs. There was a new print struck a couple of years ago, and I assume they were using its source for the high def transfer. I'm sure this will look stunning.

    I'll be interested to see how many trailers end up on the DVD, as I have 5 of them, and while it would be nice to have them all (I've never seen mine as I don't have a 16mm projector), I think the image and audio quality will easily make up for any shortage of extra goodies, most of which I would only watch a couple of times anyway.

    The Universe is being very good to me at this time. [​IMG]
     
  10. Mike Kelly

    Mike Kelly Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw this terrific film during its original release when I was in college. For years afterward, I couldn't find more than a couple of people who had also seen it. It was the first film I thought of when in 1993 I saw Falling Down. I looked at Michael Douglas as the 90s equivilent to Neddy - a delusional man just trying to get home, and finding out he is not wanted.
     
  11. Jon Hertzberg

    Jon Hertzberg Screenwriter

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    If the news about an OAR Swimmer DVD is accurate, then the following information isn't so relevant anymore:

    For those interested, TCM shows an OAR print of The Swimmer on a fairly regular basis. Of course, I've always forgotten to set my VCR timer when it has shown up. I do know that it's had atleast one primetime, 8PM showing, which would include the obligatory Robert Osborne introduction (and I, for one, am a sucker for those.)

    Nothing really matters, of course, if we do not get an anamorphic OAR presentation, but I sure would love to see some extra supplements--i.e. retrospective interviews.

    Unfortunately, most of the principals are gone--Lancaster, Cheever, the Perrys. What would be a heckuva treat would be the footage of Barbara Loden in the scene that would be eventually recast with Janice Rule. According to one Lancaster biography, he felt upstaged by Loden (Mrs. Elia Kazan) in this scene and she was soon replaced by Ms. Rule. Since Ms. Rule and Sidney Pollack (who directed some scenes) are still alive, their participation would be greatly appreciated on this DVD, tho it doesn't appear that Columbia will go this route.

    Finally, as his father is being lauded by TCM this month, an RIP to the late John Garfield Jr. (aka David Garfield) a member of The Swimmer cast who was also taken too soon. I've always liked his bit in the film and would have liked to have seen him in more acting roles. He went on to become a successful editor before succumbing to a heart attack.

    Thanks all for the scoop on the DVD. April 29 can't come fast enough.

    Jon
     
  12. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    A contact of mine through the website has asked Pollack about being involved, and he wasn't interested, figuring he'd had his say the the Lancaster biography.

    With a reported 80 minutes cut from the film, it would have been great to see the deleted scenes as extras, but unless this film has a major revival, I doubt those will ever been seen - if they even exist anymore. It would also have been interesting to compare Perry's original vision for the film with what the studio wanted. I have absolutely no complaints about the way this film ended up, it is brilliant as is - but curiosity has me interested in what it may have been had Perry gotten his way.

    However, the DVD sounds like it will excel in the areas that matter most, and I will soon have one more film off my short list of those deserving DVD treatment. Thanks to Columbia for bringing this out, you sure made this fan happy with the announcement!
     
  13. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    With a street date 3 months away, you might still be able to get your trailers on there. I'd contact Columbia pronto and let them know you've got this material. I'd bet they don't even know there were six trailers. [​IMG]
     
  14. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Actually there's only five trailers (1x60s, 2x20s and 2x10s). If they have a release date, the disc is done. They have replication, packaging and distribution to go, which is easily a 3 month lead time. I think I've missed the boat on this one. For all I know they may already have all these, as they do list "trailers".
     
  15. Roy Batty

    Roy Batty Second Unit

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    I do not know why, but every time somebody mentions THE SWIMMER, Elia Kazan's THE ARRANGEMENT comes to my mind, too.

    I guess the only connection is that I saw them both very close in time, and the two got strongly imprinted on my "sentimental education", so to speak. Then again, they both used unorthodox narrative and editing to convey the hollowness and bitterness of old age, so...

    Anyway, I would like to have it on DVD too.

    And since somebody mentioned Sidney Pollack, when are we going to have his YAKUZA masterpiece released on DVD? I would certainly LOVE that!

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I've posted cover art on the website. Considering what happened with Zardoz, I like it quite a bit. My only question is how many palm trees are in Connecticut?

    For $20, this release should be great. I just hope the source print is in good shape, which, considering this is Columbia, is pretty much assured.

    I'll still be keeping my LD for the extra top and bottom it should have. It will be interesting to compare the framing.
     
  17. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Here's the official press release:


    The Swimmer

    From: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Academy Award¨ Winner Burt Lancaster Stars in The Classic Social Comedy The Swimmer New to DVD on April 29

    Culver City, CA (February 11, 2003) - Hollywood film legend Burt Lancaster (Academy Award¨ & Golden Globe winner for Elmer Gantry) lights up the screen in "the best performance of his career" ("The Today Show") in the acclaimed and thought- provoking black comedy The Swimmer, available for the first time on DVD April 29 from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment.

    One summer in an affluent Connecticut suburb, troubled middle-aged advertising man Ned Merrill (Lancaster) must confront all of his dreams and deceptions as he decides to "swim" home via the pools of his wealthy friends. Along the way he encounters several women from his past: a tempestuous teenage girl (Janet Landgard - Land Raiders), teetering at the edge of adolescence and womanhood; his embittered ex-mistress (Janice Rule - Bell, Book and Candle); and the sexy wife of an old friend (Kim Hunter - Planet of the Apes). Ned's revelatory journey is one of embarrassments, humiliation and steamy passion as he passes from one scenario to another, until he finally arrives home to an empty house ... and to a startling self-revelation. The Swimmer was co-directed by Frank Perry (Mommie Dearest) and acclaimed filmmaker Sydney Pollack (Out of Africa, Ordinary People) and featured Academy Award¨ winning composer Marvin Hamlisch's (The Way We Were, Ice Castles, A Chorus Line) first film score.

    DVD SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:

    Digitally Mastered Audio & Anamorphic Video
    Remastered in High Definition Widescreen Presentation
    Audio: English Subtitles: English, French, Korean, Japanese
    Theatrical Trailers
    Interactive Menus
    Scene Selections

    Rated PG
    Color
    Closed Captioned
    Running Time: 94 Minutes
    DVD Cat # 10044
    UPC Code: #0-43396-10044-2
    Order Date: 03/27/03
    SLP: $19.95

    Visit Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment on the Web at www.SonyPictures.com

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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  19. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    What appears to be the first review can be found here: THE SWIMMER

    I hope that the print damage is not as bad as is being made out.

    Great film, one of the all-time great American Cinema oddities. The ending is truly unforgettable. I'm glad that Columbia has seen the light! [​IMG]


    Gordy
     
  20. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I too hope that print damage is being overstated. The LD was in reasonable shape, albeit at the wrong aspect ratio. I hope the mail is fast...

    Too bad they dont' have all five trailers though. All they had to do was ask and I would have supplied them. I guess I need to get a 16mm projector.
     

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