Well-off ad man Ned Merrill (Burt Lancaster) is visiting a friend when he notices the abundance of backyard pools that populate their upscale suburb. Ned suddenly decides that he’d like to travel the eight miles back to his own home by simply swimming across every pool in town. Soon, Ned’s journey becomes harrowing; at each house, he is somehow confronted with a reminder of his romantic, domestic and economic failures.
For this affluent Connecticut community, the swimming pool is a status symbol, but also a reflection. As diverting as the film’s first three-quarters are – satirically funny, bizarre, and entrancing – it is the ending which sticks in the memory of viewers. It works so well not because it is a twist, but because the viewer has been subtly prepared for it from almost the very first scene. The Swimmer is a mystery about a man we don’t know very much about but we get hints, and the hints pile up in warnings. The film lives or dies on Lancaster’s performance. Thankfully, he’s so strong that it’s impossible to imagine the film without him. Other strong points include the dreamy visual treatment, trippy late-60s optical effects and an intentionally queasy soundtrack.
On this occasion, you will be treated to a genuine vintage Technicolor print, photo-chemically offering an organic look and feel that you simply cannot find in any digital version. Come see the magic for yourself!