THE SWIMMER (1968)

Dir. Frank Perry

Burt Lancaster has called this enigmatic drama his favorite of his films and considered his performance as an adman facing a midlife crisis his best. To play a character who swims home via the swimming pools of a Connecticut suburb, he worked out so much he put on 20 pounds of muscle. He matched his talents with a strong supporting cast including Janice Rule, as his character’s former mistress, Marge Champion, Kim Hunter, Diana Muldaur and, in a rare dramatic appearance, Joan Rivers. Lancaster crossed swords consistently with director Frank Perry and Rivers’ brief scene took seven days to shoot because leading man and director had diametrically opposed views of her character. Perry eventually left the production, with three other directors, including Sydney Pollack, finishing the film. Then Columbia let it sit on the shelf for two years before sneaking it out. But despite the film’s financial failure, it has garnered a strong cadre of loving fans over the years. It also opened doors for Marvin Hamlisch, who wrote his first film score for the picture.

In attendance: Allison Anders, Marge Champion.

THE SWIMMER
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