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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Frank Perry and Sydney Pollack
USA
1968

"I saw this film once many years ago and now recently again as it has come to DVD. In this last viewing I was most thoroughly impressed. A haunting, discomforting story told with sporadic information brought inevitably to our attention as the protagonist seems to be lost in the present though he is desperately attempting to cling to the happier care-free times of his past. Adapted from John Cheever's short story, Burt Lancaster plays Ned Merrill, an out-of-work advertising executive who is in a veritable haze regarding his present circumstance. He is intent to relive moments of his past, as if a man retracing the steps of his flawed life. We learn details very slowly about Ned; his prolonged absence from his social circle, his well-liked demeanor and acquaintances from his past as he endeavors to swim across his neighborhood in backyard pools scenically littered throughout Connecticut. The film was shot entirely on location. Considered, appropriately, one of the most beautifully shot films of the 60's it also contains numerous subtle cinematographic gestures with the most memorable being a bold horse reflected in Ned Merrill's eyeball. The film ends as a powerful, haunting recession of memory with a dramatic score enhancing the final scenes. There is a minimal amount of dialogue instead intent to convey its many messages in Lancaster's body language gestures and facial expressions. I don't understand why this is not more recognized. I found it a unique and dynamic effort from Frank Perry and Sydney Pollack."  

Posters 

Theatrical Release: May 15th, 1968 - USA

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Comparison:

Columbia Tri-Star -  Region 1 - NTSC vs. Grindhouse Releasing - Region FREE - Blu-ray

1) Sony - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Grindhouse Releasing - Region FREE- Blu-ray  RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution Columbia Tri-Star Region 1 - NTSC Grindhouse Releasing
Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:35:00 1:35:09.995
Video 1.85:1.00 Letterboxed WideScreen / 16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.7 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,687,818,295 bytes

Feature: 16,576,505,856 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.91 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 875 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 875 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Isolated Music Score: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles

English, French, Japanese, Korean and None

English, French, Spanish, None

Features

Release Information:
Studio: Columbia Tri-Star

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Theatrical trailers for 'The Swimmer', 'From Here To Eternity' and 'The Professionals'
• Widescreen anamorphic format


DVD Release Date: April 29, 2003
Keep Case
Chapters: 24

Release Information:
Studio:
Grindhouse Releasing

 

Aspect Ratio:  1.85:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,687,818,295 bytes

Feature: 16,576,505,856 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.91 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• The Story of THE SWIMMER - brand new, five-part, 2-1/2 hour, 5-part, documentary by Oscar-winner Chris Innis featuring in-depth interviews with stars Janet Landgard, Joan Rivers and Marge Champion, composer Marvin Hamlisch, film editor Sidney Katz, assistant directors Michael Hertzberg and Ted Zachary, UCLA Olympic swim coach Bob Horn, and Joanna Lancaster

Allison Anders interviews Marge Champion(17:55) April 2013
• The original NEW YORKER short story read by author John Cheever (25:42)
• 12 page booklet with liner notes by legendary director Stuart Gordon (RE-ANIMATOR)
• Rare production stills from the lost alternate scenes
• Extensive still galleries, trailers and TV spots

DVD of the Feature
 

Blu-ray Release Date: March 25th, 2014
Standard
Blu-ray case

Chapters 30

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were obtained directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Flicker Alley - Region FREE Blu-ray - March 2014 - The new Grindhouse Releasing of The Swimmer looks marvelous. The colors brighten, some looking rich and deep, the grain texture is pleasing with none of the artifacts of the SD. Flesh tones alter and the greens of the countryside and shimmering blue waters of the pools look extremely impressive. There are many close-ups exporting very high levels of detail. This is housed on a dual-layered disc but the feature file size smaller than you might suspect due to sharing it with the extensive supplements. The bitrate is modest but the presentation is solid.

The film's audio is transferred in original mono via a DTS-HD Master at a lowly 875 kbps. Technically you'd think this wouldn't sound robust but surprisingly, right from the opening scene Marvin Hamlisch's (Behind the Candelabra, The Informant) score, including the theme Send for Me in Summer sounds very strong with notable depth. Grindhouse Releasing include an isolated score in simple Dolby but it's rich, contemplative, music. There are optional subtitles (sample below) and the disc is region FREE playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

The Blu-ray is stacked with extras - most notably the, brand new, 5-part 2.5 hour, The Story of THE SWIMMER documentary by Oscar-winner Chris Innis featuring in-depth interviews with stars Janet Landgard, Joan Rivers (who performs in the film) and Marge Champion, composer Marvin Hamlisch, film editor Sidney Katz, assistant directors Michael Hertzberg and Ted Zachary, UCLA Olympic swim coach Bob Horn, and Joanna Lancaster (daughter of Burt). It covers many details that I found interesting. Probably a little heavy on discussion of the participants as opposed to the film but still a gem to watch if you were keen on The Swimmer. Other extras include director Allison Anders (Four Rooms) interviewing Marge Champion April 2013 for almost 15-minutes and the original NEW YORKER short story read by author John Cheever. This lasts 25-minutes. There are rare stills, galleries, trailers and TV spots and the package contains a new DVD of the Feature as well as a 12 page booklet with liner notes by director Stuart Gordon (RE-ANIMATOR.)

I love this film which has elevated to a cult-status in certain circles. It captures the delusion of mid-life crisis and resonates universal appeal for the acceptance age - reflecting on life's positive and negative experiences. This new Grindhouse Releasing Blu-ray is strongly recommended!

***

 

ON THE DVD: As far as bare-bones DVD presentations go this is a super DVD. A sharp, colorful, if at times dark, anamorphic picture with true sound. This is done on a DVD-5 (single layer) and hence has some compression artifacts and I think this film deserved some vital Extras as in a commentary or interviews with cast crew etc.... anything. Its one of those motion pictures that cries out for a deluxe set.. so much more so than say 'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider'. Still, I am thankful the picture and sound were done so well and give this

   Gary W. Tooze


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1) Sony - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

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Distribution Columbia Tri-Star Region 1 - NTSC Grindhouse Releasing
Region FREE - Blu-ray



 

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