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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

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.

***

One of the few bona fide counter-cultural films to be produced by a major studio, The Swimmer is a sun-scorched and surreal suburban satire that boasts a fine performance from Burt Lancaster (Castle Keep, Buffalo Bill and the Indians) as Ned Merrill, the all-American man who one day determines to swim home to his Connecticut mansion via a series of pools in his neighbourhood.

Directed by Frank Perry (Diary of a Mad Housewife) imbues Eleanor Perry's (David and Lisa, Ladybug Ladybug) adaptation of John Cheever's short story with stunning expressionistic flourishes, creating a true masterpiece of cinema.

Posters 

Theatrical Release: May 15th, 1968 - USA

Reviews                                                              More Reviews                                                        DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

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

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming our by Grindhouse Releasing as a Special Edition in January 2021:

or buy directly from them:

BONUS CAPTURES:

Distribution Columbia Tri-Star Region 1 - NTSC Grindhouse Releasing
Region FREE - Blu-ray
Indicator
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:35:00 1:35:09.995 1:35:05.741
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

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,332,275,299 bytes

Feature: 31,536,049,728 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.32 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate:

Bitrate Grindhouse: Blu-ray

Bitrate Indicator: 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

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -30dB
Music and Effects:

LPCM Audio Undetermined 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles

English, French, Japanese, Korean and None

English, French, Spanish, None

English, 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

Release Information:
Studio:
Indicator

Aspect Ratio:  1.85:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,332,275,299 bytes

Feature: 31,536,049,728 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.32 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Audio commentary with Frank Perry biographer Justin Bozung (2022)
Marge Champion on The Swimmer (17:55)
Richard Ayoade: Against the Tide (10:51)
The original New Yorker short story read by author John Cheever (25:37)
Title Sequence Outtakes (4:05)
Isolated Music and Effects Score
Original theatrical trailer and 5 TV Spots (2:54)
Illeana Douglas trailer commentary (2019 - 5:20)
Image gallery: promotional and publicity material
Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Sophie Monks Kaufman, a profile of writer John Cheever, extracts from interviews with Frank Perry and Eleanor Perry on the making of the film, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
 

Blu-ray Release Date: August 29th, 2022
Transparent
Blu-ray case

Chapters 12

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Indicator Blu-ray (August 2022): Indicator (UK) have also transferred Frank Perry's The Swimmer to Blu-ray. The Grindhouse Releasing Blu-ray was one of our favorites in 2014 (10th in our yearly poll) but beside the Indicator 1080P it's orangey flesh tones become more apparent. The Indicator has a far more robust transfer with about an 80% higher bitrate. Contrast is more layered and colors more pure. Skin tones look as natural as the 2003 DVD. Bottom line - as many may have anticipated - the Indicator HD presentation is easily the best. 

NOTE: We have added 50 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

 On their Blu-ray, Indicator also use a linear PCM mono (24-bit) track, in the English language. It's clean and authentically flat. The music plays an immense part in the film and right from the opening scene, 24-year-old, Marvin Hamlisch's (Behind the Candelabra, The Informant) score, including the theme Send for Me in Summer with solo harp - sounds very strong with notable depth. An isolated music and effects score is also accessible in uncompressed. Indicator also offer optional English (SDH) subtitles but their Blu-ray is Region 'B'-locked!

The Indicator Blu-ray offers a commentary by Frank Perry biographer Justin Bozung (also author of The Cinema of Norman Mailer: Film is Like Death). He discusses the difficulties Frank Perry and his wife, Eleanor, had in bringing this to the screen forcing them to make a deal with producer Sam Spiegel. He identifies extensive edits and can provide immesne detail on specifics on the production  including early drafts, references to poetic realism, the intended pacing, what scenes were shot by Sydney Pollack, screen tests, Eleanor Perry and John Cheever's cameos, and some deep analysis plus much more on the director and the film. Duplicated from the Grindhouse edition are the 18-minute Marge Champion video piece and the audio of the original short story, which appeared in the July 18th, 1964, issue of The New Yorker, read by author John Cheever. New is 11-minutes with British actor, comedian, Richard Ayoade talking about The Swimmer in a piece entitled "Against the Tide". Indicator also include 4-minutes of title sequence outtakes, Illeana Douglas doing a TFH trailer commentary, the original theatrical trailer and 5 TV spots, plus 5 image galleries with Frank Perry's storyboards, the deleted Barbara Loden scene, Production stills, behind the scenes original promotional material and Janet Landgard stills. The package contains a limited edition 80-page exclusive booklet with a new essay by Sophie Monks Kaufman, a profile of writer John Cheever, extracts from interviews with Frank Perry and Eleanor Perry on the making of the film, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits.

Frank Perry's The Swimmer remains as brilliant and impacting as it was over a half-century ago. It was shot on location in Westport, Connecticut, the hometown of director Frank Perry. The stylized sequences export a hallucinogenic tone of guilt, regret, delusion and inability to embrace mistakes. It really is timeless and is continued to be lauded as a masterwork of cinema to this day. The new, 2022, Indicator Blu-ray has the best image quality, a new commentary, other supplements and a limited edition booklet. I suspect this will get many year-end votes for one of the best Blu-rays of the year. It has our highest recommendation! 

***

ADDITION: Grindhouse Releasing - 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.  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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More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Indicator Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 


Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming our by Grindhouse Releasing as a Special Edition in January 2021:

or buy directly from them:

BONUS CAPTURES:

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



 

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