1/6/08

The Swimmer

Craig at Ellis Hollow wants to know if you have any favorite gardening movies.

I just remembered that one of my favorite movies features fabulous, vintage American gardens from the 1960s, although it's not a movie about gardening.

It's called the Swimmer, and it stars Burt Lancaster who wears swimming trunks, and only swimming trunks, through the whole movie.

Allmovie.com says this:
John Cheever's "misery in suburbia" short stories, brief and to the point, have always proven excellent TV fodder. Director Frank Perry's The Swimmer, adapted for the screen by Perry's wife Eleanor, is a rare, and for the most part successful, attempt at offering a Cheever story in feature-length form. Dressed only in swimming trunks throughout the film, Burt Lancaster plays a wealthy, middle-aged advertising man, embarked on a long and revelatory journey through suburban Connecticut. Lancaster slowly makes his way to his split-level home by travelling from house to house, and from swimming pool to swimming pool. At each stop, Lancaster comes face to face with an incident in his past. Informing Kim Hunter that he once harbored a secret love for her, Lancaster is mildly upset by Hunter's indifference. Elderly Cornelia Otis Skinner is incensed at Lancaster's intrusion in her backyard and orders him to leave. At the next home, Lancaster tries to seduce the nubile Janet Landgard, who'd once baby-sat for his daughters, but she regards him as a silly old man. And so it goes: as each subsequent suburbanite peels off his self-protective veneer, Lancaster grows more and more disillusioned with what he thought was his ideal lifestyle. The more intensely painful episode is the confrontation between Lancaster and ex-mistress Janice Rule (this scene was directed, without credit, by Sydney Pollack). Thoroughly defeated, the all-but-naked Lancaster laboriously makes his way through the Connecticut woods in a blinding rainstorm, desperately seeking out his own home where he fully expects his "loving" wife and daughters to greet him. Not this time. Dismissed as too self-consciously "arty" at the time of its release, The Swimmer's reputation has increased over the last three decades thanks to constant late-night TV exposure. The film represents the first movie work of 22-year-old composer Marvin Hamlisch.

My highest recommendation.

4 comments:

Deviant Deziner said...

Happy New Year Chuck and Guy.

Hummmm, a favorite gardening movie ?
It has probably been about 10 or 15 years since I rented the movie " Enchanted April", but I recall it to have a wonderful message that is set in a lovely Italian garden setting ( or was it greek ? )
I'm not much of a movie goer or TV watcher so I don't have many choices , but that one comes to mind.

Frances said...

My favorite garden movie is Howards' End, although Room With a View is a close second. Merchant and Ivory during the time those movies were made seemed to care about the garden backgrounds. English cottage gardens are a dream of mine.

Layanee said...

Hi Chuck! Like your new name but I did like the old one also...a bit 'cheeky'! Lots to catch up on and great photos before and after the storm. Favorite gardening movie? I liked the 'Calendar Girls', at least I think that was the name of it, with Helen Miren and the naked photo shoots. Not a classic but it made me laugh! Love that van!

The County Clerk said...

Never saw the movie. The short story is spectacular. Cheever.