the swimmer (1968) (part 2)

Here we are again – back to The Swimmer.The last time I keyed this up I went on about my life and bored everyone to the point of never coming back, then slipped into my smoking jacket, velvet boxer shorts and slippers and went on about the written form of this like I was some sort of scholar. I probably even smoked a tobacco pipe too and drank brandy snifters. Maybe, since I was only wearing a robe, boxers and some slippers, you noticed my fine chiseled calves, crossed in gentlemanly presentation. Or maybe I got buzzed and my slipper fell off and you saw I only have four toes on my left foot and silenced your gag reflex because you’re a professional. Or, possibly, you saw that I don’t, in fact, have chiseled legs because I’m tall and they’ve always looked like some sort of pale ostrich things. Maybe. But – how did Lancaster pull it off? Let’s see!

Unlike the story, this one starts off with half naked man emerging from some woods onto a classy looking pool where a couple of middle aged folks are nursing hangovers. It’s been a long time since I did morning drinking but they’re having some early martinis to cure the fog and are delighted to see him. Seems he’s been gone for an undisclosed period of time but everyone’s in good spirits and he gets this idea to travel down this hill he’s on, pool by pool to get home to his loving wife and daughters. “Good show, chap!” says the man of the house in that 60s New England English accent everyone in the old movies had, hoisting a drink. “But, Neddy,” says the wife, confused. If you should choose to accept this and watch this movie, one of the keys to this old thing is watching those background characters. Something’s obviously off but Polite Society doesn’t need to mention it. “I’m swimming home!” Ned (Lancaster) declares. “I’ll call it the Lucinda River!” (after his wife) and dives in the pool. “Oh that Ned! Such a cad!” the other man declares, probably getting ready for a mid-morning gin nap.

I won’t go into everything that happens on his trip since (mainly) I kind of covered it in my Part 1 of this thrilling series but I’ll touch on some things before my big finale.

Along the way he runs across a couple who, the man, has a ridding lawnmower. “I EARNED my money, Ned” he ribs. “Well, I’m swimming home to my daughters, care if I have a dip?” Ned responds. “Your daughters??” asks the wife, casting sideways glances.

At another home, he runs afoul of a woman who declares him unfit for her property as he never came to see “him” when he was sick. I always thought it was her son but in the story it’s her husband.

Farther on, he comes across his daughter’s old babysitter who is now a young woman (above). She’s good looking, uh – nubile – and somehow now works in the city where she dates people. Someone even peeps on her once. “That’ll never happen when I’m with you,” he swears and, yep, even tries to grope her but she runs off.

He even runs into some old friends – some nudists! They’re making plans for a big fundraiser and I got the hint that they’re Communists but that’s besides the point. “Put me down for a table for four” Ned demands. The wife essentially says “Bullshit you penniless fucking deadbeat” but the husband says “Put him down already” and she promptly crosses him off the list when he leaves. With ferocity, even, scratching and scratching with her fountain pen.

As I said last week, things just get worse the closer he gets to home. He’s not welcome at a party, he unsuccessfully hits on Joan Rivers, his ex “on the side” rebukes him and he ends up crossing a busy highway with people throwing beer cans at him. Remember my thoughts last time about he goes from gin martinis to beer? While that’s my particular drink of choice when I’m not at work, I remember an old movie where someone made fun of someone for drinking beer. “That’s a poor man’s drink” someone said. I think it was On The Waterfront but I can’t swear to it. I know they were on a boat coming back from somewhere in WW2. I still insist he’s devolved from polite society into the beer drinking lowlifes like me. Probably even driving some sort of Plymouth.

This scene is actually kind of Munchausen-y in it’s ‘idealist nature v dirty machines and smokestacks’ symbolism-ness.

My last bit here before I try and finish this up so we don’t have to a part 3 is that – by the time he gets home, there’s nothing left for him there. Was it his drinking? Did his wife jsust leave him because of his philandering? Something happened and now here’s this:

All I’ve ever really wanted in my life was a good home, living with people who love me and not be alone again. So, the way this silly old movie ends breaks my heart. Whatever happened to him, he lost everything. In early 2020 I got really sick and I was stuck in a hospital by myself for almost 70 days and I was ALL FUCKED UP and I had terrible waking nightmares and my family and I made it through it but, even though it wasn’t my fault for getting sick, I just can’t even imagine losing these people. So, when I watched this again recently for these posts, it made me really sad. Again.

But – now – let’s move on from that because no one is here for mopey shit – so let’s do something fun.

I can’t believe I can find so many pictures of this thing out there when I feel like I’m the only one who ever watched it. Even more – I can’t imagine that anyone who reads my shit has ever seen this so let’s approach it from the point of view of ” I am not (me) [NAME REDACTED] and I just watched this movie for the first time.

3… 2… 1…

What is this? Uh… some half naked 60 year old dude is walking around in the woods? No shoes?? Hello – sticks and twigs and fucking spiders. What is this, the 60s?? Oh wait. It is! Fucking hippies!

Did he just grab that lady’s ass? You can’t do that any more! Didn’t that go out with porking the secretary at lunch?

Did this dude really just race a fucking horse? Barefoot?? Uhhhhhhh traction! And rocks. MM HMMMMM…..

How tight and short are those shorts? Are those his cheeks hanging out? You”ll never catch that dude from Hamilton pulling a stunt like that!

HELLO —— JAILBAIT ANYONE??? My god I have pubes older than her.


Are those people NUDE??? SIXTY YEAR OLD SIDE BOOB! What is that thing he’s using? A telephone?? Next she’ll be writing something down on a piece of paper with her own hand! Oh GOD! She DID! I think I’m going to faint.

What’s with this music and all of the lingering eye shots?

oh god… his balls…. i might have just seen his taint…. i can’t believe [NAME REDACTED] convinced me to watch this. My eyes, my fucking eyes.

A public pool? What the fuck is that? Do people shit in there?

His balls… so many balls…

(I guess that’s enough of that business too)

I feel like it’s time for this to end. Two big posts about this thing are probably two too many. And – this last image of mine is not at all what I think really happened around here but it feels like a fitting send off as we say goodbye to this old slice of my life. At least for now.. For any of you who care how I label these things I watch, I guess I’ll put this in the THE BOOBS THAT TIME FORGOT file, since, well, Burt Lancaster’s boobs. Au Revoir boobs!

While there was no love making in the making of these posts, I had fun with them as we roll through the brown leaves and into the cold winter.


13 thoughts on “the swimmer (1968) (part 2)

  1. Tom

    The paragraph beginning “All I ever wanted” is some poignant stuff man. That makes my heart hurt a little. Hopefully things are better?

    I have to watch this one man, this sounds really interesting. The metaphor/symbolism seems pretty on-the-nose maybe but I do like the concept. And how many Burt Lancaster movies have I seen? Uhh, what’s 22509 minus 22507?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dearest Tom –

      So, yeah, The Swimmer – it’s pretty good but maybe not for eve –

      WAIT? WTF? This isn’t some sort of math blog! Quite frankly, I was told there would be no math out here and I never wanted people to assume i was some sort of math professor who am I Euclid and doing circles and shit and writing some sort of goddammed formulas and who the fuck knows what this means: Thales’ Theorem, whereby if a triangle is drawn within a circle with the long side as a diameter of the circle, then the opposite angle will always be a right angle and one time i got in trouble in algebra for touching the teacher’s desk and another time i got a bad grade on something because i said that angle looks like 60 degrees so that makes the other 30 and and someone made me feel stupid because it could have been 59 / 31 which is why you had to do math and proofs and shit and i was all ‘fuck this horseshit i’m not a goddammed protractor’ and added something like ‘here’s your fucking angle right here in my pants’ and i whipped o-

      OH! Burt Lancaster! He’s great!


      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tom

        “The long side” lol oh my dear boy, now you’re just guessing things. We call that the hypotenuse. I love how that word ends in “noose,” as in if you study in this stuff and plan to use it for a career, may as well bust out the old noose and tie it real tight and . . .

        Seriously though. one of your best comments. all time. This movie really sounds interesting for real — and crazy timing, I just added a new blog to my list of blogging pals and their banner is none other than Lancaster in his skivvies mooching around in The Swimmer. Small blog world!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m going to watch this for Burt Lancaster’s balls. Seriously, though, this sounds deep & stuff. Symbolic. All of that. Yeah! I do still want to see this. The nudists seem random, though. What’s THAT meant to symbolise?!?! 🤔

    And I’m glad you’re better now! I can’t imagine being stuck in the hospital for that long. ☹️ I was only in there for a week & I couldn’t wait to get the fuck out even though I was still in pain. Glad you’re back to blogging too. Yay! 😄

    I agree the end of this sounds depressing as hell, though. 😩😢

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t really know why they were nude other than – maybe the 60s? Although, I think they were in their 50s so maybe some pent up repression from the Great Depression? “Honey, we’ve made it, may I eat some filet off of your porcelain skin?” Maybe? I don’t know. “Grey poupon!”

      My spellcheck didn’t like ‘poupon’ and suggested ‘poupou’. I don’t know what the fuck that is either so I looked it up for us:

      A poupou is a wall panel located underneath the veranda of a Māori wharenui (meeting house).

      So now we need to find someone to call Noodle and someone to call Poupou, assuming it’s pronounced ‘poo – poo’. Too bad Luke’s not around any more.

      Happy holidays to you!


  3. Pingback: Watched, Read, Reviewed: February 2023 | Cinema Parrot Disco

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