For, March 21, 2014

The Blu-ray debut of  "The Swimmer" (M, the PG equivalent in 1968 when this film was rated and released) does not mark its disc debut; it was initially released on DVD in 2003. But it's been out of print for several years and this reissue thankfully makes it available again.

An offbeat existential film that is very much a movie of its time, and yet is also a timeless treatise on the narrow class structure of upper-crust haves and have-nots, as well as adult relationships and, ultimately, sanity, "The Swimmer" stars Burt Lancaster at his most athletic and virile, playing roughly his own age at the time (54).

The slender story thread has him making his way home by swimming in the pools of his rich neighbors as he goes house to house, boasting to friends about his life. But as he progresses, it becomes apparent that he's not being completely honest, and some of those old friends he encounters are less than welcoming.

Lancaster is excellent in this sadly underrated effort, which had production troubles (they don't show) and was met with indifference at the box office. But it's a thoughtful and artistic film that deserves to be seen.

Among the supporting players are Janice Rule, Marge Champion, Kim Hunter, Diana Muldaur and Joan Rivers. Yes, that Joan Rivers.