All I can say is wow after this one with Burt Lancaster take risks as a performer and for story content. THE SWIMMER (1968) Directed by Frank Perry is a stylish journey of Man: in this case Ned Merrill (Burt Lancaster) to ‘swim home” in his neighbor’s pools which are all in a basic line some distance apart: one summer day rural Connecticut.
The Journey consists of old lovers and acquaintances from a life that slowly reveals itself as being not quite what one thinks. It is a bitter trip filled with physical toil, isolation, lost love, rivalries, unfulfilled moments and brilliant ecstasies.
I would suggest its a “Guy” film in that it examines aging process in a different light. Directed with some ‘sixties” style with zooms, closeups, slow mo running in the grass filed shots all set to quirky pastoral score by Marvin Hamlisch. The source material was a 12 page short story by John Cheever who has been featured in many magazines such as Esquire who often wrote of nostalgia of a vanishing life and alienation.
Its a quirky picture which I think fits right beside Mike Nichols Directed THE GRADUATE (1967) as a portrait of male changing roles in the 1960’s.
Hard to see but worth the time.
This sequence from PICNIC (1956) Directed by Joshua Logan has good use of layers on par with Tennessee Williams Southern use of men, women and relationships gone wrong or embittered.
This sequence has been called one of the “sexiest dances” in the movies. Yes it has the look, the smoldering feel of something passing between the glances between Kim Novak and William Holden. I say that its Rosalind Russell that steals the scene as she tosses herself recklessly demanding affection in spite of the “Small town morals”. This is setup with Holden later dancing with Arthur O Connell at before Russell’s burst out. Her character of the old maid school teacher Rosemary Sidney wants William Holden’s Hal Carter so much that she is stung by even the affection shown to everyone else but her.
Susan Strasberg performance as younger Millie Owen’s: the ‘ugly sister” to Kim Novak’s older Madge Owens also take the scene with her background reaction. She as well is infatuated with Hal Carter yet she takes her place with a broken heart. Well crafted scene which is more than what it is known for which was the ‘dance”
A good picture will allow you to understand the story and the roles almost without dialogue. These moments from Michael Curtiz Directed version of THE SEA WOLF (1941) is a wonderful example of that technique. Curtiz was a story teller on par with John Ford even if he moved from genre to genre. Curtiz was at home with the ‘large story” and the character study. Here he works with a brilliant cast of Edward G Robinson, Ida Lupino, John Garfield and Alexander Knox. The scenes are cut to music yet you can still understand the motives, the churning ambitions and passions of the people. The turmoil of the sea water that surrounds the ship….The Sea Wolf.
STARDUST AND SHADOWS suggests another off the path story in TOMORROW THE WORLD (1944) . The picture was Directed by Leslie Fenton who was married to Anne Dvorak. Its a story of a German Boy Emil (Skip Homeier)who is sent to America to live to live with his Uncle Mike Frame (Fredric March). Emil has been exposed to the Hitler Youth training even struts around: spouting Nazi idealogy in a uniform complete with dagger. Fredric March is wonderful as the upright Mike Frame who is going to marry Leona Richards (Betty Field) who is Jewish. Agnes Moorhead has a good turn as Frame’s sister Jessie. The picture features some not so typical strong roles for children particularly Joan Carol in the role of Pat Frame. The children have the distinction of solving Emils intigration into American society by doing many of the actions adults had done in picture of the time. They hunt down Emil at the conclusion and show him the error of his ways.
TOMORROW THE WORLD (1944) is one of handful of wartime films that tried to show the plight of the everyday German during, that time. It was was also a successful play under the same title with Homeier in the role of Emil on Broadway.