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The Swimmer (1968)
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
The Swimmer The Swimmer
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $19.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: March 2006
Catalog #: Vol. 9, No. 5
# of Discs: 1

FSM begins a relationship with Sony Music Special Products (home of the Columbia Records catalog) with an expanded CD release of one of the most haunting and unusual symphonic scores of the 1960s, The Swimmer (1968).

The Swimmer starred Burt Lancaster in one of his most challenging and definitive roles, as a narcissistic suburbanite who decides to "swim home" one day through the pools of his wealthy Connecticut neighbors. From this simple premise comes an intriguing and powerful character study, featuring a fine supporting cast and authentic locations, and a shocking twist. The film has endured as a cult favorite, oddly blending "new wave" film techniques with gritty realism.

The Swimmer was the first feature film score of then-24-year-old Marvin Hamlisch, who got the job after a chance meeting with producer Sam Spiegel. Hamlisch would go on to numerous successes in songwriting, film scoring and Broadway shows, with credits including The Sting, The Way We Were and The Spy Who Loved Me, and his strong gifts for melody and drama were evident for the start.

As Hamlisch had never scored a film, he enlisted the help of two veteran Hollywood orchestrators for technical assistance, Leo Shuken and Jack Hayes. Shuken and Hayes most notably orchestrated for Elmer Bernstein, and in their hands Hamlisch's rich themes for The Swimmer are executed with many of the lovely Americana orchestrations of Bernstein's work. The combination of Hamlisch's writing with Shuken and Hayes' orchestrations created a classic symphonic score that has been beloved by those who discovered it.

FSM's premiere CD release of The Swimmer features the complete score (expanded from the LP version, courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment) remixed and remastered from the original 1/2" three-track stereo masters. Liner notes are by album co-producer Jeff Bond.

Marvin Hamlisch Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Marvin Hamlisch (b. 1944) is a multi-talented composer, songwriter, arranger and musical director with major accomplishments in film (The Sting, The Way We Were), Broadway (A Chorus Line) and songwriting ("Nobody Does It Better" from The Spy Who Loved Me). FSM released his first film score, for The Swimmer, which he did in his early twenties, but nonetheless demonstrates his immense aptitude for melody and drama. IMDB

Comments (42):Log in or register to post your own comments
...you will LOVE this score! It will be on your disc player for weeks without ever coming out.

Truer words were never posted! I finally got THE SWIMMER and have been awed by its melancholy, Americana, and the groovy lounge tracks that evoke my own hometown during this same era --even though I wasn't around--LeGrand's The Thomas Crown Affair gives me this same feeling: familiar, yet before my time. THE SWIMMER has become one of my all-time favorite scores.

Insightful liner notes--I didn't know that Lancaster couldn't swim--and the changing hands from the Perrys to the studio and Pollack was also interesting reading.

I read the Cheever short story about fifteen years ago and caught the film one saturday afternoon a few years after that. I thought that Lancaster was a superb choice for Neddy Merrill, though when I read the story, I imagined Tab Hunter (as he was in 1968) in the role! Now I couldn't imagine anyone but Burt doing the part.

I agree with you Zelig. But you didn't even mention the man who's made you happy - Marvin Hamlisch.
I can't recall when The Swimmer was released theatrically, I think 1969. I never got around to seeing the film until it came out on dvd..a long, long time afterwards. I feel that the film of 'The Swimmer' is very much a film of it's time and yet, seemed somewhat ahead of it's time as well. Dark - but brilliant stuff!

I agree with you Zelig. But you didn't even mention the man who's made you happy - Marvin Hamlisch.


Well, as Henry Mancini once said, "Did they mention the music?" And I did. :)

Marvin Hamlisch composed a masterwork his first time "at bat"!

This thread has 199 views...c'mon people, comment!

agreed- another lp that i got at the PRINCETON RECORD EXCHANGE, played it to death then, now we have the cd, so i do the same with that, never get tired of it, but i did do a double take when i first bought the lp, could not believe the name of the composer. in short, what's not to like ? kim hunter told me when they finally finished the shoot they threw burt lancaster in the pool, clothes and all.

The Swimmer is one of those "perfect" releases in that it's playing time (35:57) makes for both a wonderful listening experience and placates those who want every cue. I've only seen the movie twice, but the FSM release must have all the best parts.

BTW, I truly believe that if The Swimmer had been composed by Goldsmith or Barry, *many* more people would be raving about it around here. Marvin Hamlisch just doesn't have the popularity of those other guys.

I caught The Swimmer on The Late Show in the early 1970s and thought it absolutely fantastic. I acquired a 16mm IB Tech print soon thereafter and ran it for people at every opportunity. I had the LP from the day it was released and I loved the music. It was orchestrated by longtime Elmer guys Shuken and Hayes. I believe the thirty-five minutes is every note of score from the film. The cast is perfection and the film is just hypnotic and strange and unique. Someday I'd love to see the original scene that was cut from the film - with Barbara Loden in the Janice Rule scene. The latter, while an excellent scene, isn't directed in the style or feel of the rest of the film - in fact, it wasn't directed by Frank Perry at all, but by Sidney Pollack.

I caught The Swimmer on The Late Show in the early 1970s and thought it absolutely fantastic. I acquired a 16mm IB Tech print soon thereafter and ran it for people at every opportunity. I had the LP from the day it was released and I loved the music. It was orchestrated by longtime Elmer guys Shuken and Hayes. I believe the thirty-five minutes is every note of score from the film. The cast is perfection and the film is just hypnotic and strange and unique. Someday I'd love to see the original scene that was cut from the film - with Barbara Loden in the Janice Rule scene. The latter, while an excellent scene, isn't directed in the style or feel of the rest of the film - in fact, it wasn't directed by Frank Perry at all, but by Sidney Pollack.............. i find ur knowledge of film and filmscores endlessly fascinating .

*Bump* For obvious reasons.

My favorite Hamlisch cue is "Lovely Hair" from The Swimmer. When I first got the FSM CD I must have played that track and the whole disc a hundred times in the first week. I was obsessed with "Lovely Hair." A track that's sunny-sounding but which also has an ominously dark undercurrent (no pun) and just the right amount of longing. Perfection.

[pasted from the "RIP" thread]

He must have been only 22 or 23 when he did the score for The Swimmer. It has that exciting "hero theme" for Burt Lancaster as he's running with the pretty young lady. Great great talent. Very very sad today.

I always loved the film bc of its 70s perspective of the New England WASPs: the tudors, the sprawling lawns, the pools and parties, the clothes, the conversations... The shots of the Connecticut country-side are worth the price of admission alone. Ashame that the last few scenes were not shot on location.

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Track List
Instruments/Musicians
Click on each musician name for more credits

Orchestrator:
Jack J. Hayes, Leo Shuken

Copyist:
George Annis, Gene Bren, Frederick G. Cooper, Sol Frohman, Robert Gordon, Robert G. Hartley, Richard Petrie

Librarian:
Ross DiMaggio

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