Ned Merrill has been away for a long time. He reappears at a friends pool and he’s greeted with love by everybody. As they talk, Ned notices that there are pools spanning the entire valley, like an interrupted river flowing up to his home. He suddenly decides he could “swim home”, jogging from a pool to another pool, starting a journey which will be more in time (a big subject of this movie) than in space.
As he stops in each pool the interactions with people change, telling a lot of his life’s story. His journey, clearly driven by inner forces, leads from love and power to despair and ruin.
A beautiful, uneasy and almost unknown movie, with great acting by Burt Lancaster.
“His life was not confining and the delight he took in this observation could not be explained by its suggestion of escape. He seemed to see, with a cartographer’s eye, that string of swimming pools, that quasi-subterranean stream that curved across the county. He had made a discovery, a contribution to modern geography; he would name the stream Lucinda after his wife. He was not a practical joker nor was he a fool but he was determinedly original and had a vague and modest idea of himself as a legendary figure. The day was beautiful and it seemed to him that a long swim might enlarge and celebrate its beauty.”
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