Joanna Lancaster in Attendance at Forever Burt screenings of THE SWIMMER, ATLANTIC CITY, and THE CRIMSON PIRATE

The Swimmer

The Northwest Film Center is excited to announce that Burt Lancaster’s youngest daughter, Joanna Lancaster, will be attending our final three screenings of our month-long Forever Burt series.  Ms. Lancaster will introduce the Saturday, March 29 showing of THE SWIMMER and the Sunday, March 30 screenings of ATLANTIC CITY and  THE CRIMSON PIRATE with a post-screening Q&A to follow all shows.

Based on the famous John Cheever story of the same name, THE SWIMMER interrogates the American Dream, illuminating the ways that an upper-middle-class lifestyle can look wonderful on the surface but is occasionally built on a very unstable foundation. Lancaster here plays Ned Merrill, a seemingly successful businessman living in suburban Connecticut. He appears one day wandering through the woods in a swimsuit and finds himself in the backyard of some friends. After someone notes that there are swimming pools lining the periphery of the neighborhood, Ned decides to swim through them, traveling through past transgressions along the way, as each pool becomes a symbol for a specific time in his life. (95 mins.)


“As if his 1940s noir hoodlum had lived to see the 1980s, Lancaster’s Lou Pasco in ATLANTIC CITY catches only faint echoes of those glory days between his small numbers-running and petty errand-running for an aging widow of a notorious gangster. As the town disintegrates before him, Lou maintains his dignity and a tender awareness of the station to which age and cultural change have taken him. When a drug deal brings the crime underworld on his heels, money in his pocket, and a charming young woman at his side, he accepts this second youth with a giddy astonishment and chivalrous self-possession tempered by the wisdom of age. Rather than fall into tried-and-true mannerisms, Lancaster embraces Louis Malle’s sweet rendering with the restraint of an actor humbly consenting to yet another reincarnation.”—Harvard Film Archive. (104 mins.)


Screening times:

March 28 – Friday 7pm (THE SWIMMER sans Joanna Lancaster)
March 29 – Saturday 7pm (THE SWIMMER w/ guest Joanna Lancaster)
March 30 – Sunday 7pm (ATLANTIC CITY w/ guest Joanna Lancaster)

THE SWIMMER and ATLANTIC CITY are being presented as part of our Forever Burt series.  Advance tickets available here.


Screen icon Burt Lancaster cut his teeth in the circus and vaudeville but achieved everlasting fame in the motion pictures. Iconic star of such classic films as THE KILLERS (1946), SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957), and BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ (1962), he acted with charm and wit, starring alongside some of Hollywood’s most glamorous and respected stars. Lancaster daringly performed his own stunts throughout his career, often making public appearances recreating noteworthy stunts as proof. Finally, with partners Harold Hecht and James Hill, Lancaster cannily produced films under their HHL banner—including many of Lancaster’s films and critical and commercial successes like MARTY (winner of the 1955 Academy Award for Best Picture). Lancaster’s film career spanned countless genres over five decades, during which the popularization of color in film, the Hollywood blacklist, and the move to widescreen all transformed the industry. This 12-film retrospective (on 35mm prints!) features some of Lancaster’s most esteemed roles and reveals that while changes to the industry are visible in the films, one constant remains: Lancaster and his trademark grin.

The Northwest Film Center is a regional media arts organization offering a variety of exhibition, education programs, and artist services throughout the region.  The Center presents a program of foreign, classic, experimental, and independent works year-round at the Whitsell Auditorium, located in the Portland Art Museum.  For more information, visit

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