1) He had been swimming and now he was breathing deeply … as if he could gulp into his lungs the components of that moment, the heat of the sun, the intenseness of his pleasure.
Bruce Hulse was an east coast surfer, basketball player, and college dropout when his French girlfriend suggested he try modeling. He soon came to the attention of photographer Bruce Weber, who introduced him to Calvin Klein … and a star was born. Sex, Love, and Fashion: A Memoir of a Male Model (2008) details his jetsetting years and romances with the likes of Andie MacDowell, Paulina Porizkova, and Elle Macpherson. Faithfully married for 15 years, he has two children.
2) He seemed to see, with a cartographer’s eye, that string of swimming pools, the quasi-subterranean stream that curved across the county…he would name the stream Lucinda after his wife.
Cheever’s story was made into a Columbia Pictures film in 1968 starring Burt Lancaster and directed by Frank Perry. Coincidently, the shot was taken on the estate built by Jack Warner of Warner Bros. Pictures. HULSE WEARS: Parke & Ronen Ibiza Brief, $125, Mitchell’s, Palm Springs.LOCATION: Jack Warner House, Old Las Palmas.
3) Making his way home by an uncommon route gave him the feeling that he was a pilgrim, an explorer, a man with a destiny … friends would line the banks of the Lucinda River.
“The Swimmer” was published in the The New Yorker July 18, 1964. Originally, Cheever wanted to write a contemporary version of the tale of Narcissus, the character in Greek mythology who is mesmerized by his reflection in a pool. Cheever’s story is often praised for its unique blend of realism and surrealism. HULSE WEARS: Parke & Ronen Ibiza Brief. LOCATION: Anonymous estate, Old Las Palmas.
4) To be embraced and sustained by the light green water was less a pleasure, it seemed, than the resumption of a natural condition.
An avid surfer, Hulse suffered a severe neck injury while surfing near his home in Pacific Palisades four years ago. At first, it was thought he might have permanent paralysis, but little by little he has fully regained his mobility. HULSE WEARS: Sauvage Pique Swimmer Squarecut trunks, $52; www.sauvageswimwear.com. LOCATION: Jack Warner House, Old Las Palmas.
5) He saw then … that the hospitable customs and traditions of the natives would have to be handled with diplomacy if he was ever going to reach his destination.
The short story and film differ in many ways, the major one being a subplot in the movie when Ned (Lancaster) meets a young woman and enlists her to join him on his journey. BLANCHARD WEARS: Marysia Swim Palm Springs Bikini. Top, $145; bottom, $145; www.marysiaswim.com Eugenia Kim Bunny Grosgrain-Trimmed Hemp Sunhat, $425; Saks Fifth Avenue, Palm Desert; Prada Oversized Baroque Round Sunglasses, $300, Saks Fifth Avenue, Palm Desert. HULSE WEARS: Parke & Ronen Angeleno swim trunk, $135. Mitchell’s, Palm Springs. LOCATION: Home of Richard Vaughn and Neil Gussardo, Racquet Club Estates.
6) He had an inexplicable contempt for men who did not hurl themselves into pools … the day was beautiful and it seemed to him that a long swim might enlarge and celebrate its beauty.
The young woman who tags along with Ned was played by Janet Landgard, a veteran of the The Donna Reed Show. Her career reached its apex with The Swimmer. She was interviewed by Chris Innis for the documentary, The Story of The Swimmer. BLANCHARD WEARS: Norma Kamali Jersey Halter Bill Mio, $350; www.normakamali. com LOCATION: Home of David Weiss and Manny Frausto, Old Las Palmas. www.patrickstewartproperties. com
7) Love … was the supreme elixir, the pain killer, the brightly colored pill that would put the spring back into his step, the joy of life back into his heart.
Ned’s vision of swimming across his suburban county is interrupted at several points when he is forced to traverse land. In the film, he and Julie (Landgard) walk through the woods. Not having woods at our disposal, we used Ruth Hardy Park. BLANCHARD WEARS: Zimmerman Sakura Balconette one piece, $375; www.shopbop. com HULSE WEARS: Sauvage Retro Nylon/Lycra shorts, $55; www.sauvageswimwear.com
8) She raised her head and from across the road, the lawns, the gardens, the woods, the fields, he heard again the brilliant noise of voices over water.
The cinder block wall is the least interesting part of this amazing Eichler home built by Troy Kudlac of KUD Properties. The unique round pool drew us to the property, but the wall provided the best fuel for the narrative. BLANCHARD WEARS: Tommy Bahama Remy Retro U-Ring Halter, $98; bottom, $90. Tommy Bahama, The Gardens on El Paseo, Palm Desert. HULSE WEARS: Katin Parker trunk, $60, Diane’s Beachwear, Rancho Mirage. LOCATION: Desert Eichler 3, www.kudproperties.com
‘It was … certainly the first time in his life that he felt so miserable, tired, cold, and bewildered… He had swum too long, he had been immersed too long, and his nose and his throat were sore from the water. What he needed then was a drink, and come company, and some dry, clean, clothes…’
9) It had been, he thought, a lighthearted affair, although she had wept when he broke it off. She seemed confused to see him and he wondered if she was still wounded.
In the short story, Ned is rejected by his former mistress. In the film, Ned’s advances are refused by both the young woman and his former mistress. We combined them all into a single scene of rejection in the Jacuzzi at the home of a prominent architect who wishes to remain anonymous. BLANCHARD WEARS: Marysia Swim Antibes bikini. Top, $136; bottom, $136; www.marysiaswim. com HULSE WEARS: Sauvage Pique Swimmer Squarecut, $52; www.sauvageswimwear.com LOCATION: Indian Canyons.
10) He dove in and swam the pool, but when he tried to haul himself up onto the curb he found that the strength in his arms and shoulders had gone, and he paddled to the ladder and climbed out.
One of the most poignant and humiliating scenes of both the story and film is when Ned is forced to scrub himself with disinfecting soap before being allowed in the public pool. HULSE WEARS: T. Christopher Blue Kaleidoscope Manhattan swim trunk, $168; Saks Fifth Avenue, Palm Desert. LOCATION: Palm Springs Swim Center.
11) Had you gone for a Sunday afternoon ride that day you might have seen him, close to naked, standing on the shoulders of Route 424, waiting for a chance to cross.
The humiliations mount as Ned struggles to get home. Unable to cross the turnpike, Ned’s transformation from patrician suburbanite to shivering, pathetic, halfnaked loon is palpable in both story and film. HULSE WEARS: Parke & Ronen Monterey Print Lido swim trunk, $150. Mitchell’s, Palm Springs. LOCATION: S. Belardo Road, Palm Springs.
12) He had done what he wanted, he had swum the county, but he was so stupefied with exhaustion that his triumph seemed vague.
Just like the story, it was getting dark and cold as we neared the end of our tale. The owner of this anonymous Old Las Palmas estate kindly allowed us on the property to spray Ned/Hulse as if he were caught in downpour.
13) He shouted, pounded on the door, tried to force it with his shoulder, and then, looking in the windows, saw that the place was empty.
Cheever’s story ends with Ned outside his empty and abandoned home. In the current real estate market, we couldn’t find a suitable candidate. Instead, we settled for a locked gate on a dark side street. HULSE WEARS: Parke & Ronen Ibiza Brief. LOCATION: Old Las Palmas.
MODELS: Bruce Hulse and Tara Blanchard
STYLIST: Shelby Dee
HAIR AND MAKE UP: Chelsea Dorris
Production Assistant: Milan Tillman
Transportation by Bliss RV, Palm Springs www.blissrv.com