The newspapers this morning carry the obituaries of Marvin Hamlisch. Despite such successes as the film adaptation of Scott Joplin’s ragtime music for the film The Sting, The Way We Were (including Barbra Streisand’s hit song of the same title) and Nobody Does it Better for the Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, Hamlisch probably remained below the European radar screen for most of his professional life. The piece of his work that I liked the most was his first film score, for the film The Swimmer. Every time Burt Lancaster’s character plunges into another swimming pool, in Cheever’s brilliant metaphor for a damned man trying to wash away his past mistakes, Hamlisch’s strings soar upwards wistfully then flutter down to the reality Ned Merrill can never truly escape. It is a highly accomplished piece of work for a very first film score and, together with Lancaster’s performance, does much to make the film a classic.