Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Graduate (1967)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
A man regrets having an affair with the mother of the girl he now loves.

Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) is a high performing graduate student who is confused and feeling under pressure about his future. In his congratulatory party Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the wife of his father's partner, asks him to take her home - where they begin an affair.

His parent's have no idea about the affair and when Mrs. Robinson's daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross) returns home he is coaxed into taking her out, much to the disgust of Mrs. Robinson. As he starts to fall in love with Elaine, Mrs. Robinson tries her utmost to keep them apart.

Since it's release in 1967, The Graduate has set about transforming modern culture with its stories of Mrs. Robinson. Films from the hilarious American Pie (Finch with Stifler’s Mum), to the less good Rumor Has It (where the whole storyline is based on the premise that The Graduate's events are real) have been directly influenced by The Graduate's promiscuous tale.

Bizarrely, even by today's 'dropped' standards, The Graduate's storyline is still shocking. The wife of a business associate takes the son (somewhat against his will) into her daughter's bedroom and strips off in order to seduce him, trampling on his innocence in the process. Thus the model student transforms into a chain smoking man, desperate for the attentions of an older woman. Hidden behind a thin layer of comedy though, and it becomes cinematic gold.

Dustin Hoffman is very funny in charge of the film and he was well cast as a twenty-nine-year-old because of his physical appearance of someone far younger. Putting a less experienced actor in would surely have seen them swamped, and Hoffman doesn't give off the impression of anything other than innocence in the opening scenes. As the film progresses, his chemistry with the alluring Katharine Ross struggles to match up to the disgruntled Anne Bancroft - but perhaps this is due to Mrs. Robinson's experience.

Ticking over in a less-than-subtle manner in the background are the Simon and Garfunkel hymns. After only writing one song (Mrs. Robinson) for the film despite the initial request for three, the duo still heavily contributed to the soundtrack including other favourites Scarborough Fair and Sound of Silence. The success of Mrs. Robinson became so great that it is almost unanimously famed in the industry for scenes containing attractive mothers - despite the fact it was only played as instrumental in its original form.

Delicious, humorous and even a little poignant. Yes Mrs. Robinson, I am trying to seduce you.


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12 comments:

  1. I watched "The Graduate" for the first time about a year ago and at first, I had doubts about whether I would like it but overall, I thought it was a pretty cute movie. At the very least, it gave me an opportunity to view some of Dustin Hoffman's early work. Mrs. Robinson is a trip. Such a vindictive and manipulative woman!

    ~Nicole
    Blog: The Madlab Post
    @MadlabPost on Twitter

    P.S.
    It's still Friday here in the U.S. but this is the first post I saw when visiting your blog, so I figure I might as well read it! LOL

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    1. Apologies - I'm on GMT+1 (that's British Summer Time over here) so you'll probably be seeing my posts a day early for you!

      Love Mrs. Robinson - always reminiscent of the soundtrack.

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  2. You know I have never seen this movie. Can't say why not.

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  3. I saw this movie back in the 70's and loved it! It's a classic.

    Monica, Older Mommy Still Yummy

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  4. I still haven't seen The Graduate! And it is a shame. Actually, I haven't seen a lot of Hoffman's classics, and yes, I am ashamed.

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    1. I wouldn't be able to name that many Hoffman films - Hook would be the first film that comes to mind though.

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  5. I haven't seen this one, but I've heard nothing but good things about it. I'll keep a look out for it. Nice review by the way.

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  6. A classic movie this one, and a very good choice for "g". INterested to see what you have in store for "h"

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    1. This was my first choice when picking films for the A-Z. Never seen it - but loved it.

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  7. I remember seeing The Graduate on tv when I was younger. I was so wowed. Looking forward to seeing what else you've got planned! I'll be back.
    Shannon

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    1. I'm sorry - The Terminator won't be on "T" :)

      Thanks for the comment!

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