Friday, May 02, 2014
Classic Film Review: The Graduate (1967)
Back in 1967, Dustin Hoffman was not a well known actor. His big break was a film directed by Mike Nichols, "The Graduate". His resume to that point had included a few TV roles. It is amazing to think about the iconic roles he had in the years after "The Graduate". His most popular films include "Midnight Cowboy" (1969), "All the President's Men" (1976), "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979), "Tootsie" (1982), "Rain Man" (1988), and many more.
In "The Graduate" Dustin Hoffman played Ben Braddock, a recent college graduate who is unsure about his future. He is seduced by Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), and older woman who is the wife of his father's business partner. Later he falls for her daughter, Elaine, played by Katharine Ross. Ben's dad is played by William Daniels, who later played Dr. Mark Craig, from the TV drama St. Elsewhere. Ben's dad is like Dr. Craig in that they both are cranky guys expect only the best from others. Another actor in the movie known later for his TV role is Norman Fell. He rents a room to Ben in Berkeley, California when he is tracking down Elaine, Mrs. Robinson's daughter. Fell later played Mr. Roper on "Three's Company". Ben feels overwhelmed by his life since his parents put pressure on him to decide what to do about his future. A famous scene has Ben given advice by a friend of the family regarding his career. He tells Ben to work in plastics. The soundtrack is provided by Simon and Garfunkel, featuring songs such as "Scarborough Fair" and "Mrs. Robinson".
This is an excellent film about family pressures, temptations, and young love. Water seems to be a common theme in the film. The movie has Ben peering into an aquarium, putting on a scuba diving exhibition for family friends, and floating on an air mattress in the family's pool. Maybe Ben longs for the peace and quiet that exists under the water.
**Some information from imdb.com.