I have decided to start this journey with The Graduate… How have I never seen this film before? That seems crazy. My first impression is that I LOVED it! Fantastic movie! There are many pop culture references from this film that I knew, but I really did not have any idea what to expect.
I had been listening to Here’s The Thing hosted by Alec Baldwin a few days ago and the current episode is an interview with Dustin Hoffman. They talk about his career and movies, but they focus a lot on The Graduate, Lenny and Midnight Cowboy… I had not seen any of these films… and all of them are on my list. (All three lists in fact.) So I thought this would be a good place to start… Tootsie is also part of the Criterion Collection, so I might try to get to that one soon… A small Dustin-Hoffman-Fest.
I have to confess that up until now I would not have described myself as a Dustin Hoffman fan, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike him in any way… a good actor, but not someone I considered all that much when I thought of great acting. I was deluding myself. He is great, fantastic in The Graduate.
I think that all of the players in this film are fantastic. I can understand why Anne Bancroft is known for this role. Her’s is an iconic performance that I could watch again and again… Seductive and alluring, but also very human.
I think that my favourite scene in the whole film might be in the Taft Hotel room when Benjamin is trying to have some ‘pillow talk’ with Mrs. Robinson. It seems like one fantastically long shot with the lamp going on and off and on and off again. Amazing to watch (hear) a scene in darkness half the time. This scene also reveals so much about Mrs. R and why she is the way she is…
But I have to say, my biggest shout-out must go to Mike Nichols, the director of The Graduate. This film was his second (his first being Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf the year before). I know that he had had a successful career as a comedian before directing Broadway plays, but this is pretty spectacular work for someone only on their second film. Some of the camera work is so innovative… the POV shot from inside the scuba mask as well as the scene I mentioned before in the hotel room with the lights! Genius, in my opinion!
The other thing I would like to mention is the music, the entire soundtrack for this movie is Simon and Garfunkel… I loved it! The opening sequence of Benjamin walking through LAX with the Sound of Silence really set the tone for the whole movie… Young man coming home from school, trying to figure out what to do with his life. Also, a bit of trivia, Mike Nichols got Paul Simon to change the lyric of one of his new songs from Mrs. Roosevelt to Mrs. Robinson. The rest is history.
I look forward to watching this movie again!