The Graduate

..and why not?
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Davey the Fat Boy
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The Graduate

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 18 Sep 2006, 06:16

Just saw it again. Amazing how it still resonates for me. There are whole films that don't say as much as that final shot with the two of them on the back of the bus.

Together with Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate ushered in a what was possibly the greatest era in American films. Does it still work for you?

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The Modernist

Postby The Modernist » 18 Sep 2006, 06:26

It could easily have gone wrong. The character of Benjamin could have ended up brattsh and selfish, that he doesn't has much to do with the way Hoffman plays him. In particular the pained reticence that hoffman gives him which makes his impulsive decision to act all the more winning and surprising.
It is an ambiguous performance too, all of which is captured in that famous last shot when you suspect that having got what he wants Benjamin will once again become dissatisfied. Anyway great film.

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Postby Charlie O. » 18 Sep 2006, 07:39

Mystic G! wrote:It could easily have gone wrong. The character of Benjamin could have ended up brattsh and selfish, that he doesn't has much to do with the way Hoffman plays him.


In the "special features" that come with the DVD, both Hoffman and screenwriter Buck Henry recall that they were originally looking for a prototypical Southern California WASP to play Benjamin - tall, blond, tanned, athletic, moneyed, etc. - because that's how he was in the book. And even though it was obvious from the auditions and screen tests that Hoffman was their boy, Henry and Mike Nichols and the producer had to jump through some flaming hoops of rationalization before they could convince themselves (and each other) to go with him.

Can you imagine how bad that movie might have turned out if they'd cast, say, Robert Redford? Nothing against Redford per se, he's great, but - you know.

Agreed, it's a wonderful movie.

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Postby The Write Profile » 18 Sep 2006, 08:05

Mystic G! wrote:It could easily have gone wrong. The character of Benjamin could have ended up brattsh and selfish, that he doesn't has much to do with the way Hoffman plays him. In particular the pained reticence that hoffman gives him which makes his impulsive decision to act all the more winning and surprising.
It is an ambiguous performance too, all of which is captured in that famous last shot when you suspect that having got what he wants Benjamin will once again become dissatisfied. Anyway great film.


Hasn't Mike Nichols said that the conclusion's implication [was] that Benjamin Braddock will eventually turn out to be exactly like his dad? I think I remember reading that somewhere. Of course, there is some sense in that interpretation, the fact that one of S&G's more mournful numbers is used as the scene on the bus and the inward, almost pensive expression on Benjamin's face as it drives away. I love that last shot, there's a faintly absurd comedy to it, far more than the deliberately hysterical leadup, just the fact that everything dims down again.

That said, Anne Bancroft's performance is a classic, a bored suburban housewife as femme fatale (even to the extent that she pretty much goes mad near the end of it- in true femme fatale stylee)- and the wicked spark she gives to it. My favourite scene might be the one where Benjamin comically ignores his parents (and their friends) discussions about his future, there's a cocksure garb to that moment that a lot of it actually lacks. It's really not surprising that the film translated to stage (by all accounts) fairly easily- at its heart there aren't many scenes that don't rely on the reactions between a very select group of characters, it's all about their intimations and disappointments.

I see Charlie O mentioned the DVD extras, I only think I've ever seen a lousy "vanilla" version, maybe someone would be able to send an Amazon link to the one he's talking about.
It's before my time but I've been told, he never came back from Karangahape Road.

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Postby Charlie O. » 18 Sep 2006, 08:10

The RightGraduate Profile wrote:I see Charlie O mentioned the DVD extras, I only think I've ever seen a lousy "vanilla" version, maybe someone would be able to send an Amazon link to the one he's talking about.


I just checked Amazon UK; it looks like it's only available as a Region 1 NTSC import. :(

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Postby Carl's Son » 18 Sep 2006, 08:14

Only scene it once, seemed very slow, I remember Hoffman floating in a swimming pool interminably, and I was gutted the completed Mrs Robinson wasn't on the soundtrack. Maybe I should watch it again with no preconceptions.
I can just about handle you driving like a pissed up crackhead and treating women like beanbags but I'm gonna say this once and once only Gene, stay out of Camberwick Green!

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Postby The Write Profile » 18 Sep 2006, 08:15

Charlie O. wrote:
The RightGraduate Profile wrote:I see Charlie O mentioned the DVD extras, I only think I've ever seen a lousy "vanilla" version, maybe someone would be able to send an Amazon link to the one he's talking about.


I just checked Amazon UK; it looks like it's only available as a Region 1 NTSC import. :(


Thank goodness I own a multi-zonal player, then!

As for the film, I think it's interesting in that visually Nichols wasn't ever the most exciting of directors, but I think he manages to get the right tone for it somehow- he seems to have a good eye for hos middlebrow satire should be shot and played- Primary Colors is another example in his favour (though understandably, it's not as vicious as the original source!).
It's before my time but I've been told, he never came back from Karangahape Road.

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Postby Neon Boy » 18 Sep 2006, 09:04

Personally I think it's a tad overated. The first part of the film is great but I think it sags quite a bit after that once Katherine Ross's character has found out about Benjamins relationship with her mother. All those scenes of Dustin Hoffman driving with Scarborough Fair playing for the tenth time feel superflous. Although it does redeem itself with that ending. Brilliant parodied by the Simpsons I might add.
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Postby DQ » 18 Sep 2006, 10:12

Neon Boy wrote:Personally I think it's a tad overated. The first part of the film is great but I think it sags quite a bit after that once Katherine Ross's character has found out about Benjamins relationship with her mother. All those scenes of Dustin Hoffman driving with Scarborough Fair playing for the tenth time feel superflous. Although it does redeem itself with that ending. Brilliant parodied by the Simpsons I might add.


Vic and Bob were best though!

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Postby Matt Wilson » 18 Sep 2006, 16:14

Growing up, it was one of my favorite movies (along with the previously-mentioned Bonnie & Clyde--which I will take the time to publicaly bemoan the lack of a good deluxe DVD of). I've seen it so many times that I rarely feel the need to throw it on anymore but it's still great when I do.

Excellent soundtrack too.

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Postby Scally Mcgrew » 18 Sep 2006, 16:19

Never seen it.
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Postby sloopjohnc » 18 Sep 2006, 16:19

Chris Chopping wrote:Only scene it once, seemed very slow, I remember Hoffman floating in a swimming pool interminably, and I was gutted the completed Mrs Robinson wasn't on the soundtrack. Maybe I should watch it again with no preconceptions.


That's interesting Chris. As a college grad loaded with society's preconceived notions of what you should be doing with your life, I would think it would have more resonance. It doesn't have to by any means. But it did for me.
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Postby Carl's Son » 18 Sep 2006, 20:42

sloopjohnc wrote:
Chris Chopping wrote:Only scene it once, seemed very slow, I remember Hoffman floating in a swimming pool interminably, and I was gutted the completed Mrs Robinson wasn't on the soundtrack. Maybe I should watch it again with no preconceptions.


That's interesting Chris. As a college grad loaded with society's preconceived notions of what you should be doing with your life, I would think it would have more resonance. It doesn't have to by any means. But it did for me.

Well, it was a couple of years ago I watched it and it wasn't what I was expecting at all. I'd talked a friend into watching it with me, which didn't help because he was clearly bored and I felt bad and embaressed for making him watch it. Like I say, I need to give it another go.
I can just about handle you driving like a pissed up crackhead and treating women like beanbags but I'm gonna say this once and once only Gene, stay out of Camberwick Green!

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Sneelock

Postby Sneelock » 19 Sep 2006, 03:45

I won't say a word against it. Nichols follows through with one of the great one-two punches in American Movies as far as I'm concerned. What I would like to mention has no bearing on the movie. I count myself among a generation of men who, I think, grew up with a somewhat romanticized view of something from our enjoyment of this fine movie. that something is what we nowadays call stalking.

but, I think it's a splendid movie, not a hair out of place. every scene builds on the last and bla bla bla.

Sneelock

Postby Sneelock » 19 Sep 2006, 03:56

classic!
Eddie Albert's finest performance!
Charles Grodin says people came up to him for YEARS and bitched him out for the way he treated Jeannie Berlin.

I'd say that's pretty high praise.
I think it's in Elaine May's top drawer!

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Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 19 Sep 2006, 04:27

goldwax wrote:If you all don't mind a slight digression, what are your thoughts on The Heartbreak Kid?

I saw it recently and absolutely loved it.


Funny you'd mention it. I always link these two movies together too. I suspect we are not alone in this given the similarities. Of course the fact that "The Heartbreak Kid" was made by Mike Nichols' former comedy partner Elaine May is enough reason to see them in relation to each other, but certainly Charles Grodin's pursuit of Cybill Shepard is reminiscent of Dustin Hoffman's pursuit of Katherine Ross.

Most interesting to me is the fact that both movies essentially employ the same idea in their final shots. Watching that look of dissatisfaction cross over Grodin's face at the end of "The Heartbreak Kid" was a formative cinematic moment for me. I saw "Heartbreak" on the big screen when it first came out. Because "The Graduate" came out when I was very, very young, I did not see it until much later. For years I recalled Grodin's final seconds in "The Heartbreak Kid" as one of my all time favorite film moments. I suppose I still do.

Anyhow - I haven't seen it in years. I'd sure like to watch it now.
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Postby Quaco » 19 Sep 2006, 04:32

Chris Chopping wrote:
sloopjohnc wrote:
Chris Chopping wrote:Only scene it once, seemed very slow, I remember Hoffman floating in a swimming pool interminably, and I was gutted the completed Mrs Robinson wasn't on the soundtrack. Maybe I should watch it again with no preconceptions.


That's interesting Chris. As a college grad loaded with society's preconceived notions of what you should be doing with your life, I would think it would have more resonance. It doesn't have to by any means. But it did for me.

Well, it was a couple of years ago I watched it and it wasn't what I was expecting at all. I'd talked a friend into watching it with me, which didn't help because he was clearly bored and I felt bad and embaressed for making him watch it. Like I say, I need to give it another go.

It's as immediate and good all-around as anything by The Beatles.
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Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 19 Sep 2006, 05:08

Sneelock wrote:I won't say a word against it. Nichols follows through with one of the great one-two punches in American Movies as far as I'm concerned. What I would like to mention has no bearing on the movie. I count myself among a generation of men who, I think, grew up with a somewhat romanticized view of something from our enjoyment of this fine movie. that something is what we nowadays call stalking.

but, I think it's a splendid movie, not a hair out of place. every scene builds on the last and bla bla bla.


I don't know. Elaine clearly responds to him in pretty much all of their scenes together. Doesn't a stalking victim have to tell you to stay away for good? She never says this to him.
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Postby sloopjohnc » 19 Sep 2006, 06:00

goldwax wrote:If you all don't mind a slight digression, what are your thoughts on The Heartbreak Kid?

I saw it recently and absolutely loved it.


Love it. Richard Benjamin is great (one of the only times he is).
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