The Graduate


The Graduate

Infobox Film
name = The Graduate


image_size = 225px
caption = theatrical release poster
director = Mike Nichols
producer = Joseph E. Levine
Lawrence Turman
writer = Screenplay:
Calder Willingham
Buck Henry
Novel:
Charles Webb
starring = Dustin Hoffman
Anne Bancroft
Katharine Ross
William Daniels
music = Songs:
Simon & Garfunkel
cinematography = Robert Surtees
editing = Sam O'Steen
distributor = United Artists
released = December 21, fy|1967
runtime = 105 minutes
country = FilmUS
language = English
budget = $3 million "(est.)"
gross = $104,397,102
website = http://www.mgm.com/title_title.do?title_star=GRADUATE
imdb_id = 0061722

"The Graduate" is a fy|1967 American comedy/drama/romance film directed by Mike Nichols, based on the novel of the same name by Charles Webb, who wrote the piece shortly after graduating from Williams College. The screenplay is by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry, who makes a cameo appearance as the hotel clerk. The film tells the story of Ben Braddock (played by Dustin Hoffman), a recent university graduate with no well-defined aim in life, who is seduced by Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) and then falls in love with her daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross).

Plot

The film explores the life of 21-year-old Ben Braddock shortly after earning his bachelor's degree from an unnamed college in the Northeast.

The movie begins at a party celebrating his graduation at his parents' house in Pasadena, a suburb of Los Angeles. Benjamin is visibly uncomfortable at the party attended by his parents' friends. He remains aloof while his parents deliver accolades and neighborhood friends ask him about his future plans. Benjamin escapes from each person who comes to congratulate him, exposing his seeming embarrassment at all the honors he had won at college. Mrs. Robinson, the wife of his father's law partner, asks Benjamin to drive her home, which he reluctantly does.

Arriving at her home, she pleads for Benjamin to come inside, saying that she doesn't like to enter a dark house. Once inside, she forces a drink on him, and later exposes herself to him offering to have an affair with him. Initially flustered, he is immediately shocked by her advances and flees. A few days later he calls her and their affair begins.

Benjamin is clearly uncomfortable with sexuality, but he is drawn into the affair with the older, but still attractive, Mrs. Robinson. Their affair appears to last most of the summer. All of their scenes pass in a musically-backed montage, showing the endless pass of time. One scene is edited so that it appears Benjamin is walking directly from his parents' dining room into the hotel room he shares with Mrs. Robinson. This seems to accent the separation of him and his parents, though they still live under the same roof.

Meanwhile Benjamin is hounded by his father to select a graduate school to attend. Benjamin, clearly not interested in pursuing his studies, shrugs off his father's wishes and spends his time lounging about and sleeping with Mrs. Robinson. His affair may serve as an escape from his lack of direction or ambition, and his fear and anxiety of his impending future. Mr. Robinson, unaware of his wife's budding affair, encourages Benjamin to call on his daughter, Elaine. Benjamin's parents also repeatedly encourage him to date her. During one liaison, Mrs. Robinson forces a promise from Ben to never date Elaine. Whether out of fear of Mrs. Robinson, or sensing that getting involved with the daughter of his lover could be disastrous, he tries to avoid it. However, because of the three parents' persistent intervention, he is essentially forced to date her. Therefore, he tries to ensure his date with her will be a disaster so she would not want to pursue a relationship with him. He drives recklessly, practically ignoring Elaine, and then takes her to a strip club where she is openly humiliated and silently begins to cry.

After she storms out of the establishment, he is overcome with guilt and pursues her, apologizes, and then kisses her. What follows is a relationship with the younger Robinson, exactly what Benjamin and Mrs. Robinson were trying to avoid.

From here, Benjamin's life falls apart. He confesses the affair to Elaine (under threat of exposure by Mrs. Robinson) and is subsequently kicked out of her life. Although he follows Elaine to the UC-Berkeley, where she is a student, he is barred from seeing Elaine any further. She proceeds to become engaged to another man, one her parents find acceptable. However, Benjamin, believing (with some justification) that she loves him, refuses to give up hope, despite warnings and threats of arrest from Mr. Robinson.

In the famous conclusion of the film, Benjamin undertakes a desperate drive across a distance of many miles to somehow head off Elaine's wedding in Santa Barbara. He is forced to stop for directions, his car, an Alfa Romeo Spider, runs out of gas, and he is ultimately forced to run the final few blocks. He arrives just as the bride and groom are about to kiss, and stands looking down at the couple from an upper window. He fears for a moment that he is too late, but begins pounding on the glass anyway screaming "Elaine! Elaine!". This does not garner much response at first, but when Elaine gives the return cry "Ben!", mayhem ensues.

After a violent struggle with Elaine's parents and wedding guests (Ben armed only with a large cross), Ben and Elaine escape on a public bus. The escaping couple sits smiling at the back of the bus, the other passengers stare at them in mute disbelief. The movie closes with a shot toward the back window of the bus focused on Ben and Elaine's smiles. As the soundtrack fades into Simon & Garfunkel, Ben's smile fades to an enigmatic, neutral, somewhat uncomfortable expression as he gazes forward into the bus. As Elaine looks at Ben's expression, she takes on a similar gaze.

Cast

*Dustin Hoffman as Ben Braddock
*Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson
*Katharine Ross as Elaine Robinson
*Murray Hamilton as Mr. Robinson
*William Daniels as Mr. Braddock
*Elizabeth Wilson as Mrs. Braddock
*Buck Henry as Room Clerk
*Brian Avery as Carl Smith
*Norman Fell as Mr. McCleery

also (uncredited):
*Mike Farrell as a bellhop at the hotel
*Richard Dreyfuss as Boarding House Resident
*Ben Murphy as the shaving student in the fraternity house

Production

creenplay

The original screenplay had the movie opening with Benjamin delivering a valedictory speech at his college commencement. The ceremony is outdoors and Benjamin is using notes on sheets of paper to aid his speech. Having rhetorically asked what the point of college was he begins to explain the reasons are obvious. At that point a gust of wind blows his note sheets off the podium leaving Benjamin unable to explain what it was all about. He is left stammering at the podium "it's because, it's because..." only to awaken from his dream to find the jetliner he is riding in is about to land. This foreshadowing was not included in the movie and the opening scenes show Benjamin on the airplane as it lands, then standing on the moving walkway in the airport terminal looking lost and forlorn. However, the idea was used for the opening of the film "Reality Bites" (1994).

Casting

Warren Beatty was originally offered the title role of Benjamin Braddock, but he turned it down, due to the filming of "Bonnie and Clyde". Robert Redford tested for the part, but he and director Mike Nichols decided they needed someone who appeared more uncomfortable with his sexuality. Charles Grodin also tested for the role. Burt Ward was also offered the role of Benjamin, but had to decline to his commitments to Batman.

(One spectacular early vision for the film was a "blond riot' with Redford as Ben, Candice Bergen as Elaine and, incredibly, Doris Day as Mrs. Robinson.)

Natalie Wood tested but was turned down for the role of Elaine. Sally Field was strongly considered for the part, but the role was given to Katharine Ross instead. Ross' screen test with Grodin is a special feature on the Laserdisc release, although Grodin's lines were overdubbed at his request.

When work on the adaptation of the book began back in late 1962, Marilyn Monroe was slated to play Mrs. Robinson. Patricia Neal was the first choice of the producers, but she turned the role down because she had not yet fully recovered from a stroke. Actress and singer Doris Day was also approached to play Mrs. Robinson, but passed on the offer.

Dustin Hoffman was playing a 21-year-old college graduate, but was actually 29 during filming and 30 when the film was released. Anne Bancroft, whose character is in her early 40s, was only 6 years older than Hoffman in real life. Similarly, Katharine Ross, who played her daughter, was only 9 years younger than Bancroft.

"The Graduate" was the breakthrough role for Hoffman, whose sole previous film role was in "The Tiger Makes Out" (1967). His next big successes (and Oscar nominations) came from "Midnight Cowboy", "Lenny", and "All the President's Men".

In the Berkeley boarding house where Benjamin ends up living, the landlord is played by Norman Fell, who would later gain fame as landlord "Mr. Roper" on the popular 1970s sitcom "Three's Company". Richard Dreyfuss has his first film role in this movie, a small and uncredited one, and only one line: "Shall I get the cops? I'll get the cops." Earlier in the film, Mike Farrell, later a star of TV's "M*A*S*H", can be glimpsed as one of the hotel bellhops when Benjamin and Elaine go there. As the other bellhops address Benjamin as "Mr. Gladstone", Farrell's character asks "Hello. How are you sir?" (This scene comes at 1:04:30 into the movie.) Ben Murphy, who later starred in "Alias Smith and Jones", is the shaving student in the fraternity house who makes a double entendre comment about the wedding cake.

William Daniels, who played Benjamin's father Mr. Braddock, is famous not only for his role as the voice of K.I.T.T. on the 1980s television program "Knight Rider", but also as the obsessive-compulsive surgeon Mark Craig in the 1980s hospital drama "St. Elsewhere", and as teacher extraordinaire George Feeny in the 1990s sitcom "Boy Meets World".

Elizabeth Wilson, who played Benjamin's mother, Mrs. Braddock, was a familiar face on television during the 1970s, guest-starring in such series as "All in the Family", and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"; among her other film roles, she played a pivotal role in the 1980 workplace comedy "Nine to Five".

Murray Hamilton, who played Mr. Robinson, was a veteran character actor, best known for playing the mayor in "Jaws".

Veteran actresses Marion Lorne and Alice Ghostly appear together in a brief party scene. The pairing was somewhat coincidental, for Ghostly would go on to costar on the sitcom "Bewitched", in a role largely designed to replace Lorne's character when that actress died in May 1968.

Filming

Many of the exterior shots of Benjamin on the campus were actually filmed on the brick campus of USC in Los Angeles, as the UC-Berkeley campus features buildings with gray granite exteriors. Other scenes were filmed on the Berkeley campus, on Durant Avenue in Berkeley, and on Telegraph Avenue. In one shot, the red Alfa Romeo Spider is traveling across San Francisco Bay on the upper deck of the suspension section of the Bay Bridge; this is actually westbound into San Francisco, although Ben is supposed to be on his way to Berkeley, which would be eastbound on the lower deck.

The "Taft Hotel" scenes were filmed at the famed Ambassador Hotel, the same hotel in which U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate Robert Kennedy was assassinated less than six months after the film's release.

While supposedly on his way to interrupt Elaine's wedding in Santa Barbara, Ben is shown driving through a tunnel on U.S. Highway 101. The actual tunnel is on the northbound lanes, just north of Gaviota, yet Ben is driving south from Berkeley.

The church used for the wedding scene is actually the United Methodist Church in LaVerne. In a commentary audio released with the 40th anniversary DVD, Hoffman revealed that he was uneasy about the scene in which he pounds on the church window, as the owner of the church had been watching the filming disapprovingly. Apparently, Hoffman's Christ-like pose when banging on the pane was an attempt to minimize its rattling, rather than an intentional religious reference.

The residence used for the Robinsons' house was located on North Palm Drive in Beverly Hills.

There are repeated subliminal shots of Mrs. Robinsons bare breasts and midriff in the scene in Elaine's room when Benjamin has been trapped by Mrs. Robinson. The shots match Benjamin's eyeline while he is looking at her and trying to escape.

One of the Campus Loop buses at Kent State University had a plaque in it in the 70's identifying it in the as a "movie star" and stating that it was the bus Benjamin and Elaine escape on at the end of the film.

Music

The film boosted the profile of folk-rock duo Simon & Garfunkel, whose soundtrack album "(The Graduate Original Soundtrack)", on the strength of the hit single "Mrs. Robinson", rose to the top of the charts in 1968 (knocking off The Beatles' "White Album"). However, the complete song does not appear in the movie or on the album; short fragments are featured instead. The full version of "Mrs. Robinson" was not released until Simon and Garfunkel's next album, "Bookends".

According to a "Variety" article by Peter Bart in the 15 May 2005 issue, Nichols had become obsessed with Simon & Garfunkel's music while shooting the film. Lawrence Turman, his producer, made a deal for Simon to write three new songs for the movie. By the time they were nearly finished editing the film, Simon had only written one new song. Nichols begged him for more but Simon, who was touring constantly, told him he didn't have the time. He did play him a few notes of a new song he had been working on; "It's not for the movie... it's a song about times past — about Mrs. Roosevelt and Joe DiMaggio and stuff." Nichols advised Simon, "It's now about Mrs. Robinson, not Mrs. Roosevelt."

Marketing

In the promotional poster for the film, Mrs. Robinson's leg is not that of Anne Bancroft, but of the then-unknown model Linda Gray — most famous for playing Sue Ellen Ewing in the television soap "Dallas". Linda Gray went on to play the role of Mrs. Robinson in the stage version of "The Graduate" in the West End and on Broadway. [ ibdb name|id=102672|name=Linda Gray. Retrieved|accessdate=2007-10-12]

Awards and recognition

A.D. Murphy of "Variety" and Roger Ebert of the "Chicago Sun-Times" praised the film upon its release with Murphy describing it as a "delightful satirical comedy-drama" [ [http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117791319] - A.D. Murphy, "Variety" review, Decemeber 18, 1967.] and Ebert claiming it was the "funniest American comedy of the year". [ [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19671226/REVIEWS/712260301/1023] - Roger Ebert, "Chicago Sun-Times", December 26, 1967.]

Hoffman earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as did Bancroft and Ross.

Along with the acting nominations, the film also received nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture. Mike Nichols won the Academy Award for Best Director.

The film won the BAFTA Award for Best Film, as well as the BAFTA Award for Best Editing (to Sam O'Steen).

The film was placed #18 on the List of highest-grossing films in the United States and Canada (adjusted for inflation). In 1996, "The Graduate" was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

For the film's thirtieth anniversary reissue, Roger Ebert reversed his opinion on the film. [ [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19970328/REVIEWS/703280304/1023] - Roger Ebert, "Chicago Sun-Times", March 28, 1997.] He, along with Gene Siskel, gave the film a mediocre review on the television program "Siskel & Ebert". [ [http://bventertainment.go.com/tv/buenavista/ebertandroeper/index2.html?sec=1&subsec=1784] - "Siskel & Ebert" review, 1997.]

American Film Institute recognition

* 1998 - AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies #7
* 2000 - AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs #9
* 2002 - AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions #52
* 2004 - AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs:
**"Mrs. Robinson" #6
* 2005 - AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes:
** "Plastics." #42
** "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me. Aren't you?" #63
* 2007 - AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) #17

tage adaptation

John Reid produced a play in 2000, adapted from the movie, which was a hit both in London's West End and on Broadway and has toured the United States. There is also a Brazilian version adapted by Miguel Falabella. Several actresses have starred as Mrs. Robinson, including Kathleen Turner, Lorraine Bracco, Jerry Hall, Amanda Donohoe, Morgan Fairchild, Anne Archer, Vera Fischer and Linda Gray. The Broadway production in 2002 starred Kathleen Turner, Jason Biggs, and Alicia Silverstone.

The play often receives media attention due to a sequence that requires the (often notable) actress playing Mrs. Robinson to disrobe and act a scene in the nude. Some productions of the play also incorporate an on-stage topless love scene involving the Mrs. Robinson character.

Possibility of sequel

Charles Webb has written a sequel to his original novel titled "Home School", but initially refused to publish it in its entirety because of a contract he signed in the 1960s. When he sold film rights to "The Graduate", he also surrendered the rights to any sequels. If he were to publish "Home School", Canal+, the French media company that owns the rights to "The Graduate", would be able to adapt it for the screen without his permission. [http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,,1446288,00.html Retrieved|accessdate=2007-10-12] Extracts of "Home School" were printed in "The Times" on May 2, 2006. [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,7-2160200,00.html Retrieved|accessdate=2007-10-12] Webb also told the newspaper that there was a possibility he would find a publisher for the full text, provided he could retrieve the film rights using French intellectual property law. [http://timesnews.typepad.com/news/2006/05/stuck_in_a_lega.html Retrieved|accessdate=2007-10-12] On 30 May 2006 "The Times" reported that Webb had signed a publishing deal for "Home School" with Random House which he hoped would enable him to instruct the French lawyers to attempt to retrieve his rights. The novel was released in Britain in 2007. [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2202109,00.html Retrieved|accessdate=2007-10-12]

In Robert Altman's Hollywood satire "The Player" (1992), Buck Henry, co-writer of "The Graduate", plays a screenwriter (himself, in fact, as Buck Henry was a screenwriter on the original film) attempting to pitch a sequel to "The Graduate" to a Hollywood producer. Henry's character reminds the producer that the leading actors are all still alive and envisages a scenario in which Ben, Elaine and Mrs Robinson live together in a "ménage à trois".

Cultural influence

*Some scenes in "The Graduate" have influenced other works even decades after its release, and have been widely parodied. For example, a family friend gives Benjamin career advice consisting of one word: "Plastics." This scene has been referenced and parodied many times, even in video games. [cite video game
title = Civilization IV
developer = Firaxis Games
publisher = 2k Games & Aspyr
date = 2005
platform = Windows, Macintosh
version =
level =
language =
isolang =
quote = I just want to say one word to you: 'Plastics'.
.
] One early parody, in 1968, was a recruiting poster for V.I.S.T.A. (Volunteers in Service to America, aka "the domestic Peace Corps"). In the poster, a dark picture of Dustin Hoffman as the confused Benjamin Braddock is captioned "Plastics Can Wait a Year", (join V.I.S.T.A).

*The famous line, "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me", and the matching camera shot from under Mrs. Robinson's leg, has also been spoofed often on television. [cite episode
title = Lisa's Substitute
episodelink = Lisa's Substitute
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] Anne Bancroft's line in response, "Would you like me to seduce you? Is that what you're trying to tell me?", has been used as a sample in a number of songs. [cite video
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*The car that Benjamin drives in the film is a red 1966 Alfa Romeo Spider 1600 "Duetto", which first went into production in 1966. "The Graduate" gave rise to the Spider's fame and longevity, to the point that Alfa Romeo marketed the car in the States as the 'Alfa Graduate'. The climactic drive to the church and Benjamin's bursting in and stealing Elaine away has been parodied many times on television and in film. [cite episode
title = Lady Bouvier's Lover
episodelink = Lady Bouvier's Lover
url =
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credits = Abraham Simpson similarly crashes the wedding of Montgomery Burns and Jacqueline Bouvier. They leave the wedding in a bus, where a parody of "The Sound of Silence" is played ("The Sounds of Grandpa.")
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*The 1993 comedy film "Wayne's World 2" (using the same church) pays homage to "The Graduate" with a sequence where Wayne attempts to stop his girlfriend Cassandra (Tia Carrere) from marrying her producer (Christopher Walken) by driving his car until it runs out of gas, stopping for directions (with a cameo by Charlton Heston), and running up to the balcony of the church, pounding on the glass and calling out Cassandra's name. In a comedic twist, however, Wayne goes to the wrong church at first, and has to go to an identical one across the street. When he calls out to Cassandra, her family and would-be husband mouth the words "Son of a bitch!" just as the characters in "The Graduate" did when Ben interrupted Elaine's wedding.

*In the fifth season of The Simpsons, in the episode, Lady Bouvier's Lover, Mr. Burns flirts with Marge Simpson's mother, Jacqueline Bouvier, while Grandpa Simpson tries to win her love. In the twist of the end of the episode, arriving at the church where Jackie is about to marry Mr. Burns, Grandpa starts banging on the glass and shouting, "Mrs. Bouvier!," but then falls through the glass. Grandpa asks who Jackie would choose to be with, she decides that she's better off alone, which to Grandpa, is good enough for him. Soon both jump onto a bus, anxious about their future. a "Sound of Silence" parody then plays after Grandpa's order to "Shut that racket off!" is refused by Otto.

*Parts of the episode "M Is for the Many Things She Gave Me" of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" seem to be inspired by this film, including a reference to the "Mrs. Robinson" line.

*In "The WB" TV series "7th Heaven", the episode There Goes the Bride has Matt (Barry Watson) interrupt his ex-girlfriends' Heather's (Andrea Ferrell) wedding and runs off with her with the wedding guests behind them.

*In 2005, Hoffman starred in a commercial for the Audi A6 entitled "Just Like Your Mother." In the commercial, a silver A6 is seen driving through the countryside to the Lemonheads cover of "Mrs. Robinson." The car pulls up to the same church that was in the final scene of the "The Graduate", and a man is seen trying to get in to stop the wedding in progress. The man runs upstairs and pounds on the window, calling for the bride, who runs out and gets in the car with the man. The man is revealed to be Hoffman, who laughs and tells the young bride "You're just like your mother." A condition in Hoffman's contract prevented the ad, which was directed by Michael Bay, from being shown in the United States.

*In 2005, Rob Reiner released "Rumor Has It..." in which Jennifer Aniston plays the daughter of a family from Pasadena. When she realizes that it was her family who inspired Charles Webb to write "The Graduate", she seeks out Benjamin Braddock's character, whose name is Beau Burroughs, played by Kevin Costner.

*The Plain White T's music video for "Our Time Now",is a homage to the film, and uses many scenes from the movie, including the opening scene in the airport, the swimming pool scene, the famous scene with Mrs. Robinson and well as the church scene from the end of the book. Instead of using original footage, the music video features various band members as Dustin Hoffman's character.

*The scene where Dustin Hoffman is framed through Ann Bancroft's bent knee is similar to a scene that appeared four years earlier in a short French film. "Rue Saint-Denis" (fy|1963) was directed by Jean-Daniel Pollet and starred Claude Melki as the young, painfully shy, well dressed young man and Micheline Dax as a mature seductress/prostitute.

Miscellany

*Many Californians watching "The Graduate" noticed that Dustin Hoffman's character drives the wrong way on the San Francisco Bay Bridge. While he is driving to Berkeley, California, he is supposed to be driving Eastbound toward Oakland. However, he is driving on the upper level of the Bay Bridge, which runs Westbound to San Francisco.

*The streets that Hoffman runs down on his way to the church are Foothill Boulevard (Route 66) and "D" Street, in La Verne, California. The church in which Hoffman yells "Elaine! Elaine!" is United Methodist Church, also in La Verne. The location is 3205 D Street, La Verne, right across the street from Bonita High School.

*In his book "The Gift of Fear", Gavin de Becker states his opinion that "The Graduate" taught a generation of men that discounting a woman's opinion is acceptable, that stalking women will bear positive results, and that given enough tenacity a man can win over a woman regardless of her stated desires and well-established social conventions.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.mgm.com/title_title.do?title_star=GRADUATE Official site]
*
*
*
* " [http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/graduate/ The Graduate] " at Rotten Tomatoes
*
*
* [http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2008/03/graduate200803 Making of article] in "Vanity Fair" magazine


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