In this publicity still, actors Anne Bancroft, left, and Dustin Hoffman appear in a scene from the 1967 film "The Graduate."
Katharine Ross and Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate," from 1967 by director Mike Nichols.
By Sharon Eberson Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The TCM Big Screen Classics’ presentation of “The Graduate” is listed in local Cinemark theaters April 23 and 26, including Monroeville Mall (2 p.m. Sunday and 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesday); and in McCandless and Pittsburgh Mills, Frazer (2 and 7 p.m.). Check Fathom Events’ website to see if it’s in a theater near you.
The movie centers on 21-year-old college graduate Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), who is bombarded by eager adults with questions about his future, although he’d rather just think about it. He stumbles into an affair with his parents’ friend, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), and things become further complicated when he falls in love with the Robinsons’ daughter (Katharine Ross), all set to some of Simon & Garfunkel’s greatest hits.
Mr. Hoffman has said he at first told director Mike Nichols that he wasn’t right for the part and expected “someone like Robert Redford” to be cast, because the book on which “The Graduate” is based describes Benjamin as tall, blond and WASP-y.
Here’s a jolt of nostalgia or an introduction to “The Graduate,” with 10 reasons the film has achieved legendary status.
1) Dustin Hoffman was a stage actor who had been in TV shows such as “Naked City” and “The Defenders” and had a small role in the movie “The Tiger Makes Out” before “The Graduate” earned him his first best actor Oscar nomination.
2) Along with “Plastics,” Benjamin nervously asking, “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me … aren’t you?” is on the American Film Institute list of the 100 Greatest Movie Quotes of All Time, at No. 63.
3) The song “Mrs. Robinson” by Paul Simon was pitched to Mike Nichols after the director rejected two others. It appeared on the soundtrack and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bookends” album, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. The two songs featured in the 1967 trailer for the movie are “Sounds of Silence” and “Scarborough Fair.”
4) Director Nichols earned his only Oscar in five nominations for “The Graduate.” His work on the film has been celebrated as the dawning in the United States of the naturalistic comedy that already had taken hold in the UK.
5) Party trivia: Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson tells Benjamin that she is twice his age, but the actress was 35 at the time, only six years older than Mr. Hoffman. Katharine Ross was 27 when she played 19-year-old Elaine, Mrs. Robinson’s daughter.
6) We don’t have to guess the fate of Benjamin and Elaine, who in the movie are last seen after he “rescues” her from being married. Charles Webb followed his 1963 novella “The Graduate” with a sequel, “Home School,” set in the 1970s. Ben and Elaine have married and live in upstate New York, where Ben — continuing his disenchantment with education — is fighting with his wife about whether to home-school their children.
7) “The Graduate” was the first screenplay by Buck Henry. His co-writer was Calder Willingham, who penned “Little Big Man,” another star vehicle for Mr. Hoffman. Mr. Henry has a cameo in the movie.
8) Speaking of now-you-see-them, now-you-don’t cameos, the next time you watch “The Graduate,” see if you can spot Richard Dreyfuss and the director’s comedy partner, Elaine May.
9) A favorite subject for college essays is “Symbolism in ‘The Graduate,’ ” particularly water — in the pool scenes, or Benjamin gazing at fish in a tank with a mini scuba diver, it can mean escapism or being trapped … take your pick.
10) In the iconic still of Dustin Hoffman seen past the curve a woman’s leg, the leg does not belong to Ms. Bancroft but rather “Dallas” star Linda Gray. In an interview
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