And that's because we still haven't answered its central question: When Nichols died in November, obituaries inevitably depicted "The Graduate" as an emblem of youth alienation in postwar America. When Hoffman read the book on which the film was based, he told Nichols that Braddock should be played by Redford or by another classically handsome white Anglo-Saxon Protestant.
Mentally adrift the summer after graduating from college, suburbanite Benjamin Braddock Dustin Hoffman would rather float in his parents' pool than follow adult advice about his future.
But the exhortation of family friend Mr. Robinson Murray Hamilton to seize every possible opportunity inspires Ben to accept an offer of sex from icily feline Mrs.
The affair and the pool are all well and good until Ben is pushed to go out with the Robinsons' daughter Elaine Katharine Ross and he falls in love with her. Robinson sabotages the relationship and an understandably disgusted Elaine runs back to college. Determined not to let Elaine get away, Ben follows her to school and then disrupts her family-sanctioned wedding.
None too happy about her pre-determined destiny, Elaine flees with Ben -- but to what? Directing his second feature film after Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Using odd angles, jittery editing, and evocative widescreen photography, Nichols welded a hip New Wave style and a generation-gap theme to a fairly traditional screwball comedy script by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham from Charles Webb 's novel.
Adding to the European art film sensibility, the movie offers an unsettling and ambiguous ending with no firm closure. And rather than Robert RedfordNichols opted for a less glamorous unknown for the pivotal role of Ben, turning Hoffman into a star and opening the door for unconventional leading men throughout the s.
It became the top-grossing film of and was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Actor, and Actress, with Nichols winning Best Director. Together with Bonnie and Clydeit stands as one of the most influential films of the late '60s, as its mordant dissection of the generation gap helped lead the way to the youth-oriented Hollywood artistic "renaissance" of the early '70s.
Characteristics Comedy on the Edge Themes.Mike Nichols on The Graduate. Advertising “Oh, it’s not hard to talk about a movie like this, even after 45 years,” says Mike Nichols, calling from his midtown office.
The influential film is a biting satire/comedy about a recent nebbish, East Coast college graduate who finds himself alienated and adrift in the shifting, social and sexual mores of the s, and questioning the values of society (with its keyword "plastics").
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In the years since Mike Nichols made "The Graduate," we have transformed our universities into truly mass institutions. Soon, we are told, we'll have "college for all." But college for what?
Asked that by his befuddled father, Benjamin Braddock replies simply, “You got me.” We've got to come up with a better answer than that.
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