Friday, November 13, 2009

The Graduate: Here's to you, Dustin Hoffman

The Graduate is one of my all-time favorite movies and I've seen if more times than I can count. This time I made note of how brilliantly miscast Dustin Hoffman is as Benjamin Braddock. He’s a California native, but sounds like he was raised in New York. He doesn’t look like either one of his parents, William Daniels or Elizabeth Wilson. And he’s supposed to be a track star and “ladies man?” Director Mike Nichols took a tremendous leap of faith, because Dustin Hoffman is a disaster on paper. But on-screen he’s perfect. His fumbling responses to Mrs. Robinson’s (Anne Bancroft) seduction, the awkwardness of their first “meeting.” The way he tries to disgust daughter Elaine Robinson (Katharine Ross) on their first date only to apologize for his boorish behavior. His frenzied drive up and down the California coast as he tries to track her down and that final smile on the bus. The point is, there were a lot of actors in Hollywood who looked the part. (In fact, Robert Redford was originally considered.) But I can’t imagine anyone occupying it as well. My Tweet: The Graduate-Dustin Hoffman beds his father’s business partner’s wife and falls in love with their daughter. Then things get complicated. 10 (out of 10)

“The Graduate”

Released: 1967

Rating: PG

Length: 106 minutes

Cast: Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross, William Daniels

Director: Mike Nichols

Genre(s): Drama, Adaptation, Comedy

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