April 23, 2017

"Their cleverest scene together is the one in which Benjamin asks Mrs Robinson if they can't, for once, talk about something."

"Conventionally, that would make him the 'sensitive' one - the one who wants a meaningful relationship, rather than just uncomplicated rutting. But it comes across as cruel and heartless: He's too insensitive to sense her vulnerability, and too uncaring to try to figure it out. So, even in the New Hollywood, Benjamin is a traditionalist - opting for romance and conversation over sex and compartmentalization. Mike Nichols' genius was in finding the sweet spot where edgy sells, providing you smooth out all the rough stuff."

Writes Mark Steyn (on the occasion of the return of "The Graduate" to theaters on its 50th anniversary). (Can you see it in Madison? Yes. But only at 2:00, and it's a beautiful, warm day here. To go to the movies this afternoon would be like taking Elaine to a strip bar, no?)

37 comments:

Deb said...

My 10th grade history teacher took me and a friend to see this movie when it was released. She knew the owner of the theater at the old Lenox Mall in Atlanta. When we left after the movie the owner expressed doubt that Dustin Hoffman would ever do anything after The Graduate.

Georgia Lawyer said...

I had a major crush on Katharine Ross - what a looker! When she followed up with Butch Cassidy and Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, I thought she would be a major film star for a generation. Didn't happen. She is now 77 years old. Sigh.

J2 said...

Steyn is incorrect. Anne Bancroft's best performance is in "The Pumpkin Eater".

traditionalguy said...

Plastics!

Ann Althouse said...

"I had a major crush on Katharine Ross - what a looker! When she followed up with Butch Cassidy and Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, I thought she would be a major film star for a generation. Didn't happen..."

There's also Katharine Houghton, a completely different Katharine, though the 2 seemed like the same person. Pretty, in that 1967 way. But so bland and dull. There to look with wide eyes at the leading man. But that was a thing for a moment... in the Summer of Love.

Carol said...

I never could get into that movie. Benjamin was so boring, just reacting passively to things. Same with Harry Potter..I don't care for young inarticulate guys I guess.

Ann Althouse said...

Gotta spell that Katharine with an "a" in the middle if it's an actress — because of Katharine Hepburn.

Houghton was Hepburn's niece.

Ann Althouse said...

Why did Katharine Ross end up wanting Benjamin so badly? Just because her other boyfriend was so awful?

David Begley said...

Elaine had to know what her mother was up to.

Roughcoat said...

By way of explanation:

ELAINE
Carl Smith. He's a medical student. We've known him for years.

BEN
Why do you have to see him?

ELAINE
Well -- I said I might marry him.

BEN
How did he do it? Did he get down on his knees? He didn't get down on his knees, I hope.

ELAINE
No, Benjamin.

BEN
Well, what did he say? I'm curious.

ELAINE
He said he thought we'd make a pretty good team.

BEN
Oh no. He said that.

ELAINE
Shhhh.

BEN
Where did he do it? It wasn't in his car, was it?

exiledonmainstreet said...

Thanks for posting this, Ann. I'm a fan of Steyn's in general but enjoy his movie reviews even more than his political writing. He always seems to find angles that nobody else notices.

It's funny that Simon was considering calling the song "Mrs. Roosevelt." "What's that you say, Mrs. Roosevelt?" wouldn't have worked well, since in 1967, Eleanor wasn't saying much of anything.

Saint Croix said...

To go to the movies this afternoon would be like taking Elaine to a strip bar, no?

That move totally worked!

it's raining here anyway

Mark said...

Benjamin was so boring, just reacting passively to things.

Not boring, but existential alienation and emptiness and nihilism.

Sebastian said...

Ever since, men have realized that being sensitive was just cruel, and changed their ways accordingly.

mockturtle said...

I never understood why Mrs. R. was the villain. Sex was probably the only thing Benjamin had to offer. And it's difficult to even imagine that.

[Dang, my right arm is in a cast. Hunting/pecking with my non-dominant hand is a bitch.]

BJM said...

Althouse, Amazon Prime has an excellent American Masters piece on Mike Nichols that I think you would enjoy.

Michael K said...

Katharine Ross has been married to my favorite actor, Sam Elliot, since 1984 (after three other marriages) and they have one daughter, who stabbed her mother a few times with scissors.

Sam Elliot was in "Butch Cassidy" as a bit player. In 1978 he made "Lifeguard" which was a cult movie among my doctor friends. We had all seen it as a sort of early midlife crisis. The studio wanted to make him a sex symbol actor but he declined and did smaller bore stuff. He probably makes as much from Dodge commercial voice overs as acting.

ceowens said...

Sam Elliot - season 6 "Justified".

Tyrone Workman said...

I thought she would be a major film star for a generation

They tried to package her for that. Katharine Ross was very good looking, but not good at acting.

William said...

The Graduate is one of those movies I resist seeing again. When it came out, it was significant and impactful. I don't want to see it again, because I have a sneaking hunch I might have more sympathy for the guy who recommends plastics than for Benjamin.....Plus, there's the fact that Dustin Hoffman sexually harassed Katherine Ross during the making of this movie. I think all right thinking people should boycott this film and Dustin Hoffman.

Tyrone Workman said...

1967 was a most excellent year for movies, The Graduate, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Cool Hand Luke, In The Heat of the Night, Bonnie and Clyde, The Dirty Dozen, to name a few.

eddie willers said...

Sam Elliot - season 6 "Justified".

Sans mustache!

virgil xenophon said...

Sam Elliot ... Command Sgt Major in "We Were Soldiers Once-And Young."

...cowboy narrator in The Big Lebowski

Unknown said...

Katherine Ross' best role and best moment in her best role was The Stepford Wives when she reappeared remade with a set of really marvy tits. Classic piece of cinema. Later in life I dated a woman similar in looks and height who had the identical long nippled appeal. I never asked he for any line readings, however.

Unknown said...

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner remains unwatchable.

Mark said...

The Graduate, Cool Hand Luke, Bonnie and Clyde, The Dirty Dozen

Each one with similar themes character-wise.

Danno said...

I linked to a Mark Steyn article the other day and saw his website now lets you get notifications of new material. Excellent!

Earnest Prole said...

I cannot see Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate without thinking of his performance as an autistic in Rain Man and thinking it’s not really acting.

gadfly said...

Taking Elaine to a strip bar instead of the Taft Hotel bar? Either way, the next obvious step is close at hand. Koo koo kachu, I am the egg man.

mockturtle said...

I cannot see Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate without thinking of his performance as an autistic in Rain Man and thinking it’s not really acting.

Yep, and the same character he played in Midnight Cowboy.

Ipso Fatso said...

If they shot the movie today the last line "Plastics!!" would be replaced with "Gay Porno!!!!"

Saint Croix said...

Katharine, you rock, baby! Don't listen to these twerps.

And I love how she makes Steve McQueen look bad.

That movie is awesome.

Saint Croix said...

And here are the Zombies singing about her!


Saint Croix said...

Punch it, baby!

Saint Croix said...

Benjamin was so boring, just reacting passively to things.

We're all boring until we fall in love!

duh

EMyrt said...

I was 14, and taken with Simon And Garfunkel (I still know all the words to all the songs in Sounds of Silence). And I grew up on WFMT's Midnight Special, so Nichols and May were old friends. I loved the movie, so hip and clever in skewering the bourgeoisie.

I saw it again some 25 years later. My tastes and politics had changed. Except for Bancroft's performance, which is wonderful for all the reasons Althouse points out, I found the movie small-minded and mean-spirited, full of the kind of lefty virtue-signalling smugness that we have now grown so tired of.

Mac McConnell said...

The only great things about The Graduate are Bancroft's performance, Ross' face and the Alpha Spyder. The Alpha might be the only character Hoffman is taller than.