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The Graduate (40th AE)
DVD disk
Sep 21, 2007 By: Quigles
The Graduate (40th AE) order
Director:
Mike Nichols

Actors:
Dustin Hoffman
Anne Bancroft
Katharine Ross

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
After recent college grad Benjamin Braddock has an affair with an older woman (who also happens to be his father's business partner's wife), he finds himself falling for the one person she put off limits—her daughter.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Time has a way of altering the importance of films. The 1960s displayed great change in America, with major viewpoint shifts in regards to the social statuses of family members and gender-based expectations. The way THE GRADUATE explored these themes marked part of what made it such a wonderfully significant film. Fast-forward 40 years, the movie has lost a lot of its relevance, and with it, much of what it made it so special at the time. But it certainly hasn't lost its charm or enjoyability. Those are kept thankfully intact due to the blustering, uneasy hilarity brought on by Dustin Hoffman in his first leading role, with equal credit owed to Anne Bancroft's strong-willed, brazen delivery of Mrs. Robinson.

Oh yes, Mrs. Robinson. Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson. A song just about everybody knows, and for good reason. It's one of the many perfectly realized numbers that makes THE GRADUATE such a joyously entertaining film to listen to, as well as watch. If there's one thing that's definitely held the test of time, it's the music.

The dialogue has also retained its joviality after all these years. The back-and-forth banter between Benjamin (Hoffman) and Mrs. Robinson (Bancroft) signifies the epitome of awkward humor, partially because both of them represent very different parts of the social/political ladder, and partially because Hoffman is just that good at playing an uncomfortable, nervous wreck.

The downside to this is that, later, when Benjamin's focus turns toward Mrs. Robinson's lovely daughter Elaine, the exchanges of dialogue don't nearly hit the same level of amusing discomfort. More importantly though, Ben comes across at times as somewhat of a stalker, as his bond with Elaine doesn't feel fully developed enough for him to be head over heels for her. If the actors weren't so damn good at their jobs, this might've been a bigger issue. As is, it's but a mild complaint in an otherwise wonderful film.
THE EXTRAS
In addition to including a fine new video/audio transfer, a bonus CD holding 4 of the film's original songs, and a mini-booklet, this 40th Anniversary Edition also comes complete with the previous Special Edition's extras (and of course some new ones as well).

Audio Commentary (with director Mike Nichols and Steven Soderbergh): Here we have an excellent, chatty brand new commentary, loaded with discussions about the film's thematic elements to information about its production. Soderbergh adds to the track perfectly, helping prompt Nichols to talk about everything fans could possibly want to hear about.

Audio Commentary (with Dustin Hoffman and Katharine Ross): Another newly recorded commentary, this one isn't quite as revealing as the previous, but it's just as entertaining. Hoffman offers up plenty in the way of fun conversation, even if it the track as a whole takes a bit too long to get going.

Students of the Graduate (25:50): This reflective piece covers filmmakers and others influenced by the film, including speakers such as directors Harold Ramis, Marc Forster, and David O. Russell, as well as a number of professors and critics.

The Seduction (8:48): This is sort of a continuation from the preceding featurette, but with a stronger focus on the relationships of the characters.

The Graduate at 25 (22:38): Repeating from the original DVD release is this interview-filled featurette about the film's production. Noticeably absent are director Mike Nichols and actress Anne Bancroft.

One on One with Dustin Hoffman (22:40): With clips apparently taken from the previous extra, this featurette offers enough insightful conversation to make it worth your while. Especially if you're a fan of Hoffman.

Bonus Music CD: The 4 Simon and Garfunkel tracks include "The Sound of Silence", "Mrs. Robinson", "Scarborough Fair/Canticle", and "April Come She Will".

Also included are the film's Original Theatrical Trailer and a more recently recut Trailer.

Miscellaneous: Lastly, there's a tri-fold booklet featuring interesting production notes and trivia tidbits about the film.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
History may have made THE GRADUATE somewhat irrelevant, but it still has a lot more to offer than mere social significance. From the bitingly witty dialogue to the deft (and for its time, quite innovative) direction/cinematography, this is a joyously entertaining picture complemented that much further by the terrific performances spread throughout. For all fans, this 40th Anniversary Edition is a definite must own.
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