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Here’s to You, Graduate

The Graduate, which turns 40 this year and really hasn’t
aged a day, is now available in a new anniversary edition DVD with extras like
new commentaries from Dustin Hoffman and Katherine Ross, and an examination of
the film’s considerable impact.

Young, aimless, sexually inexperienced Benjamin Braddock and
predatory proto-cougar Mrs. Robinson have so many cinematic children that it’s
nearly impossible to count them. Every
subsequent onscreen directionless slacker and tadpoling midlife hottie can
thank Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, and especially novelist Charles Webb and
screenwriter Buck Henry for their very existence.

The film added catch-words ("plastics") and
catch-phrases ("Mrs. Robinson, you are trying to seduce me") to our
vocabulary, but it also gave us a raft of scenes stunning in their visual
power: Benjamin submerged in his parents’ pool wearing his graduation gift
scuba suit; Mrs. Robinson’s nude body shot in separation as she traps Benjamin
in her bathroom; Elaine Robinson weeping as a stripper’s tassels spin in front
of her; and the final devastating image of Benjamin and Elaine in the back of
the bus, as their exuberance turns to doubt.

As far as this new DVD is concerned, I plan to stroll around the grounds until I feel at home.

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