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The Graduate 50th Anniversary Screening 31

By Open Air Theatre

The Graduate turned 50 this year, in celebration Studio Canal have released a beautifully remastered version which will be screened at the Park on Sunday 10 September by The Luna Cinema. Mike Nichols’ stylish film captured the zeitgeist with his bold storytelling, and as the highest grossing film of 1967 (taking just over $104m) is considered a 60s classic.

The film is synonymous with Dustin Hoffman, who’s role as Benjamin Braddock, made him a household name. Hoffman played a college graduate seduced by an older woman, Mrs Robinson, played by Anne Bancroft who was actually only 6 years his senior! His line “Mrs Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?” was voted as the #63 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).

It was Hoffman’s terribly awkward audition which charmed Nichols; upon his arrival the producer mistook him for a window cleaner, Hoffman rolled with it and in character, cleaned a window. Hoffman didn’t appear to be the natural choice as the book described Ben as a conventionally attractive college graduate, but Nichols “chose to give this short, funny-looking Jewish guy the role usually reserved for a tall, handsome protestant” Dustin Hoffman, The Guardian 2017.

Nichols seemed to know exactly what he wanted for that role. Robert Redford had also been screen tested for the role of Benjamin Braddock, but was rejected by Nichols who had to explain when Redford implored him to consider him for the film, “Bob, look in the mirror. Can you honestly imagine a guy like you having difficulty seducing a woman?”. It was Hoffman’s awkwardness he was after.

The memorable Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack was intentionally used by Nichols to shake up the conventional notion of a musical score; he wanted more popular songs to set a mood rather than correlate with a scene. The famous “Mrs Robinson” song was actually being written with the tentative title of “Mrs Roosevelt”, but Nichols was pestering Simon for extra songs, so the song was changed and a classic was born.

The Graduate has stood the test of time, and over half a century on it still has the ability to shock and entertain with its creative and accurate reflection of people’s lives. Back on the big screen it will make an unforgettable cinematic experience.

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