Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘ecology’

One word: Plastics.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 14, 2019

Film buffs may recall the 1967 classic motion picture which cast Dustin Hoffman as the central character/protagonist, and included vocal music by Paul Simon (performed by Simon and Garfunkel), and instrumental music by Dave Grusin.

Featuring enduring classic Simon and Garfunkel hits as “The Sound of Silence,” “Mrs. Robinson,” “Scarborough Fair,” the music may be the most enduring part of the film.

It was Dustin Hoffman’s first serious motion picture acting role, and became the foundation upon which he would later build his career, and later, achieve international stardom.

While two movies in which he was role cast were released that year – The Tiger Makes Out, and The Graduate – it was the latter for which he became most renown.

Based on the novel by Charles Webb, the screenplay was written by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham, and though described as a blended comedy, drama, romance genre film, its high-brow humor on a low-brow topic edges on the dryly sardonic-to-noir, while the drama is real.

And romance?

Well, it’s hardly romantic.

Read the July 19, 1968 critique of “The Graduate” by Jacob R. Brackman published The New Yorker, which essentially makes the same conclusion.

What else could be said for an early horny housewife MILF movie?

Because that theme – that “Ben Braddock” (played by Hoffman), a soon-to-be recent university graduate, is dating Elaine Robinson, a as-yet-ungraduated peer at an in-town university, and their relationship progresses to the point of marriage (for Elaine, but not for Ben), all while a steamy, purely sexual relationship is developed between Mrs. Robinson (played by Anne Bancroft) who first initiated overtures toward Ben, to which he later succumbed – is what drives the story along.

As his natural senior, Mrs. Robinson clearly takes unfair selfish advantage of Ben’s naiveté, and in that sense, demonstrates not merely manipulation, but abuse.

Naturally, all such relationships of that type are mostly kept secret and frowned upon in polite society, and this case is certainly no different, which provides the tension for the drama in the film. Only this one turns toward blackmail, and the farcically shallow, emotionally manipulative, dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship is only suggested, and is rarely fully displayed in the film – though there are moments – and again, demonstrates the vacuous depths of Mrs. Robinson’s emotional, psychosexual needs, and the treachery to which she goes to fulfill her unmet needs.

Moreover, the humor is frequently dead-panned, and is by no means slapstick. A 1968 review of the movie in The New Yorker described it as “European moviemaking done right in the heart of American movieville,” and I couldn’t agree more – which is not to say that the film (and book) are unworthy as art, or entertainment, for they are. But as a genre, “because American films straggle so far behind literature and European films in reflecting the actual quality of modern life, rudimentary negativism can easily be taken for truthfulness, and a decade-old vision can appear to be “ahead of its time.””

And so it is with “The Graduate.”

But the movie and its themes were not my intended target.

Instead, the subject I wanted to focus upon is Read the rest of this entry »

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