The Graduate Blu-ray Review
Mike Nichols classic film “The Graduate” gets the Criterion treatment.
In “The Graduate,” we find Benjamin is in a post college funk. He has his whole life ahead of him, but doesn’t know what to do. He’s worried about his future and is generally lost. During this confused state, he somehow becomes sexually involved with one of his parents friends (Mrs. Robinson) who just happens to be a married woman. Worse still, he is being pressured by seemingly everyone to go out with her daughter Elaine. Amidst this chaos, Benjamin finds himself falling for Elaine. Obviously, this ordeal can’t end well for Benjamin…or will it?
“The Graduate” is one of those films that is slightly difficult to critique in the modern age. Along with the dated 60’s sensibilities and style, the film’s cultural impact is also somewhat lost on viewers who didn’t see the film at the time of its release. Now, don’t get me wrong, “The Graduate” is undoubtedly a good character study with a killer soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel, but is the film worthy of being praised as one of the all-time cinematic classics? I’m not so sure.
Let me start off by saying that director Mike Nichols, writer Buck Henry, and stars Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, and Katharine Ross all deserve credit for creating a unique comedy about adulthood and life. Bancroft and Hoffman in particular deliver some of the finest work of their careers. With all of that said, I can’t help but feel like Henry and Nichols could have dug deeper with the material.
If you think about it, not all that much actually happens in the film. Most everything happens on a surface level with some blatantly symbolic moments thrown in here and there. The biggest drawback, however, is that the scenes between Benjamin and Elaine feel a bit rushed. It would have been nice to see their “romance” develop more as it’s a bit tough to buy why Benjamin is so enthralled with her (although maybe he’s more enthralled with the idea of being with her?). That might seem like a nitpick to some, but it is a crucial part of the movie (the second half in particular).
Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. How does it look? The 4K digital restoration shines brightly here. Not only are the colors rich, but certain shots look particularly stunning. A definite upgrade from past releases.
Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Truth be told, it sounds kind of like a Mono track. It’s OK, but hardly great.
* “The Graduate” trailer.
* A booklet featuring credits and an essay by film critic. Frank Rich.
* Screen tests featuring Dustin Hoffman and Katharine Ross, Robert Lipton and Ctahy Carpenter and Tony Bill and Jennifer Leak.
* A newly recorded 38 minute interview with Dustin Hoffman in which he discusses how he became attached to “The Graduate,” screen testing, the film itself, his upbringing, and more.
* “Sam and Mike”- A look at editor Sam O’Steen’s work and how he collaborated with Mike Nichols.
* “Students of The Graduate”- An older 25 minute extra that essentially covers the legacy and influence of “The Graduate.”
* “The Graduate At 25”- An archival extra that celebrates the film’s 25th anniversary.
* A segment from “The Dick Cavett Show” featuring Paul Simon.
* A 1966 interview between Mike Nichols and Barbara Walters.
* Another newly recorded extra which contains a 25 minute conversation between writer Buck Henry and producer Lawrence Turman. The two chat about “The Graduate” novel, film, Dustin Hoffman, the script controversies, etc.
* A 1987 commentary by film scholar Howard Suber.
* An involving and informative 2007 commentary with Mike Nichols and Steven Soderbergh. This is the one to play.
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