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The Graduate: 09/30/07

The Graduate

I love The Graduate (1967) directed by Mike Nichols and scored with the wonderful music from Simon and Garfunkle. Young Dustin Hoffman will forever be Benjamin Braddock just as Anne Bancroft will forever be Mrs. Robinson.

I've had a copy of Charles Webb's book on my shelf for about two years now. I decided it was time to finally read it for the Books to Movies Challenge and I'm glad I did. Reading the book has made me appreciate the film even more. The screenplay is extremely faithful to the book but the cinematography and the music enhance an otherwise dry plot.

I had hoped the novel would give a peek into Benjamin's mind to see what makes him tick. Why does he come home feeling so disillusioned? Why does he decide to lounge around at home for six months when his parents clearly drive him up the wall? Why does he suddenly fall for Elaine (or for that matter, why does she fall for him?) None of those questions are answered in the book. In fact, the bulk of the book is the dialogue of the film with very little else except for a few segue paragraphs between scenes (what in the film become musical montages).

One question that I really wanted answered and wasn't: where does Benjamin's family live? It seems to be close to Los Angeles because there are "business partners" from Los Angeles Yet the drive to Berkeley is described in the book as trivial. Yet later he has to fly down to Santa Barbara for the wedding. My best guess is somewhere near Santa Barbara but I wish I knew for sure. It's a silly thing to get bothered over but the random geography of this book (and therefore the film) bothers me.

The Graduate is the rich-kid-from-the-burbs version of On the Road. There is even a scene in the book (which I don't remember being in the film) where Benjamin hitchhikes up to Redding to put out a forest fire before heading home again having tried to experience what is described in the Kerouac classic.

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Comment #1: Monday, October, 1, 2007 at 19:29:39


Things like that bother me too!
Great review.
Here's to Mrs. Robinson! :) "

Comment #2: Saturday, October, 20, 2007 at 00:22:17


I didn't even know it was a book. I agree ... little details can bother me too!"

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