Here’s to you, Dustin Hoffman…
A young man has an affair with the older wife of a business associate of his father. Then he falls in love with her daughter.
The Graduate (1967) Official Trailer, Movie station and photos © Embassy Pictures
In The Graduate (1967), Dustin Hoffman plays a young man of 21, Benjamin Braddock who is seduced by the older Mrs Robinson (Anne Bancroft), his father’s work partner’s wife. He has an affair with her. Things get complicated when he is encouraged by her husband and his parents to start a relationship with her daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross). After what turns into a successful date with Elaine, Benjamin confesses to her he had a relationship with her mother…
Hoffman is believable as the torn Braddock especially when he realises he wants a relationship with Elaine, rather than her mother. Reading about this movie, it is hard to see the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Doris Day in Bancroft’s role as the almost predatory Mrs Robinson having seen them in too many nice, sweet romantic roles.
Elaine played by Goldie Hawn and Jane Fonda is also difficult as Ross is more believable as the sweet, innocent daughter due to her more pretty and approachable girl next door persona, with the others playing more sex kitten types in Barbarella (1967) and Cactus Flower (1969). Hoffman plays the role of Braddock well and in some ways, I feel his height adds to the vulnerability of his younger man character. Others considered for his role included Jack Nicholson and Harrison Ford.
The film also has a Dallas (1978-91) connection with the legs of Mrs Robinson in the film poster, belonging to a then-unknown model by the name of Linda Gray. Gray just over a decade later was cast as Sue Ellen Ewing in the series. Years later, she played Mrs Robinson on stage in a London production of the play leading her Dallas screen husband Larry Hagman to quip,
“I couldn’t wait to see Linda in The Graduate. After more than 20 years, I finally got to see her naked!”
Another more bizarre TV fact is William Daniels who plays Benjamin Braddock’s father voicing Kitt, the talking car in the series Knight Rider (1982-86). The ending of the film, of course, has been parodied by everyone from Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer – in those car adverts from way back – to Waynes World 2 (1993). However, none reaching the crazy heights of the wee references made in the cartoon, Archer (2009).
But it’s a great film which is one of the first films I remember with the younger man – older woman tag. Notable others including the delightful Harold and Maude (1971). Of course leading to the 80s where there were toyboys everywhere…in film and with soaps, as both Dynasty (1981-89) – with Alexis (Joan Collins) and Dallas (1978-91) with Linda Gray.
Nowadays it’s much more common with many women preferring the younger date, not just celebrities. The final words have to go to the lovely Joan Collins, with the best and funniest quote on this subject. When asked about the thirty years plus age gap between her and her husband, she said ‘If he dies, he dies.’ Which also probably what her Dynasty character would have quipped too.
Weeper Rating: 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦/10
Handsqueeze Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂🙂 🙂 🙂 /10
Hulk Rating: /10
Always a Bridesmaid Blogathon 2019 No 67 and The TCM Summer Under the Stars Blogathon 2019 No 83
This review was added to Journeys in Classic Film and Musings of a Classic Film Addict‘s The TCM Summer Under the Stars Blogathon for Dustin Hoffman Day. It was also added to Hollywood Genes’ Always A Bridesmaid Film Blogathon. Other posts with this cast include Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs Kramer and Family Business. Katherine Ross starred in The Legacy, The Colbys and Voyage of the Damned.