Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 3/24/00
Edition - 1967 (1999) - MGM
review by Brad Pilcher of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
105 mins, PG, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), single-sided,
single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailer,
behind-the-scenes documentary, interview with Dustin Hoffman,
film-themed menu screens, scene access (19 chapters), languages:
English (DD 2.0), subtitles: French, Spanish, Closed Captioned
"Would you like
me to seduce you? Is that what you're trying to tell me?"
Dustin Hoffman plays the bumbling Ben Braddock in the 1967 classic,
The Graduate. As films go,
this one is a must-see for any fan of cinema. It still manages to
entertain and amuse some three decades after its initial release. On
DVD, the film has just gotten better.
The story goes something like this. Ben is a 21-year-old, recently
graduated from college, who has returned home to relax after four
years or hard work. Anne Bancroft plays the infamous Mrs. Robinson,
who apparently takes quite the liking to young Ben. After luring him
over to her home, she undresses and declares herself "available"
to the petrified Ben. After a bit of thought, Ben decides to take
Mrs. Robinson up on her offer and they begin having "regular
rendezvous'' at the Taft Hotel. This is all fine and good, until
Mrs. Robinson's daughter Elaine arrives home from college. Mr.
Robinson and Ben's parents coerce him into taking her out, and a
budding romance ensues. Mrs. Robinson naturally finds this quite
unacceptable, and all sorts of comedic chaos hence develop.
The film is a visual textbook for filmmakers. It has some of the
greatest bits of composition ever seen, continually trapping the
hapless Ben between elements. The music is a perfect chord from
Simon & Garfunkel. The acting is also solid, although these are
neither Anne Bancroft's nor Dustin Hoffman's finest performances.
Hoffman was really just beginning in film with this movie, so that's
entirely understandable. However, his performance is dead-on for the
role and should be commended.
On the video side of the disc, a beautiful picture is rendered.
Very little grain is present here. Almost all defects have been
removed and artifacting is not a problem. The downside is that no
anamorphic transfer is presented. That's incredibly unfortunate, as
it really would have brought this film to life. Considering its time
period, however, you really can't fault the video. The sound is
perfect as well. The 2.0 mix is good, bringing out all of the little
whimpers of Hoffman as he wiggles into and out of some very sticky
situations. No complaints on this end of things.
The extras are also top-notch. An interview with Dustin Hoffman is
included along with a small behind-the-scenes documentary. To be
honest, the Hoffman interview was infinitely more insightful and
entertaining than the documentary. However, it was interesting to
see some of the footage included in the documentary. The original
theatrical trailer is also included, and is very interesting
considering the difference in styles between modern previews and
1960s previews. A 1987 laserdisc release included an audio
commentary by film professor Howard Suber, and it would have been
nice to see that here. However, that's quibbling and there is really
nothing to complain about with the extras given. By the way, this
DVD version is identical to the earlier release from Polygram (it's
basically a re-packaging).
From film majors to plain old cinema fans, The
Graduate is a film that simply belongs in every
collection. Dustin Hoffman really broke out here and the ensemble is
stunning. The script is top notch, and the directing and
cinematography are textbooks all their own. If you're a serious fan
of film, graduate to The Graduate
and go get it today.