Top positive review
187 people found this helpful
Great movie, needs a better DVD
on April 19, 2003
The Graduate is a great film and I grow to love it more with each viewing. Everything is nearly perfect about it. The script, Mike Nichols' direction, the performances of Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft and Katherine Ross, the music of Simon and Garfunkel. It's funny yet dramatic, moving and profound all at the same time. A very enjoyable film all around. Dustin Hoffman has rarely been better than in The Graduate, although he has certainly given many other fine performances (Midnight Cowboy, Rain Man, Kramer Vs. Kramer). However, even more than those pictures, Hoffman will always be remembered for The Graduate and his portrayal of an awkward young man trying to get a hold on his life.
Also worth noting in particular is the direction of Mike Nichols. He truly gives the film a unique visual style to make it an experience rather than just a comedy/drama. Note the opening credits with Hoffman on an airport moving sidewalk set to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence". Nichols' uses cuts very interestingly in several scenes such as the scene where Benjamin jumps up on his raft in the pool, and lands in bed with Mrs. Robinson. He also uses zooms to great effect throughout the film. Nichols' Best Director Oscar for this film was well-deserved. I think that Hoffman's performance should have won also, as well as the screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry.
One other thing that I must mention is that The Graduate absolutely must been seen in its original aspect ratio! If you're not watching a widescreen version, then you're not watching The Graduate. The film was shot in the Panavision process with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Mike Nichols makes wonderful use of the 2.35:1 frame, so the film will be absolutely botched in pan and scan. If you watch The Graduate in full-screen pan and scan, you're really, really missing out. The visual impact of the film will be irreparably damaged.
The DVD is adequate, but this film deserves much better. The disc is labeled a special edition, but it's really too skimpy to be that. At very least you're getting a widescreen version of the film. However, the transfer is not enhanced for 16:9 televisions. What we need is a fully remastered 16:9 transfer which would be immensely beneficial. The picture quality is fair, but could be so much better. It's really stunning what difference a brand new remastered 16:9 transfer can make for an older film like this. Just look at the new DVD of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. The film also deserves better supplemental materials. A better documentary and a commentary by the filmmakers would be great. A seperate commentary by Dustin Hoffman would be even better. I'm convinced that someday The Graduate will receive a worthy DVD edition, and I will wait until then to purchase it.