The Graduate(1967). Comedy/drama. Directed by Mike Nichols. It is based on the 1963 novel, The Graduate by Charles Webb, who wrote it shortly after graduating from College. The screenplay was by Buck Henry, who makes a cameo appearance as a hotel clerk. Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross.
Concerned about his future, 20 year old Benjamin Braddock, returns home after graduating from a college to a graduation party. His parents, are only interested their plans for him to attend graduate school.
Mrs. Robinson, the wife of his father's law partner, asks Benjamin to drive her home from the party. She then invites Benjamin, inside and tells him that she finds him attractive and that she is available to him anytime.
Mr. Robinson arrives home, but does not suspect anything. He advises Benjamin that he should "relax and enjoy his youth while he still can".
A few days later, Benjamin calls Mrs. Robinson and says that he wants to meet her at a hotel and the two begin an affair. Benjamin spends his life.. floating in a pool and sleeping with Mrs. Robinson.
Tired of Benjamin's lazy days, his parents set him up on a date with his high school friend Elaine. Mrs. Robinson, makes it clear to Benjamin that he is to have nothing to do with Elaine. Benjamin, gives into the pressure from their fathers and takes Elaine out on a date.
During their date, Benjamin goes out of his way to treat Elaine badly. When, she begins to cry, Benjamin, feels sorry for how he treated her and explains to her, that he only asked her out on a date because he was pressured into it. They become friends and talk about their future plans.
When Benjamin's arrives at the Robinson's home to take Elaine out again, Mrs. Robinson threatens to tell Elaine, about her relationship with Benjamin. Unable, to control himself.. Benjamin, blurts out the truth before Mrs. Robinson can. Heartbroken, Elaine, breaks it off and returns to Berkeley.
Benjamin, realizes that he is madly in love with Elaine and follows her to Berkeley, where he interrupts a date between Elaine and Carl. Elaine asking what he is doing there after having raped her mother while she was drunk. Benjamin, reveals that he was the one who was pursued by Mrs. Robinson, which further upsets Elaine. Benjamin tells Elaine he will leave her alone, but Elaine asks him to remain.
Benjamin, wants to get blood tests so they can get married, but.. Elaine tells him that she has already told Carl that she will marry him.
Mr. Robinson, now knows about his wife's affair with Benjamin, goes to Benjamin's apartment in Berkeley threatening to have him arr rested if Benjamin continues to date Elaine. He forces Elaine to drop out of school and takes her away to marry Carl. Elaine leaves Benjamin, a note saying that she loves him, but.. because of her father's anger he would never allow them to be married.
Benjamin, races back to Pasadena looking for Elaine, but.. finds Mrs. Robinson, who tells him he cannot stop the wedding. Benjamin, learns from Carl's fraternity brothers, that the wedding is taking place in Santa Barbara. Will he get there in time to stop the wedding?
This is an excellent film, that will take you back to the sixties when the traditional family values were beginning to change..... A Comedy/drama.. I never really did think it was a comedy.. laughing at other people's emotional problems, is really not that funny to me. I don't want to ruin the film for you.. But, I did not like the ending..
According to TCM host Robert Osborne: "Mike Nichols wanted Doris Day for Mrs. Robinson, Robert Redford for Benjamin Braddock and Gene Hackman for Mr. Robinson." But there were numerous actors and actresses considered or tested for, or who wanted, roles in the film.
Day turned down the offer because she believed the film was not for her. Nichols' actual first choice for Mrs. Robinson was French actress Jeanne Moreau. The idea behind this was that in the French culture, the "older" women tended to "train" the younger men in sexual matters.
Joan Crawford inquired as to play the part, while Ingrid Bergman and Audrey Hepburn both wanted the role.
Patricia Neal, turned down the film as she had recently recovered from a stroke and did not feel ready to accept such a major role.
Geraldine Page also turned it down.
Other actresses considered for the part included Claire Bloom, Angie Dickinson, Judy Garland, Rita Hayworth, Jennifer Jones, Deborah Kerr, Eva Marie Saint, Simone Signoret, Jean Simmons, Lana Turner, and Shelley Winters. Angela Lansbury also asked about playing the part.
Ava Gardner sought the role of Mrs. Robinson, and reportedly called Nichols saying,"I want to see you! I want to talk about this Graduate thing!". Nichols did not seriously consider her for the role (he wanted a younger woman as Bancroft was 36 and Gardner was 45), but did end up visiting her hotel. He later recounted that "she sat at a little French desk with a telephone, she went through every movie star cliche. She said, 'All right, let's talk about your movie. First of all, I strip for nobody.'"
Jane Fonda turned down not only the role of Mrs. Robinson, but also that of Elaine.
For the character of Elaine, casting was also problematic. Patty Duke turned down the part as she did not want to work at the time.
Sally Field as well as Shirley MacLaine refused the role as well. Raquel Welch and Joan Collins both wanted the role, but did not succeed in getting it.
Carroll Baker tested, but was said to be too old to be Anne Bancroft's daughter.
Candice Bergen screen-tested as well, as did Goldie Hawn and Natalie Wood.
On the other hand, Ann-Margret, Elizabeth Ashley, Karen Carpenter, Carol Lynley, Sue Lyon, Yvette Mimieux, Suzanne Pleshette, Lee Remick, Pamela Tiffin, and Tuesday Weld were all on the director's shortlist before Katharine Ross was cast.
When Dustin Hoffman auditioned for the role of Benjamin, he was asked to perform a love scene with Ross. Hoffman had never done one during his acting classes and believed that, as he said later, "a girl like Ross would never go for a guy like me in a million years".
Ross agreed, believing that Hoffman "looked about 3 feet tall ... so unkempt. This is going to be a disaster". Producer Joseph E. Levine later admitted that he at first believed that Hoffman "was one of the messenger boys".
Despite or perhaps because of Hoffman's awkwardness, Nichols chose him for the film.
Before Hoffman was cast, Robert Redford and Warren Beatty were among the top choices. Beatty turned the film down as he was occupied with Bonnie and Clyde. Redford tested for the part of Benjamin (with Candice Bergen as Elaine), but Nichols thought that Redford did not possess the underdog quality that Benjamin needed. When Mike Nichols talked with Redford, Redford asked what he meant. "Well, let's put it this way," said Nichols, "Have you ever struck out with a girl?" "What do you mean?" asked Redford. "That's precisely my point," said Nichols.
Charles Grodin turned down the part as the money was not right. Both Brandon deWilde and Michael Parks auditioned for the role.
In addition, Keir Dullea, Robert Duvall, Harrison Ford, George Hamilton, Steve McQueen, Jack Nance, George Peppard, Anthony Perkins, Robert Wagner, and Jack Nicholson were all considered for the part of Benjamin.
Burt Ward, who starred as Robin on the Batman television show, had to pass on the role as he was committed to filming the show, and the studio would not lend him any way.
In the roles of Mr. Robinson, Gene Hackman was originally cast, but just before filming began, the director decided he was too young and decided to replace him.
Marlon Brando, Howard Duff, Brian Keith, Jack Palance, Frank Sinatra, and Gregory Peck were all other choices for the role that Murray Hamilton eventually played.
Susan Hayward was the first choice for Benjamin's mother, Mrs. Braddock, but the role was given to Elizabeth Wilson. And to play Mr. Braddock, Yul Brynner, Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, and Ronald Reagan all came close to getting the role that ended up going to William Daniels.
There are considerable age discrepancies between the lead roles and the actors who portrayed them. Benjamin Braddock says, "next week I will be 21"; at the time of filming, Dustin Hoffman was 30. Mrs. Robinson states, "Benjamin, I am twice your age." Anne Bancroft was 36, only six years older than Hoffman. Mrs. Robinson's daughter Elaine is 19 and was portrayed by Katharine Ross, who was 27 at the time.
According to a Variety article by Peter Bart in the 15 May 2005 issue, Lawrence Turman, his producer, then made a deal for Simon to write three new songs for the movie. By the time they had nearly finished editing the film, Simon had only written one new song. Nichols begged him for more, but Simon, who was touring constantly, told him he did not have the time. He did play him a few notes of a new song he had been working on; "It's not for the movie... it's a song about times past — about Mrs. Roosevelt and Joe DiMaggio and stuff." Nichols advised Simon, "It's now about Mrs. Robinson, not Mrs. Roosevelt."
Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, and Katharine Ross earned Oscar nominations for their performances. The film also received nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.
She joined The Actors Workshop and was with them for three years (1959-1962) working as an understudy, for one role in, The Balcony, where she appeared nude on stage. In 1964 she was cast by John Houseman as Cordelia in a production of, King Lear.
While at the Workshop, she began acting in television series in Los Angeles to earn extra money. She was brought to Hollywood by Metro, dropped, then picked up by Universal. Her first television role was in, Sam Benedict in 1962.
In 1964, Ross appeared in episodes of, Arrest and Trial, The Virginian ,Gunsmoke, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour ("Dividing Wall" episode, 1963), and made her first film, Shenandoah, followed by a starring role opposite James Garner in, Mister Buddwing with MGM in 1965. In 1966, she appeared in the episode, "To Light a Candle" of Barry Sullivan's NBC Western, The Road West.
Then came her breakout roles in two popular films: Elaine Robinson in, The Graduate (1967) and Etta Place in, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). After appearing as Dustin Hoffman's girlfriend Elaine in The Graduate, a part for which she received an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe as New Star of the Year. She also won a BAFTA for her part as an Indian in, Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969).
One of her best-known roles came in 1975's The Stepford Wives, for which she won the Saturn Award for Best Actress She reprised the role of Etta Place in a 1976 ABC TV movie, Wanted: The Sundance Woman, and then won a Golden Globe for best supporting actress for her part in 1977's Voyage of the Damned; as of 2011, she, along with Shirley MacLaine in Madame Sousatzka in 1988, are the only Golden Globe winners to not get an Oscar nomination for the same performance.
She starred in several TV movies from the late 1970s, including: Murder by Natural Causes in 1979. Rodeo Girl in 1980, Murder in Texas in 1981, and the 1980s television series The Colbys opposite Charlton Heston as Francesca Scott Colby. She played Donnie's therapist in the 2001 film Donnie Darko. Her last acting role to date was as Carly Schroeder's grandmother in the 2006 independent film Eye of the Dolphin. Ross has established herself as an author, publishing several children's books.
Ross has been married five times. Her first marriage was to actor Joel Fabiani from February 28, 1960 to 1962. She was then married to John Marion from May 2, 1964 to 1967. On June 1, 1969, Ross married the triple Oscar-winning cinematographer Conrad L. Hall after meeting him on the set of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. They separated in 1973. She was married to Gaetano Lisi from 1975 to 1979, after they met when he was a chauffeur and technician on The Stepford Wives. Ross is now married to actor Sam Elliott, whom she met when they co-starred in the 1978 film The Legacy (one of his first film roles was as 'Card Player #2' in the opening scene of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). The couple married in 1984 and have a daughter, Cleo Rose Elliott, born in 1984.