Mike Nichols directs Dustin Hoffman
and Anne Bancroft on the set of The Graduate.
I didn't see The Graduate when it came out in 1967 (I wasn't alive), but when I did see it in the early 90's, I was struck by how much I identified with a film that had been made more than 20 years earlier. Dustin Hoffman's Benjamin Braddock didn't seem too much different than me and my friends, wallowing in a post-college malaise, trying to figure out what's next. (If only somebody had whispered "plastics" to me.) Watching The Graduate in 1991 at the age of 22 probably didn't feel much different for me than it did for a 22 year old watching in 1967, even though our worlds would have been incredibly different. The Graduate's director, Mike Nichols, pulled off the greatest of artistic feats: he made a film that was both timely and timeless. And according to Friday's guest Mark Harris, it ushered in a new era of Hollywood movie making, what many believe to be some of Hollywood's most creative, daring and artistic years.
Harris' new book Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood tells the story of the making of The Graduate and the four other movies from 1967 that ended up as best picture nominees at the 1968 Oscars: In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Dr. Dolittle and Bonnie and Clyde. Movies (besides Dr. Dolittle, which was a big-budget Hollywood nightmare) which would open the door for films like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Conversation and countless other artistically ambitious films of the 1970's.
Watch the original trailers of the five films Mark Harris discusses: