The Graduate (1967)
Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
|Year Of Production||1967|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Mike Nichols|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||None||Smoking||Yes, Almost everyone in the film smokes.|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
"Here's to You Mrs Robinson".
The Graduate is in my humble opinion one of the most interesting films to come out of the 1960s. It captures the mood of the decade perfectly, from the heady optimism of the youth movement through the disillusionment of the Vietnam era. For some it is a simple morality tale, a flippant story of "free love" and its consequences; but just look carefully at the uncertainty in Elaine's expression as she glances at Ben on the bus at 100:40 and you might catch a glimpse of the hidden depth in this cinematic gem.
The film is also interesting in other, more obvious ways:
So, what is the film about? Well, a simple run through the plot will make it all seem a lot more banal than it is when viewed up on the screen, but here goes. The film opens with young Benjamin (Hoffman) returning home from college to be greeted by his doting parents and their friends. He is pursued by the wife of his father's business partner (Anne Bancroft) and soon begins an affair with her. He spends his time flitting from the swimming pool to Mrs Robinson's bed, while his parents grow increasingly concerned at his lack of direction. In spite of himself he meets and falls in love with Mrs Robinson's daughter Elaine (a glowing Katharine Ross) and has to try and deal with the trauma when she finds out about his affair with her mother.
There, it all sounds pretty dire, doesn't it? In fact, it all moves along magically, with a light touch which belies some of the emotional undercurrents. On the surface viewers generally sympathise with Benjamin, and the confusion that he is going through as he struggles to find his place in adult life. On another level he can be seen as a rather sinister and self-centred character. During his discussion with Mrs Robinson about art he completely fails to understand how much her life was changed when she became pregnant with Elaine. His pursuit of Elaine can be seen as either romantic or obsessive; if this was a modern movie you could imagine Every Breath You Take being part of the soundtrack.
I first saw this film when I was about 12. I remember thinking how old Anne Bancroft looked (now of course she looks amazingly attractive in the role). I had an old widescreen tape of the film that came from France. The credits were in French but luckily the film was in English. The tape has long worn out under repeated viewing, so I am happy that the film is coming out on DVD. Some of the hairstyles and fashions now look dated, but the story is holding up very well. If you have already seen this film, well then, you will know whether you want to buy this disc or not. If by some strange chance you have not seen it yet, or have not seen it in its original widescreen aspect ratio, then this is really "do yourself a favour" territory.
This is an excellent video transfer for a film this old, and was either restored or sourced from a master in very good condition.
The aspect ratio is 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, which is the original theatrical production ratio.
Sharpness is quite good, though there is a soft edge to some of the scenes, almost as if these scenes were filmed through a filter to give them a romantic look. In fact, shadow detail is also mixed, and almost always for artistic reasons (see Ben's car emerging from the dark at 8:27 for an effective use of shadow). There is very little low level noise.
The colours are rich, and quite vibrant at times, with very good flesh tones (take a look at Ben and his fish tank at 2:49 for one of many possible examples).
There is very little damage on this print, which helps add to the enjoyment. You will spot some occasional aliasing (as on the wires at 82:09) and one or two minor artefacts, but very little else to complain about.
There are no subtitles. The lack of an English for the Hearing Impaired track is disappointing.
I did not notice a layer change.
The audio transfer is not quite as good as the video transfer, but it is still quite acceptable.
There is only the one audio track here. It is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track encoded at a bitrate of 192 Kb/s. As far as I can tell it is a Dolby Digital surround-encoded track - my amplifier refused to switch out of ProLogic mode no matter what I did; the audio was firmly focused on the front three speakers.
Dialogue quality is reasonable at most times, though some variance in volume made some outdoor scenes (as at 59:18) difficult to hear. At other times even subtle sounds are easy to pick up, including Benjamin whimpering in fear as he is pursued by the aggressive Mrs Robinson. The audio sync is fine.
Music is a key element in this film, and the Simon and Garfunkel songs vary perfectly in tune with the action (both in pace and in volume). The rest of the music is either incidental (muzak in hotels, for example) or subdued (Dave Grusin also has a music credit, although I'm not sure which parts he contributed).
Surround presence is limited in scope, but the music adds atmosphere of its own. This is also one of those films where silence plays an important role at times (and the song The Sound of Silence drives this point home). In some ways 5.1 sound has had a detrimental effect on film soundtracks - some modern filmmakers seem to feel that battering our ears into submission adds to the cinema experience. Check out the soundtrack of this film for an example of the impact that well designed but subtle sound can have. The subwoofer adds a little bass in the songs but is absent otherwise.
|Surround Channel Use|
I'll flip out about this under our Region comparison, but no, there are none.
This is animated with music. You can choose to play the film or select a scene (12 of those).
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This film is available in a variety of versions in other Regions. As befits one of the classics of 60s cinema, you can find various Special Editions in all regions but our own. The Region 1 MGM version includes:
This Region 1 version is not 16x9 enhanced, and the picture apparently has a slight green cast in parts, so that even with the extras the Region 4 is preferred. However, in Region 2, we have had the Momentum Special Edition which had a 64 page collectible book and a Still Gallery in addition to the features on the MGM version. It also includes a variety of foreign language and subtitle tracks and IS 16x9 enhanced, so this is the version of choice if you can still get hold of it.
Now for my minor rant. I am seeing an increasing trend towards Region 4 discs missing out on key extra features. This used to be common in the early days of DVD, but less so in recent years. It seems that we are back to the days of bare bones DVDs in Region 4, and while this might be acceptable for budget discs we should also be given the choice of Special Edition discs as well. These should be released at the same time as the bare bones discs so that the film buffs in the market are not forced to buy the same film twice. Rant over (for now).
As you may have guessed by now, this is one of my favourite films, and I am happy to see it released with such good video and reasonable audio. I am less happy to see it pushed out on a disc with no extras, especially in light of the fact that most critics consider it a film classic. Shame!
|DVD||Toshiba SD-K350, using Component output|
|Display||SONY VPL-HS10 LCD projector, ABI 280cm 16x9 screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Kenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|