September 24, 2013

"The Graduate"

In Taki's Magazine, I'm continuing my intermittent series reinterpreting well-known but not necessarily well-understood episodes in American history. Was the landmark movie The Graduate, which was a vast box office success in 1968, really about the Generation Gap? Or was it actually about the Ethnic Gap?
Director Mike Nichols likes to claim that he hadn’t realized what The Graduate was actually about until he saw it parodied in a juvenile humor magazine in October 1968: 
"It took me years before I got what I had been doing all along — that I had been turning Benjamin into a Jew. I didn’t get it until I saw this hilarious issue of MAD magazine after the movie came out, in which the caricature of Dustin [Hoffman] says to the caricature of Elizabeth Wilson, ‘Mom, how come I’m Jewish and you and Dad aren’t?’"

Read the whole thing there.

104 comments:

Colin Laney said...

Dustin Hoffman was the second choice - Burt Ward, TVs Robin, was slated to play the title role.

Matra said...

Wasn't it a Presbyterian church, or at least referred to as such in the movie?

Donna B. said...

Who cares? I was a teenager when I saw The Graduate and I hated it. It was to close a reminder of those slightly older than me who were so full of angst over things that didn't amount to diddly squat.

Though the movie was important as the first component in the construction of my BS meter.

rho said...

I watched The Graduate for the first time in my early twenties. The movie itself is only five or so years older than I am, but even so it portrayed characters I did not recognize from my own life. I liked the movie well enough, but that was more due to Hoffman's performance as a guy that, while I couldn't get behind him, at least I got him.

I watched the movie again a half-dozen or so years later, and being well-versed in the language of film by that point, I could appreciate it on an artistic level. The characters are all still foreign to me personally, but neither do I know any talking wolves nor young girls in a red hood--yet I can still follow and appreciate the fairy tale.

It would be interesting to watch it again now. Most likely I'd count how many takes it took to establish a scene assuming a one camera shoot. When it comes to morality plays, RoboCop is probably better.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

I hated and still hate the Graduate. I hate pretty much any issue driven 60s movie(whenever they are made) whether the issues are implicit(as mostly in Graduate) or explicit.
Mike Nichols was and is a hack.

Although there was a segment of the movie that takes place in Berkely if I recollect and the Braddocks landlord ,an old crusty (McCarthyesque?) type repeatedly enquires if he is an "agitator".
Lampooned in an episode of Seinfeld when Newman has an affair with the landlords wife who also calls Newman an agitator

Actually I even hate the music of the Graduate, self absorbed and melancholic in a utterly nauseating way

The entire enterprise was an exercise in navel gazing of a type that the 60s were notorious for.

Is there any other movie besides Clockwork Orange which so viciously critiques the 60s mores and its aftereffects?
I mean besides Death Wish

When Steve says that Hollywood limps far behind youth trends ,boy is he right.
The iconic movies about disco and breakdancing were made atleast five years after they peaked

And lets not get started on technology! There is a tendency to show any important persons office or residence with multiple TV screens and other display and all on at once. Seriously who can process information like that?

The latest example was the painfully unfunny Interns where Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson struggle with this latest technology -online video chatting...hilarity does not ensue..for the audience anway thought the two main leads had a blast quite secure(undeservedly) in their ability to bring the funny
I would like the remind my fellow readers than this movie was released in 2013!

Aaron Gross said...

I already responded to this column four months ago here, but I think my point still stands. Much if not all of what you say about the Jew/Gentile angle of The Graduate applies to Hollywood going back decades before, to Jews-in-a-strange-land acts like the Three Stooges and the Marx Brothers. And a lot of Nichols and May's own comedy, a decade before The Graduate (and the Six Day War), was kind of a Jewish intellectual critique of American WASP culture.

I also think The Graduate is way overrated. Nichols' ex-partner, Elaine May, directed a much better (and funnier) movie about the rise of the Jews, The Heartbreak Kid.

Aaron Gross said...

If you look at the old Nichols and May comedy routines on YouTube or read/watch their interviews, it's obvious that Elaine May was the brains of the outfit.

TheLRC said...

Add me to the chorus of those underwhelmed by The Graduate. I'm a year older than the movie, and first saw it as an undergrad, which was the point at which I should have been most sympathetic to its clumsy-but-clearly-influential messaging.

Nope. I found it a self-satisfied, smug little number, and a later re-viewing only confirmed this.

Its only possible saving grace is the potential for ambiguity in its ending, but others I know who've seen it believe, unironically, that it's a 'happy' ending. Boomers, mostly, now that I think about it . . .

Anonymous said...

... was kind of a Jewish intellectual critique of American WASP culture.

At least the WASPs permitted a critique of their culture.

Anonymous said...

Colin Laney said...
Dustin Hoffman was the second choice - Burt Ward, TVs Robin, was slated to play the title role.


No, that's not accurate. In the DVD extras to Mel Brooks' The Producers actor Gene Wilder states categorically that he met with Mike Nichols AND screen tested for the lead role AND was about to be hired for the role. Nichols wanted GENE WILDER to play the lead role in the Graduate.

BUT after carefully thinking it over, Wilder also liked the role in Mel Brooks' The Producers, so he suggested to Nichols that his friend Dustin Hoffman be screen tested for the lead role in the Graduate. Hoffman was being considered as the second choice, that part is true, but he was also thinking about trying out for Mel Brooks' film The Producers.

Dare say, Gene Wilder could have played either lead role in both films really really well. Hoffman couldn't really always get comedic roles too well (partly cause he just isnt all that funny) and went with the one that helped make his career. But no way he could've played Zero Mostel's sidekick nearly as well as Wilder did. No way.

Actually it didnt hurt either actor since both were oscar nominated in the roles that they eventually chose and both films were box office hits.

I like the Producers much much better. Doesnt take itself soooo seriously and helped to usher in a new era of comedy in US filmmaking.

Anonymous said...

They do that a lot these days, in a lot of those raunchy sex comedies - there'll be this really uptight either working class or WASP-y white family, but they'll inexplicably have a Jewish teenage son, who's often creepy and obsessed with pr0n. I guess Jews are good at portraying that character, and the goyim just eat it up.

They also love: the ballbreaking, drunken harridan wife, the slutty teenage daughter, and the foul-mouthed grandmother. The goyim are so easy to please! Oy, this stuff practically writes itself!

Mr. Anon said...

"TheLRC said...

Its only possible saving grace is the potential for ambiguity in its ending, but others I know who've seen it believe, unironically, that it's a 'happy' ending. Boomers, mostly, now that I think about it . ."

That's odd. It's pretty clearly a downer ending. They're both sitting there on the bus, looking at each other like total strangers, and thinking "now what?".

It's a very sixties movie in tone, if not subject. But there are other sixties movies I liked better, such as "The President's Analyst".

Am I the only one who, if posed with the question - spend a lifetime with Katherine Ross, or have a short fling with Anne Bancroft, would answer: "Anne Bancroft! Hell Yes, Anne Bancroft!"?

Steve Sailer said...

There are a million stories about who almost sorta got various roles in The Graduate. Robert Redford, who had starred on Broadway in Nichols' production of Barefoot in the Park, supposedly want to play Benjamin. But Nichols asked him if he'd ever had trouble getting a girl. Redford replied, "What do you mean?"

Hoffman's old roommate Gene Hackman was supposed to play his dad, but got dropped. According to Wikipedia, Ronald Reagan was almost cast in that role. But that sounds doubtful since in 1966 he was auditioning for Governor of California.

But there are a million stories like this about every hit movie. When all is said and done in Hollywood, more is said than done.

Power Child said...

This is off topic, but I want to rant here about the "dudebro" culture they say dominates the tech industry these days.

When I think of people in the tech industry, I think of the many software engineer roommates and coworkers I've had. These are Shane Carruth types. If you don't know who Shane Carruth is, watch the movie "Primer." Carruth produced, wrote, directed, scored, edited, and starred in "Primer," and the last thing he did before that was develop software.

"Primer" doesn't include a single dick joke or lewd sexual reference. (Carruth is a self-described Christian.) At the same time, there are a few scenes where Carruth and his co-star are tossing a football, shooting hoops, and watching sports. There's a scene where they eat steak. Another where they drink beers and talk about what they'd do with unlimited money and power. They talk like engineers, think like men.

Most software devs I know are like this. Are these the dudebros of the tech industry that the feminist writers are complaining about? I very much doubt it.

I think they're talking about sales people, pitch people. In college, these were the idiots puking outside of loud frat parties, chugging protein shakes in the gym lockerroom, drenching themselves in Axe body spray. They didn't care whether the boobs of the girl at the strip club they'd gone to the night before were real or fake--and not caring about that is just about the only thing sleazier than fake boobs themselves. (And isn't there something homoerotic about going to strip clubs with your friends?)

They were barely hanging on in the business, management, and communications schools. They weren't in the engineering schools. They wouldn't have cut it there.

They graduated with Cs and went to go work in car dealerships, cell phone kiosks at the mall, and in the bowels of college sports administration. I guess a bunch of them work for tech companies, maybe delivering presentations or on the less creative side of sales. Ironically, they're also the core types who Business Insider seems to be written for. (They probably just skip over all those articles telling them they're destroying the world and go straight to the tabloidy videos about the previous day's football highlights.)

It should be possible to cringe at the rotten hairy armpit of feminist thought while still seeing the dudebros for the human vacancies they are. Jim Goad says a dudebro is "any male who's OK with being male," but he's wrong. A dudebro wouldn't know masculinity if it swung an axe into the back of his head. Dudebros think like women, and wear perfume like women. They obsess over clothes and shoes like women. They preen their body hair and lay in tanning booths like women.

They're big and hulking, but only because they take in unhealthy amounts of protein and work out constantly--not because they've ever done a bit of man's work. If any of their daddies bought them Lambos, they typically get automatic transmissions. And the most unmanly thing about dudebros is that none of them are prepared or willing to form and support families.

Dudebros aren't capable of making a work environment hostile--that takes some combination of cunning and genuine malice--but they're perfectly capable of making a work environment annoying and laborious. Women fed up with crap like Boobshare (or whatever the latest dudebro app idea was that set off the Femenazis) shouldn't feel threatened, but their eyes must be rolling so hard in their heads that it qualifies them for worker's comp. I know mine were.

On the other hand, dudebros are handy to have around as legions. If you want people who are strong-willed but at the same time malleable enough to do whatever you tell them (though not necessarily to do it right the first few times), dudebros are decent fodder, and they're happy to be playing on a team. Maybe that's why the actual tech guys keep them on hand.

Power Child said...

Redford was slated to play the Robert Pirsig character, I think, in a movie version of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" that never got made. At least, that's the story according to Pirsig's own sequel, to that book, "Lila."

Ray Sawhill said...

Brilliant (and hilarious) piece, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Million stories there might be but you have to admit 30 year old method actor Dustin Hoffman really shaved those years off to nail his part.

TheLRC said...

Mr. Anon, you are clearly a discerning movie viewer; I agree it's a downer ending. But in my experience some people either miss out on the significance of those final few seconds of the film, or they think the rebellion Ben and Elaine have enacted overshadows their seeming indifference to each other -- i.e. the important thing is not so much that they 'love' each other, but that they are now free from the square life that almost entrapped them.

Aaron Gross said...

At least the WASPs permitted a critique of their culture.

Nichols and May targeted Jewish culture as much as they did WASP culture. See their "The Mother" routine.

Jewish critiques of Jewish-American culture were really big in the 1950s and 1960s. It was largely a generation gap. Goodbye, Columbus, the book and the movie, is the classic example, but there were lots of others. Archie Bunker was based on a Jew, remember.

Anonymous said...

This is an epic Sailer article. Nice once, Steve.

Ultimately, The Graduate is about the pain of being Jewish in a gentile society. This theme had been downplayed by previous generations of Jewish filmmakers, who were grateful for how nice Americans had been to Jews. But as the years went by, Jewish-American artists discovered that there was little danger and much profit in violating this old norm.

In the words of Buffett, picking up pennies in front of a steam roller.

Anonymous said...

http://www.filmreform.org/archives/arch55.htm

Dustin Hoffman and his Jewish Persona
Posted on July 12, 2003 at 03:15:01 AM by Eire

Film critic Kathryn Bernheimer writes that Dustin Hoffman "rarely plays explicitly Jewish characters (his performance as comic Lenny Bruce in Bob Fosse's Lenny was an exception), but many of his roles carry strong Jewish undercurrents." Indeed, Hoffman's roles can be used as a trope for the emergence of Jewish themes and identities in modern Hollywood. This section examines the case of Dustin Hoffman, exploring how his Jewishness, how many of his movie characters, and how some of the themes and scenes in his movies come together to illuminate Jewish identity and its role in movie making. Among the common Jewish American themes will be that of the Jewish stand-up comedian; Jewish men pairing up with the "golden shiksa"; the Jewish struggle with Nazis; and the Jew as intellectually and morally superior to the Gentile.

Characteristic of many American Jews, Hoffman is only loosely attached to formal Judaism. Whitfield writes that "Dustin Hoffman's second wife has also encouraged him `to do what I've been wanting to do for many years, which is to become more observant and pass that on to my kids. There are a few things that I really want to do before it's too late,' the actor added. `I want to learn Hebrew. And I would love to be bar mitzvahed.'" While these formal symbols of Jewish identity lay in Hoffman's future, his ethnic concerns are discernible as far back as the late sixties in The Graduate, continue into the seventies with Marathon Man, into the eighties with his Broadway performance in Death of a Salesman, and on into the nineties with Outbreak.




Hunsdon said...

Mr. Anon said: They're both sitting there on the bus, looking at each other like total strangers, and thinking "now what?".

Then our host said: Nichols asked him if he'd ever had trouble getting a girl. Redford replied, "What do you mean?"

Then Hunsdon said: I'll just tie all this together (like a good rug does for a room) by mentioning Robert Redford's "The Candidate" ending with the line, "What do we do now?"

Anonymous said...

As a game of bait and switch the film works out its pathologies deftly. Micro as macro, we have the WASP as both the Man and the Father; i.e. an omnipresent wrong that must be overcome both culturally and personally. For the goy audience, there's the sense of the literal: how "our" parents are behind the times and holding society back, that last part as pivot point with the Jewish assumptions on the other side. For the Jewish audience, and filmmaker(s), the film is an allegorical statement about their disdain for not only WASP culture, but its prevelance.

Thus, the kosher critics had their love for the film -- their understanding -- and the way to package it to the rest of America. Honestly, the film is so obviously a critical stance on goy culture that I always find myself doing a scene by scene analysis of its pointed attacks and generalized tone. The ending is, yeah, hilariously obvious in its structure.

There's the King David standard -- or would it somehow be more kosher today to say King Conan(?) -- of the new king's rule being a tale of ironic corruption. But let;s face it, that's probably too generous, as if it was somehow an accident rather than the plan all along.

For Nichols directly, the contrast from 1968 to 1988 is rather telling. By the time of Working Girl he's fully at piece with having slain the WASP, and now can celebrate his true loves: making money and lovingly filming Melanie Griffith (shiksa! blonde!) in a thong and garters, all while pretending the film is actually about female empowerment rather than 80s nihilsm. It's that Thirtysomethings contrast: when the boomers were exposed for the frauds everyone should have known they were all along.

But for men like Nichols, the bigger social cause is always the personal. That's where Jews are far ahead of Goys, and arguably how they overcame the (self-sacrificing) WASP menace.

As a game of bait and switch the film works out its pathologies deftly. Micro as macro, we have the WASP as both the Man and the Father; i.e. an omnipresent wrong that must be overcome both culturally and personally (Joseph Campbell for Jews). For the goy audience, there's the sense of the literal: how "our" parents are behind the times and holding society back, that last part as pivot point with the Jewish assumptions on the other side. For the Jewish audience, and filmmaker(s), the film is an allegorical statement about their disdain for not only WASP culture, but its prevalence.

Thus, the kosher critics had their love for the film -- their understanding -- and the way to package it to the rest of America. Honestly, the film is so obviously a critical stance on goy culture that I always find myself doing a scene by scene analysis of its pointed attacks. Then there's the generalized tone. The ending is, yeah, hilariously obvious in its structure.

There's the King David standard -- or would it somehow be more kosher today to say King Conan(?) -- of the new king's rule being a tale of ironic corruption. But let's face it, that's probably too generous, as if it was somehow an accident rather than the plan all along.

For Nichols directly, the contrast from 1968 to 1988 is rather telling. By the time of Working Girl (replete with an opening track from Carly Simon belting out "New Jerusalem") he's fully at peace, having slain the WASP, and now can celebrate his true loves: making money and lovingly filming Melanie Griffith (shiksa! blonde!) in a thong and garters, all while pretending the film is actually about female empowerment rather than 80s nihilism. It's that Thirtysomethings contrast: when the boomers were exposed for the frauds everyone should have known they were all along.

But for men like Nichols, the bigger social cause is always the personal. That's where Jews are far ahead of Goys, and arguably how they overcame the (self-sacrificing) WASP menace.


- kk

slumber_j said...

'Am I the only one who, if posed with the question - spend a lifetime with Katherine Ross, or have a short fling with Anne Bancroft, would answer: "Anne Bancroft! Hell Yes, Anne Bancroft!"?'

Second. She was very beautiful, and smoking hot. The time I met Mel Brooks and he revealed himself to be extraordinarily gracious and kind for a guy in his position in Hollywood, I decided to stop begrudging him Anne Bancroft. But it wasn't easy.

And I'm delighted to find that so many here find The Graduate as wanting as I always have.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

""... was kind of a Jewish intellectual critique of American WASP culture.""

At least the WASPs permitted a critique of their culture."

Well said.

Chubby Ape said...

It's only thanks to the web that Steve Sailer can publish an article like this and we can read it. It's a reasonable and accurate piece of cultural commentary but it would not have cleared the choke-points of the old mass media. If we were in the early '90s, maybe Mr. Sailer could have had it appear in The Spectator but it'd have to have been submitted before the whole William Cash incident rustled Conrad Black's jimmies to their foundations.

Anonymous said...

Generation gap....yeah, that's the ticket.

"...most of all, you've got to hide it from the kids..."

Anonymous said...

Apart from Lawrence of Arabia and Zulu all 60s movies are crap.

Dahinda said...

"But there are a million stories like this about every hit movie. When all is said and done in Hollywood, more is said than done."

I heard that London was considered for the role of the film making capitol of the English speaking world, and that Chicago and Brooklyn almost got the part as well, but Hollywood finally won out!

Gentlile Women Want to Marry Me said...

Is no one going to mention who married Ann Bancroft--with whom she stay married from 1964 to her death? Mel Brooks. For the Jew-envying Sailerites out there (and boy do you have circumcision envy), ask yourself why such Shiksa goddesses have married Jews--not just Hollywood and artist alphas but even nebishes. Could it be the Jews are smarter and more interesting and more successful than their gentile competitors? Could it be that the gentile women came to recognize that Jewish men tend to make better husbands and fathers? As the joke goes, gentiles beat their wives, Jews beat the market. Half-Jew Paul Newman married Joanne Woodward, with whom he stayed married and never cheated on.

elvisd said...


Though the movie was important as the first component in the construction of my BS meter.


Mine was reading Catcher in the Rye .

sunbeam said...

“You know my theory about California genetics? Jews from New York came to the Land of Plenty, and within one generation the Malibu sand had gotten into their genes and turned them into tall, Nordic powerhouses. Walking surfboards. We were thinking about how these Nordic people have Dustin as a son, and it’s got to be a genetic throwback to some previous generation.”


This would explain David Lee Roth, but apparently he was born in Indiana. Maybe there is something to nurture versus nature.

BB753 said...

Steve, don´t you feel that Dustin Hoffman has been miscast in every single part he´s played except perhaps Rain Man, or is it just me? You know, the Harvard Wasp Hollywood Mafia at work?

Anonymous said...

I was 19 when the movie came out. It was a big bore and I didn't know what the fuss was about.

My roommates felt the same way. I think it a typical case of the media and HW making something out of nothing.

Nothing's changed. Big media decides what the country should think.

Anonymous said...

But there are a million stories like this about every hit movie. When all is said and done in Hollywood, more is said than done.

Now you're sounding like Kurosawa's Rashomon, one event as told by multiple viewpoints. Who exactly is telling the truth?

I thought Barefoot in the Park was written by Neil Simon? Thought it was his production?

Anonymous said...

Mike Nichols seems to be giving multiple takes on the casting of Dustin Hoffman. In the only David Brooks book I have read cover to cover, " Bobos in Paradise " Brooks mentions the fact that Benjamin is clearly a WASP in the book and that Nichols originally wanted Robert Redford to play the role as well because of the supposed attraction of Mrs. Robinson to him, no one thought of a married, middle-aged woman throwing herself at Dustin Hoffman. Of course Brooks made the section in the book about non-Protestants plural, with no mention of Jewish specificity. According to him Hoffman represented all the non-WASP's, I believe he used the term "ethnic strivers" to denote Irish, Italians, Greeks, Slavs, and Jews collectively who where joining the American elite following the use of the SAT in admissions to the Ivies. This despite the fact that both the director and the star were Jewish, no other non-WASPs are clearly cast in the film.

d said...

More Steve stuff about how the Jooz have polluted America, against its dumb, undefended will.

"The movie took off with Jewish audiences in a few Manhattan theaters and slowly became a juggernaut nationally."

How? Because someone put a gun to the poor goy head and forced them to see it?

Did that happen with Rocky too? I remember Rocky opening in a teeny little Upper East Side theater, with hardly any advertising - just a small 1 inch ad in the papers, the poster showing the silhouette w/Rocky & Adrian, walking hand in hand, away from the camera.

Two weeks later, it was a pheenom.

That's the movies: any hit movie, much less a great movie, is a miracle confluence of chance events. No behind the scenes power creates them - they just happen.

MAD mag was created and produced by mostly Jews. I imagine the article was written by a Jew. Of course, the spoof pointed out an uncomfortable truth.

I'm always bothered by ethnically incorrect casting. I saw The Graduate when it came out, and I was made uncomfortable by the obvious fact that Hoffmann was a Jew - and that Anne Bancroft is Italian-American.

But a lot of people aren't, and it's not because they've been brainwashed, they just don't care.

IMO Hoffmann's most ethnically incorrect job was in Little Big Man. Short, wiry, gingery Michael J. Fox would have made a great Jack Crab.

sykes.1 said...

Dear Mr, Anon, you just might be. I'l take Katherine Ross over Anne Bancroft anytime.

MQ said...

Max’s father Mel Brooks was busy filming The Producers, a less suave reflection of the same general urge as The Graduate.

Come on, no way. This statement alone makes me doubt you as a movie critic -- you really tend to distort actual movies for your political agenda. The Producers is a down and dirty, hilarious movie that relentlessly mocks New York Jewish culture. It could not be more different than The Graduate, which takes itself extremely seriously and has a stick up its ass in every possible way. The Graduate is a lousy movie, the Producers is fantastic.

MQ said...

Also, this article is strange because it seems to presume that Jews were just 'breaking in' to the movies in the 1960s. Hollywood was dominated by Jewish producers from the 1920s on, and much of what we now think of as the mid-20th century Golden Age of mainstream American culture was shaped and influenced by Jews. "White Christmas" is by a Jewish songwriter, to take just one minor example. In no way were Jews outsiders to Hollywood, nor is there a Jewish 'entrance' to culture in the 1960s. The artsy, affected alienation of The Graduate is not an expression of a Jewish entrance into different circles, but an attempt by some powerful people in Hollywood to capture what they thought of as the generation gap. Quite inaccurately too -- "Easy Rider" is the true breakthrough of the counterculture into the movies, it is far more culturally accurate than The Graduate and was made completely outside the studio system. "Easy Rider" was entirely created by WASPS, by the way.

Titus Didius Tacitus said...

He couldn’t be a blond, blue-eyed person, because then why is he having trouble in the country of the blond, blue-eyed people?

Aryans don't suffer; it's Jews that suffer.

It's in this context that one should understand the progressive mandate to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.

Fortunately progressive thinkers solved the problem of the Aryan inability to suffer, from both directions. Fewer and fewer people in what was the land of the blond, blue-eyed people are themselves still blond, blue-eyed people, and those that still are are doing worse and worse.

How lucky those blue-eyed blond Aryans were to get a new, culturally and financially dominant over-class to remedy their boring lack of trouble!

Titus Didius Tacitus said...

Mr. Anon: "That's odd. It's pretty clearly a downer ending. They're both sitting there on the bus, looking at each other like total strangers, and thinking "now what?"."

Now things work out great.

"During filming, Hoffman picked up his first groupie: ‘‘Beautiful, thin, a real shiksa goddess. I think Nichols took that as a sign — at least somebody found me attractive. And it didn’t get past me, either!’‘"

See? Scoring a shiksa goddess is a Good Thing. There's no need to over-intellectualize it.

Eric Rasmusen said...

Great review-- one of your best!

Anonymous said...

How can you not include Whit Stillman's analysis of The Graduate in his film, Barcelona?

Fred: You think wedding vows are going to change everything? God, your naivete is astounding! Didn't you see "The Graduate"?

Ted: You can remember "The Graduate"?
Fred: Yeah, I can remember a few things. Apparently you don't. The end? Katharine Ross has just married this really cool guy - tall, blond, incredibly popular, the make-out king of his fraternity in Berkeley - when this obnoxious Dustin Hoffman character shows up at the back of the church, acting like a total asshole. "Elaine! Elaine!" Does Katharine Ross tell Dustin Hoffman, "Get lost, creep. I'm a married woman"? No. She runs off with him - on a bus. That is the reality.

It seems Stillman noticed the same angle you did, even if he doesn't explicitly say what you did.

Anonymous said...

Because a Spanish Language movie is doing so well among Hispanics we need to import lots more Hispanics to save Hollywood:

http://variety.com/2013/film/news/hollywood-gets-instructions-from-latino-audiences-1200665085/

Dutch Boy said...

The Jewish fantasy of getting the good-lookin gentile girl is a cliche'.

Anonymous said...

Whit Stillman's "Last Days of Disco" had a terrific scene in which one of the characters rips apart The Graduate on related grounds, argues of course the female lead shouldn't have run off with the Ben character when her prospective husband was excellent precisely because he was very WASPy.

Paul Mendez said...

I didn’t get it until I saw this hilarious issue of MAD magazine after the movie came out...

As a kid, my family rarely went to the movies. So all I knew about 1960's and early 1970's cinema came from reading MAD magazine parodies. In college, I would often burst out laughing at the most inappropriate times while watching movies like "Lawrence of Arabia" and "True Grit" because I FINALLY GOT THE JOKE!

Jason said...

I wonder though how many film audiences got the joke, as you like to say. I remember my father (Boomer) talking to me (Gen-Xer) about the film when I was 13 or so, referring to the cross scene and all that, but he never mentioned the ethnic angle - although to be fair that is the sort of subject that he has never been interested in or cared about. I suppose for many secular Jews though the impact of the ethnic issue was quite visceral, but they perhaps chose not to openly discuss it in journals like Commentary (Although maybe not; perhaps there was a Philip Roth-like figure who analyzed it in print somewhere at the time, or in retrospect).

Whiskey said...

Never saw the movie, seems boring and dreadful.

I expect the entire success of the movie is predicated not on Jewishness but on screwing a mom and her daughter. The ultimate beta male fantasy I guess.

That's my cynical take. But I think the smart money would at least take a flyer on it.

American audiences like Jews who are funny: Seinfeld, the Marx Brothers (why was Chico always Italian?) and of course the immortal Three Stooges. Mel Brooks, funny. High Anxiety is hilarious to anyone who has ever sat through a Hitchcock film. The parody of the Birds alone is worth seeing the movie.

And the Producers is hilarious. Because a Mostel like scammer and a naif like Wilder falling into the scheme, and the weirdos around Broadway, are entertaining and recognizably human. Scammers, grifters, con artists, and the like are inherently more interesting than non-problems such as Mother? or Daughter? or navel-gazing Jewish angst.

That's why Mel Brooks is a comic genius and Mike Nichols is boring.

Anonymous said...

Nichols felt alienated by 1960s WASP California?

Problem solved: everyone's alienated in 2010s California!

pat said...

The only problem with the MAD Magazine story is that Mrs. Robinson as played by Ann Bancroft who IS Jewish. Her husband played by Murray Hamilton (I had to look that one up) might as well be Jewish.

When I saw I in my twenties I wasn't very sensitive to ethnic nuances, but I had lived in the Haight-Ashbury and I recognized that the characters were not like any people I knew. They were 'movie' characters which I now realize meant they were mostly Jews. They were approximately the same people seen on the screen a few years later in 'Goodbye, Columbus' - upper middle class Jewish suburbanites. At that point in my life I had lived in a black ghetto and a white suburb but the only Jews I knew were from the movies.

After reading your article I find it preposterous that Nichols would have been unaware of the ethnic slant. Hoffman is like a caricature of a Jew. In the fifties all the actors in all the Hollywood movies were Jewish but they didn't look Jewish. For example the three main Nordics in 'The Vikings' were all Jews - Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis and Ernest Borgnine. Dustin Hoffman was a Jew in a Woody Allen or Mel Brooks way.

None of that however made much of an impression on me at the time. The big moment for me and for everyone else I knew was the 'plastics' moment.

Bancroft played what is now called a 'cougar'. She was superbly cast but Hoffmann was a very improbable object of her desires - short and funny looking. Redford would have been more plausible.

The most memorable moment for those of us in the Bay Area was near the end when Hoffmann drives the wrong way across the Bay Bridge. The real lower deck to the East Bay is dark and oppressive. Which reminds me - time I go look at the new eastern half of the bridge. I'll put the top down and whistle some Simon and Garfunkel.

Albertosaurus

d said...

Charles Webb and his wife, "Fred," sound like a hoot:

"As of 2006, Webb has been with his long-term partner Eve for more than 40 years. Eve shaves her head and calls herself "Fred" in solidarity with a Californian support group called Fred, for men who have low self-esteem.[2] Fred is an artist and her work includes illustrations for Webb's 2002 novel New Cardiff. The couple have two sons, one of whom is now a performance artist who once cooked and ate a copy of The Graduate with cranberry sauce.[2]

The Webbs removed their children from school so that they could tutor them at home. This was an illegal act in California at the time, and to evade the authorities they fled the state; at one point they managed a nudist camp in New Jersey. They also divorced - accounts vary as to why (it was not due to personal differences), either in protest against the institution of marriage,[3] or against the US's lack of marriage rights for gays.[2] They sold their wedding presents back to their guests, and having given away four houses in succession, lived on the breadline, taking menial jobs as cleaners, cooks and fruit-pickers, working at K-Mart and living in a shack.[2] They currently live in Eastbourne, East Sussex, England.[4]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Webb_%28author%29

Writers be crazy. The bit about the film rights sounds wrong. He should see a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Steve, your focus on how one elite displaces another is interesting. Have you read Richard Davenport-Hines book on the John Profumo scandal in 1968? The backdrop is resentful outsiders attacking established elites, which seems to parallel the theme in this piece of yours. Love to see your take.

Anonymous said...

I always thought THE GRADUATE was a way overrated film. The main character was a selfish, smug guy who only cared about himself. While other men his age were going to Vietnam, his only concern was what college to go to - or not. Note too how he gives no thought to how his affair will destroy his dad's business partnership. Finally I always thought Hoffman was miscast. At 30 years old he was and looked way too old for this role. He was in fact just a few years younger then Anne Bancroft.

Steve Sailer said...

Anne Bancroft was born Anna Italiano, which sounds pretty Italian to me.

"Bancroft was born Anna Maria Louisa Italiano in The Bronx, New York, the daughter of Mildred (née DiNapoli; 1907–2010), a telephone operator, and Michael G. Italiano (1905–2001), a dress pattern maker.[4][5] Her parents were both children of Italian immigrants. She was brought up as a Roman Catholic."

Anonymous said...

At 30 years old he was and looked way too old for this role. He was in fact just a few years(6) younger then Anne Bancroft.

Hoffman was the best method actor the way he shaved those years off his real age.

ironrailsironweights said...

"Bancroft was born Anna Maria Louisa Italiano in The Bronx, New York, the daughter of Mildred (née DiNapoli; 1907–2010), a telephone operator, and Michael G. Italiano (1905–2001), a dress pattern maker.

Amazingly long-lived parents, should have been terrific genetic stock from a longevity standpoint, but Bancroft herself only made it to 73.

Peter

carol said...

ll I knew about 1960's and early 1970's cinema came from reading MAD magazine

Same here for politics. MAD did a great sendup of the 1960 conventions. I was 11 and got the joke from then on.

Philip Neal said...

Is it true that Charles Webb made over the royalties from the book to the Anti-Defamation League?

SGOTI said...

Anne Bancroft certainly wasn't a WASP, but was pretty damned hawt in "The Graduate".

Ernest Borgnine was also born Ermes Effron Borgnino, so we had an Eytie Viking.

Otis McWrong said...

Power Child said...”This is off topic, but I want to rant here about the "dudebro" culture they say dominates the tech industry these days….they're talking about sales people, pitch people. In college, these were the idiots puking outside of loud frat parties, chugging protein shakes in the gym lockerroom…They graduated with Cs and went to go work in car dealerships, cell phone kiosks at the mall, and in the bowels of college sports administration.”

Not many businesses would be successful sending people like you describe to represent them to potential customers. Maybe things have changed in the 15+ years since I left the the IT (data communications specifically) business, but back then we salespeople all started out as run-of-the-mill tech guys. For the record I had a 3.54 GPA when I graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science. I did puke outside the fraternity house a couple of times though.

In any consultative or technical sale, the salespeople need to understand the products and how they work. You can’t just bs the decision makers at the client. The salespeople also need to be able to get along with people, to be able to talk about something other than tech nerd stuff, and essentially get the prospective client to do something that, left to their own, they wouldn’t do.

People possessing both technical skills AND people skills are relatively rare, which is why us salespeople make more (usually a LOT more) than the run-of-the-mill techie. It also why people from the distribution side of the business overwhelmingly fill the executive ranks.

I understand that this must be frustrating for the standard techie dork who, after spending his college years watching the future salespeople get all the girls, now have to watch those same guys make all the money. But that’s the way of the world unfortunately, off-topic rants won’t change anything.

Matra said...

Aaron Gross:... was kind of a Jewish intellectual critique of American WASP culture.

Anonymous: At least the WASPs permitted a critique of their culture.

Aaron Gross: Jewish critiques of Jewish-American culture were really big in the 1950s and 1960s.

I can't be the only one who rolled my eyes after reading AG's response to Anonymous. Oh, we allow our own kind to critique our culture so you see we are just as open minded as WASPs!



James Kabala said...

Anonymous 10:08: Apparently in the novel (has anyone here ever actually read it?) Benjamin breaks in before the vows are said, and the author of the book was supposedly very upset that this was changed.

In Catholic canon law, a marriage has to be consummated to be valid - and even before the birth of the annulment factory, this marriage could likely have been annulled as coerced - on the other hand, if Benjamin ever wanted to marry Elaine, having slept with her mother beforehand would likely cause the marriage to be regarded as incestuous. Not sure how Protestants (I believe Presbyterian, not Methodist, is correct) would have handled these issues.

Steve Sailer said...

As Aaron says, there really was a change around 1967, with both the growth of radicalism on the one hand, and the Six-Day War inspiring more conservative Jews, on the other, to be more assertive about Jewish victimization.

Igglesden said...

OT: interesting story on the BBC website.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/24064975

I kind of hope this young man has a prominent career. It may make a few HBD realities unavoidable and a lot of DWLs uncomfortable. Football crowds can be very loud and very unforgiving, and they never forget anything.

Anonymous said...

Nichols thought he knew exactly what his satirical targets were.
Posted on February 9, 2008 at 01:54:31 PM by TED

When he had decided to make The Graduate three and a half years earlier, Nichols thought he knew exactly what his satirical targets were. When he had decided to make The Graduate three and a half years earlier, Nichols thought he knew exactly what his satirical targets were. ''I said some fairly pretentious things about capitalism and material objects, about the boy drowning in material things and saving himself in the only possible way, which was through madness,'' he recalls. But the deeper he got into the shoot and the more intensely he pushed Hoffman past what the actor thought he could withstand, the more Nichols realized that something painful and personal was at stake, and always had been, in his attraction to the story. ''My unconscious was making this movie,'' he says. ''It took me years before I got what I had been doing all along — that I had been turning Benjamin into a Jew. I didn't get it until I saw this hilarious issue of MAD magazine after the movie came out, in which the caricature of Dustin says to the caricature of Elizabeth Wilson, 'Mom, how come I'm Jewish and you and Dad aren't?' And I asked myself the same question, and the answer was fairly embarrassing and fairly obvious.''

Nichols — the immigrant, the observer, the displaced boy — finally understood why it had taken him years to settle on an actor to play Benjamin. ''Without any knowledge of what I was doing,'' he said, ''I had found myself in this story.'' And in Hoffman, he had found an on-screen alter ego — someone he could admonish for his failings, challenge to dig deeper, punish for his weaknesses, praise to bolster his confidence, and exhort to prove every day that he was the right man for the role.

By June, when Nichols and his cast and crew drove to La Verne, Calif., to shoot the film's climax, they were so happy to get out of the studio that the several days on location felt almost like a field trip. Hoffman acquired his first groupie, a local girl who would hang out near his trailer and flirt with him between takes. ''Beautiful, thin, a real shiksa goddess,'' he says. ''I think Nichols took that as a sign — at least somebody found me attractive. And it didn't get past me, either!''

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20176758,00.html

d said...

Facepalm. Anne (with an 'e') Bancroft was a devout Catholic of Italian heritage who required that Mel Brooks convert upon marriage. They raised their only child a Catholic.

Five Daarstens said...

Another movie from a year later, that touches on some of the same themes from a Jewish perspectives, is "I Love You, Alice B. Toklas" with Peter sellers. The movie actually covers more of the sixties zeitgeist than "The Graduate".

Kibernetika said...

You definitely get extra credit for dealing openly with taboo subjects.

Are Americans allowed to discuss these topics openly? I was born in America, but my family is German, so I'm going to die before open discussion is allowed, I bet. But that's OK.

Anonymous said...

As the joke goes, gentiles beat their wives, Jews beat the market.

I have never heard of that saying. I actually thought Jewish men were quite harsh on their women. What else could explain so many Jewish feminists?

Aaron Gross said...

Steve, touche! But your response to me was too clever, too Talmudic, even for my demonically twisted mind.

Mr. Anon said...

"Aaron Gross said...

Archie Bunker was based on a Jew, remember."

And - in his American incarnation - he was certainly NOT made one. In fact, he was even named "Bunker" - as in "Bunker Hill". "All in the Family" was just another extended middle-finger held out at white gentile America.

Aaron Gross said...

Matra, point taken. And it's worse than you said. Even in the early 1960s, when Jews were savagely critiquing Jewish-American culture, Jewish-American "leaders" overreacted against perceived threats from within the Jewish community, like Hannah Arendt.

Maybe it's paradoxical that in times of powerful anti-Semitism, like 19th-century Europe, Jews were perhaps the most open to self-criticism. In America today - I mean 21st century, not 1960s - where Jews are safer than practically ever in their history, any hint of criticism, from outside or inside, is taken as the first step to another Holocaust.

Dave Pinsen said...

Your rant reminds me of this scene from Annie Hall.

Dave Pinsen said...

"Picking up pennies in front of a steamroller" means the exact opposite of that

Dave Pinsen said...

Zulu was great, but 2001 was one of the best films ever made.

Dave Pinsen said...

New Jersey (Fort Lee, I think) was an early hub for silent movie production.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anon, I look at the end of The Graduate and I think of the recapitulation of the characters at the end of Animal House:

Boon & Katie
Married 1964
Divorced 1967

Somewhat on and off topic, but right in your wheelhouse (golf, education, Members of the Tribes), Steve. I'm reading Oliver Horovitz's book about caddying at St. Andrew's during his gap year between Stuyvesant and Harvard. He's the son of playwright Israel Horvitz. He talks about being a middling student at Stuyvesant, and about not really fitting in at Harvard, a public school kid with all the scions of privilege. He felt more at home with the dourly funny Scots at the Old Course.

His dad's first shiksa wife was a Roman Catholic Irish woman who died of cirrhosis of the liver at age 49. Their 3 kids were allegedly brought up secular (including Beastie Boy Adam and Moneyball producer Rachael). Israel's second shiksa is a Brit Anglican, and they raised Oliver and his twin sister Hannah as part of the tribe.

Dahinda said...

"Bancroft was born Anna Maria Louisa Italiano in The Bronx, New York, the daughter of Mildred (née DiNapoli; 1907–2010), a telephone operator, and Michael G. Italiano (1905–2001), a dress pattern maker.[4][5] Her parents were both children of Italian immigrants. She was brought up as a Roman Catholic."

Too bad Anne didn't inherit the longevity gene that her parents had!

Hunsdon said...

GWWMM said: For the Jew-envying Sailerites out there (and boy do you have circumcision envy), ask yourself why such Shiksa goddesses have married Jews--not just Hollywood and artist alphas but even nebishes.

Hunsdon said: I, for one, welcome our new Hebraic overlords.

Anonymous said...

Archie Bunker was based more on this guy. As working class Anglo as anything. "God is Church of England; the Queen's Church."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWKy4RHf5tQ

Anonymous said...

And it took a couple of pilots to "All in the Family" casting right..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DR01-hMf_s

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlboZuvBFNM

Power Child said...

@Otis McWrong:

There are classes of sales people, of course; the "dudebro" sales guys I'm talking about dominate the "non-technical," "non-consultative" end of the spectrum. They're useful to companies because they're pushy and confident, and they don't think too hard about whether what they're selling is really a smart buy, plus they're competitive and strongly motivated by money. They're actually pretty good at selling--to the lower retail customer bases, like those wandering around at shopping malls.

I don't know about techie dorks--I was more into advertising and experimental film in college; I wish I had gotten interested in techy stuff back then instead of discovering it several years after I graduated--but for me there wasn't anything "frustrating" about dudebros. They didn't seem to actually get many girls, they just talked about having gotten girls--and constantly. The girls they did get were usually the lower IQ fatherless types who wore lots of makeup to cover up their plain looks and talked incessantly about reality shows. Nothing to be frustrated about, just I imagine it'd be annoying when it's what you have to listen to in the break room.

David said...

>"Easy Rider" was entirely created by WASPS, by the way.<

Well, it was derivative of a lot of biker films, including "Wild Angels" (1966). Peter Bogdanovich claims credit for casting Peter Fonda and for doing most of the script, direction, and cutting of WA here and here. Neither WA nor ER are great films.

Anonymous said...

@ Aaron Gross,

Aaron, I'm not all that familiar with American Jews, as I'm from Montana, but it seems as if they are disproportionately represented in outfits that like to stick their noses in other people's business. Do they share the busybody gene of the Massachusetts Puritans? Thanks,

Neil Templeton

Moraes said...

GWWTMM-
Woody Allen sure made a great husband for Mia Farrow.

Hunsdon said...

AG said: In America today - I mean 21st century, not 1960s - where Jews are safer than practically ever in their history, any hint of criticism, from outside or inside, is taken as the first step to another Holocaust.

Hunsdon asked: Jews weren't safe in America in the 1960s?

Reg Cæsar said...

Wow. 88 comments, and not one mentioned "The Stepford Wives", the ultimate swipe at WASPdom. Don't tell me you still think it's really about men and women.

Anonymous said...

Warren Beatty was a bumbling-fumbling romantic lead too, even though he was tall and good-looking. Bonnie and Clyde. McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Shampoo. Heaven Can Wait. Reds.

Bogart, though wasp blue-blood, looked and sounded very ethnic.

Cagney and Rooney were huge stars in their day. They were runty and funny-looking-sounding.

Jimmy Stewart was falling all over the place in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. A bumbler.

Anthony Perkins was all nerves in Fear Strikes Out, Psycho, and The Trial.

Paul Muni was a huge ethnic star long before Hoffman. The notion that Hoffman and Hackman changed rules of Hollywood stardom is false.
Lots of big stars in Old Hollywood were ethnic OR short. Alan Ladd, short. John Garfield Jewish. Paul Muni Jewish. Lauren Bacall(template for Mrs. Robinson?) Jewish. Cagney, short Irishman. Bogart, an honorary ethnic. I thought he was Italian until I read otherwise. There were also a good number of homos and bi-s. Monty Clift. James Dean did the disaffected youth thing before Hoffman.

Why can't wasps be nervous, stumbling, bumbling, and even look sort of weird? George W. Bush is blue blood but has curly hair and looks sort of Jewishy like Norman Mailer. And his speech was weird.

Dan Quayle was born into blue blood but was more tongue-tied and awkward than Braddock in his first night in the hotel room.
Gary Cooper played the Big Guy but also something of a clumsy clod in films like Meet John Doe and Mr. Deed Goes to Town. And he was all confused in High Noon as to what he must do. Stewart was filled with neurosis in films like Vertigo, Naked Spur, and etc.
And Jeff Daniels was totally believable as a screwed up yuppie in Something Wild.
Brian Wilson was a wasp but had a personality similar to that of Braddock. Obsessive.
Peter O'Toole and Tom Courtney played obsessive wasps very well.

Ryan O'Neal in Love Story was from a rich family but had issues, emotional and social. Stereotypical stuff but dramatically effective.
Btw, I like the fact that neither The Graduate nor Love Story make old people into bad guys. Ben's parents are nice people but just don't understand their son. (Just like the parents in Catcher in the Rye don't understand their son. Just like the mother in Harold and Maude doesn't understand Maude. But she is a wonderful woman. I think. And funny as hell when signing the dating application sheet.)
The father in Love Story is a decent man but has his class prejudices but then is judicious in urging caution to his son. He's not hateful in the way old people are in some John Hughes films. And wasps in The Graduate and Love Story are not poisonous as they are something like Pretty in Pink where James Spader takes the cake as asshole wasp.

Anonymous said...


There might be a hidden ethnic angle to Mrs. Robinson as the vengeful Jewish woman or maybe clinging Jewish mother. Bancroft, though not Jewish, looks very ethnic in the role.
Btw, Braddock's father was played by a short guy, so he was an atypical choice too for a 'California blonde wasp type'. And Mr. Robinson was a played a squat guy who looks more like an Irish pug. Mr. Braddock guy looked sort of Jewish as a supporting character in Two For the Road. Didn't like when I first watched it in the 80s but seeing it again, it was rather marvelous.)

There may also be a geography gap. Braddock goes to study in the East and goes back to the West. Maybe he found his real friends out East and finds himself bored and aimless back out west where the culture is less intense. It's like the East Coast Jew vs West Coast Jew in Annie Hall. Nichols, as someone who made it in NY and then moved to La, surely understood the tensions.

The Graduate works essentially as an 'expectation gap' movie. You look forward to college and the future is ahead of you. After college, the future has arrived and you feel stuck.
It was later developed further in the Godfather where Michael goes from fresh kid out of college/army to having to run the family. Instead of plastics, it's lead bullets. I guess having your father nearly killed has a way of splashing cold water on you. Benjamin, in contrast, can idle away in his swimming pool.

As for young wasps at the hotel 'shoving' Braddock out of the way, I don't see any ethnic angle in that. Notice that before them, we saw old couples going through the same door. It's Nichols saying that youth is here today, gone tomorrow, and of course that is the theme of the film. Mrs. Robinson, middle aged, is between youth and old age.
Makes her a bit tragic and bitchy.
As for Mr. Robinson, I like the guy. He had every right to be pissed.

Anonymous said...

"Wow. 88 comments, and not one mentioned "The Stepford Wives", the ultimate swipe at WASPdom. Don't tell me you still think it's really about men and women."

I watched this recently while putting it off for the longest time. I remember some of my friends were crazy about this in the 70s and 80s and had to watch it every time it was on. I watched a snippet and couldn't stand it.

Finally, I saw the whole thing. A very interesting work, maybe one of the best sci-fi's. And I don't think a simple case can be made one way or the other.
It's one of those works that are subversive and auto-subversive.
In some ways, stepford wives are like pod people. Soulless. But they are so peaceful and happy and well-dressed. And forever 'young'.
The feminist friend of the heroine is full of spunk like a feminist Jewish woman. But she is also obnoxious.
The ending of the film is both terrifying and alluring. All these women have been turned into robots. But they are so 'perfect'. I think maybe some libs have reacted negatively to Twilight for there is an element of such idealization in its vampires. Immortal, beautiful, indestructible, and etc. Stepford Vamps.

I know girls who watch SW consciously rooting for the feminist resister while subconsciously swooning at the idealized lives of the Stepford Wives. I mean why else would they see the film over and over and especially the last scene over and over?

Is it an attack on wasps? Not necessarily. It turns out many of the husbands are urbanites who moved to Stepford to carry out their little experiment. So, it is not some small town plot but an intellectual urban plot carried out Men of the World with their own utopian dreams. It could be read as fear that feminist women have of their own 'progressive' men who may be harboring OTHER secret ideas.
Also, it could be about the repressed desires among feminist women that they, in the end, want to be good wives who dress well and stay young and beautiful forever--as robots, like Twilight's vamps, never age.

Anonymous said...

"For the Jew-envying Sailerites out there (and boy do you have circumcision envy), ask yourself why such Shiksa goddesses have married Jews--not just Hollywood and artist alphas but even nebishes."

http://youtu.be/x7ph5M53x_4?t=1m10s

Anonymous said...

I think The Graduate was very much OF THE MOMENT(as of now and forever) in this sense: Though the LOUD AND VISIBLE young people in the latter part of the 60s were making all the noise and grabbing all the media attention, there were others like Ben who felt alienated not only from older people but the 'official' youth culture and the political scene.

So, it's not just about generation gap, ethnic gap, etc but the gap between the personal/individual and the official culture, whether such be suburban affluence, radicalism, hipsterism, etc.

In one scene, Ben tries to be hip and takes Elaine to some swanky club but when she weeps, he drops the 'cool' charade--which he is capable of when he puts his mind to it--connects with her on a personal level. A lovely moment when he triesto apologize.
Later at a drive-in burger joint, he asks people in the other car to turn the music down. They turn it up, and Ben raises the roof over the convertible.

So, it's about finding oneself.

The generation of directors that worked on Twilight were definitely weaned on it. And the appeal of Twilight is also in finding something of special meaning to oneself and oneself alone.

It's like song 'Ripple'

"There is a road,
no simple highway,
Between the dawn
and the dark of night,
And if you go
no one may follow,
That path is for
your steps alone."

The song-interludes in Twilight most definitely owe to The Graduate. Beautifully done.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws1T_6E-fek

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=527bawsDr6s

PS: Though Hoffman was no stud, he had a good bod and could be cute from certain angles. Also, James Dean proved that some girls love neurosis and vulnerability.

He wasn't ugly like Allen.

Hoffman didn't look all that different from the short (Jewish) Fonz.
In elementary school, all the boys wanted to be the Fonz and all the girls adored him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JTQiR0nwQs

(All the boys wanted to take their school pic with the Fonzie thumb up but teacher forbade it.)

Reg Cæsar said...

Re "Stepford": I was referring to Ira Levin's novel; I never saw the film. Levin was a master at tricking the reader. I would hardly put it past him to pretend to ride the whiny feminist paranoia wave while taking his jolly digs at Connecticut WASP culture. (Chloë Sevigny once referred to her hometown as "Aryan Darien".)

Come to think of it, I didn't read the novel itself, but the condensed and serialized version in some ladies' (not woman's) mag. Who knows how they chose what to excise?

"A Kiss Before Dying" showed Levin to be a highly manipulative writer– which is good, in a mystery. I was surprised to see that a film version was made, as it seemed obvious that it was unfilmable without giving away the central surprise. It would be interesting to compare Levin's novels to the films. I read "Rosemary's Baby", but not "The Boys From Brazil", and haven't seen any of the movies.

Anonymous said...

Welles said he directed Perkins as a closet-homo in The Trial.

Prolly a coincidence but two scenes play rather similarly.

http://youtu.be/TUDLy3ablus?t=16m51s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3lKbMBab18

Anonymous said...

"there were others like Ben who felt alienated not only from older people but the 'official' youth culture and the political scene"

The silent youth.

Anonymous said...

wasp guy and ethnic girl.

http://youtu.be/KjVszgqFMjA

Anonymous said...

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2013/10/mia-farrow-children-family-scandal

Well, I'll be...

"When asked point-blank if her biological son with Woody Allen, Ronan Farrow, may actually be the son of Frank Sinatra, Farrow answers, “Possibly.”"

Ronan



Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b79NqUm1t68

Maker of bad movies complains about bad movies.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Nichols, I avoided Heartburn when it came out cuz of bad reviews.

Finally watched it. It's actually very good.

http://youtu.be/2qNF8FZ8Fd4?t=3m54s

Anonymous said...

Omar as Russian in Zhivago.

Weird but worked.

Anonymous said...

For future reference:
Actors of fully Jewish background: -Logan Lerman, Natalie Portman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mila Kunis, Bar Refaeli, James Wolk, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Julian Morris, Adam Brody, Esti Ginzburg, Kat Dennings, Gabriel Macht, Erin Heatherton, Odeya Rush, Anton Yelchin, Paul Rudd, Scott Mechlowicz, Lisa Kudrow, Lizzy Caplan, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Gal Gadot, Debra Messing, Robert Kazinsky, Melanie Laurent, Shiri Appleby, Justin Bartha, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Margarita Levieva, Elizabeth Berkley, Halston Sage, Seth Gabel, Mia Kirshner, Alden Ehrenreich.

Actors with Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers -Jake Gyllenhaal, Dave Franco, James Franco, Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Radcliffe, Alison Brie, Eva Green, Emmy Rossum, Rashida Jones, Jennifer Connelly, Nora Arnezeder, Goldie Hawn, Ginnifer Goodwin, Amanda Peet, Eric Dane, Jeremy Jordan, Joel Kinnaman, Ben Barnes, Patricia Arquette, Kyra Sedgwick.

Actors with Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers, who themselves were either raised as Jews and/or identify as Jews: -Andrew Garfield, Ezra Miller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alexa Davalos, Nat Wolff, Nicola Peltz, James Maslow, Josh Bowman, Winona Ryder, Ben Foster, Nikki Reed, Zac Efron, Jonathan Keltz.

Oh, and Ansel Elgort's father is Jewish, though I don't know how Ansel was raised.

Actors with one Jewish-born parent and one parent who converted to Judaism -Dianna Agron, Sara Paxton (whose father converted, not her mother), Alicia Silverstone, Jamie-Lynn Sigler.

Anonymous said...

What's up with the obsession with Jews in these comments? I don't see the salience.