Gray uses a ‘making of’ approach to examine how this mash-up of a movie made magic … Ben’s self-discovery is what attracted Gray to write Seduced by Mrs. Robinson in the first place. Growing up in the ’60s, she embraced ‘The Graduate’ because it made her understand ‘how badly we wanted to distance ourselves from the world of our parents.’ Fifty years later, she has adopted the movie as a generational template, and for most of the book she writes smartly and insightfully about how the characters were shaped by a disruptive age … The book as a whole offers a fascinating look at how this movie tells a timeless story: that life is always about making choices.
Gray cannily pinpoints why Benjamin Braddock (played by Dustin Hoffman), a lethargic and malleable 21-year-old whose apathy has no apparent source, took root in ticket-buying Baby Boomers … Often academic in tone, Seduced by Mrs. Robinson aims to secure ‘The Graduate’ its proper place in the Hollywood canon. Gray pays special attention to the ‘sadness beneath the comedic surface’ of a film that hit theaters during a period of social unrest, the Vietnam war and growing protests.
It’s been 50 years since Dustin Hoffman got an education in sexual chemistry from Anne Bancroft in Mike Nichols’ groundbreaking movie ‘The Graduate.’ To mark that milestone comes Beverly Gray’s Seduced by Mrs. Robinson, an insightful look at the making of the movie. Most interesting is the section devoted to casting, in particular, the role of Mrs. Robinson … There are also juicy tidbits on the working and reworking of the script and how that final deadpan shot of Hoffman and Katharine Ross on the bus came to be. Prepare to be seduced by Gray’s book.
...Santa Monica-based entertainment writer Beverly Gray doubles down on the declaration embedded in her book’s subtitle by inserting herself throughout the pages as a leading touchstone toucher ...pops up in first person throughout an otherwise average recounting of the making of 'The Graduate' and its reception to say, 'I was there.' ...those who have not seen the movie will not be enlightened by Gray’s chatty narration for the visually impaired ...a puzzling project. It is also a compilation of an awful lot of distracting clichés ...we come to a clue to understanding the book’s tortured structure, its pained search for an angle: Most of the research seems to have taken place a decade ago.
Interesting in the main, it can get tedious. The author also engages in some questionable, rather high-blown assaying of the filmmakers' intents and weakens her remembrance of the ’60s with a glib introduction. The book is not without flaws, but Gray effectively shows how ‘The Graduate,’ despite ignoring the flashpoint issues of the day, worked as a subversive force in a period about to reassess its cinematic and cultural conventions.
Unfortunately for a film so worthy of our admiration, Gray’s effort comes across as unnecessary. Split into three sections, her book begins with a history of the film’s production, continues with a retelling of its story, and ends with a discussion of its release and influence. The production history feels at once drawn-out and shallow, though it provides some insight into Dustin Hoffman’s feelings about his unlikely and unexpected elevation to leading man.