Saturday, November 01, 2014

indelible moment: "The Graduate" (1967)

It's 1967. The movie is Mike Nichols' "The Graduate," adapted by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham from Charles Webb's novel.

Dustin Hoffman, as recent graduate Benjamin Braddock, is talking with Elisabeth Frazer, as Joanne, a friend of his parents, when they are interrupted by Mr. McQuire, played by Walter Brooke.

Mr. McQuire's one-word recommendation to Benjamin brought gales of laughter in theaters - and still does, even though that word has proven to be eerily prophetic.

Joanne: "What are you going to do now?"
Ben: "I was going to go upstairs for a minute."
Joanne: "I mean with your future - your life."
Ben: "That's a little bit hard to say."
Mr. McGuire: (interrupting them) "Ben."
Benjamin: (to Joanne) "Excuse me."
Benjamin: (turning away from Joanne) "Mr. McGuire!"
Mr. McGuire: "Ben."
Benjamin: (voice trailing off) "Mr. McGuire."
Mr.McGuire: "Come with me for a minute. I want to talk to you. Excuse us, Joanne?"
Joanne: "Of course."


Mr. McGuire: "I just want to say one word to you. Just one word."
Benjamin: "Yes, sir."
Mr. McGuire: "Are you listening?"
Benjamin: "Yes, I am."
Mr. McGuire: "Plastics."
Benjamin: "Exactly how do you mean?"
Mr.McGuire: "There's a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?"
Ben: "Yes, I will."
Mr. McGuire: "Enough said. That's a deal."


Toni said...

I have often quoted that scene. It's brilliant. Mr McGuire is so proud of himself. Benjamin is so befuddled. He's not thinking about his future at all & mr. McGuire is thinking if he were to start over again he'd have his future planned.

Ed said...

Great post. Wonderful scene. And, frankly, I never quite understood why audiences laughed at the word "plastics" in the first place.

The Kid In The Front Row said...


I've not watched it in years.

Need to rectify that.

Marlene G said...

Plastic at that time was a code word for everything fake . People who worked in suits and ties were plastic people going to plastic jobs. Hippies were taking over. It was a new world. For him to tell Ben to go into plastics seemed funny and typical of the older generation.

joe baltake said...

Good point, Marlene!