**½/**** Image B Sound B Extras A
starring Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross, William Daniels
screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry, based on the novel by Charles Webb
directed by Mike Nichols
by Walter Chaw Bonnie and Clyde's counter-cultural bridesmaid, Mike Nichols's The Graduate is the "easy" version of Arthur Penn's American nouvelle vague classic. It's too "straight," too deadpan--a safer Harold & Maude (think of it as doing for cradle-robbing what Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? did for miscegenation) with a similarly "hip" period soundtrack of previously-released hits (there Cat Stevens, here Simon & Garfunkel). 'Nuff said that the film failed to offend Bosley Crowther. Bonnie and Clyde is the blueprint for Quentin Tarantino--The Graduate is the blueprint for Wes Anderson; and while both 1967 pictures find a goodly portion of their bedrock in images mined from Truffaut, Godard, Antonioni, and the rest of the film-brat arthouse pantheon, it's only Bonnie and Clyde that speaks at all to the culture in revolt at the close of the Flower Power generation. By the climax of Penn's picture, the rebellious youth, contemplating integration into the society at large, are betrayed by The Father, gunned down in cold blood by The Law. By The Graduate's finale, there's just that old, one-second reconsideration of the wisdom of vowing to spend the rest of your life with an unbelievably beautiful, fresh-faced starlet in the full bloom of her attractiveness.