The Graduate

The sound and camera angles in Mike Nichols’s 1968 film The Graduate gave a greater insight to the life of the main character Ben. From what the audience can see, Ben has just graduated from college and does not know what he is going to do now that he has just finished. Specific scenes in this movie show how pressured Ben really feels.

Examples include how in the opening scene there is a party in Ben’s honor taking place at his home and there are many people. The camera is very close up and gives the audience a sense of a claustrophobic feel. At this time everyone is greeting Ben, shaking his hand, kissing him, and asking many questions. With the camera so close, you feel as though Ben is feeling very pressured by all that is happening and is just being pushed through. Two other examples include water scenes. In Ben’s room he has a tank and is constantly seen looking through the tank at his fish and nothing but the sound of bubbles can be heard. Also, Ben is given a scuba suit and is forced to go in the pool with it. All that can be heard is Ben’s heavy breathing and all the people crowding around him. Being under water for so long gives a feeling of suffocation and once again, a pressurized environment is being displayed.

One thought on “The Graduate”

  1. Nicols is very good at using unique camera angles and sound to make the scene a work of art that should be though about. The final scene is very powerful. It begins with Ben heading to a church to stop the marriage of Elaine, Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, and her fiance. Delayed at every turn — uncertain of directions, running out of gas, locked out of the church — Ben finally lets cry a pained scream at his beloved. But, as the final shot reveals, even love can’t defeat uncertainty.
    The song when he is driving and rushing to the wedding – perfect with when his car dies and there is silence except the igniction trying to start. Then he is running with normal noise in the backround as the camera tracks him. It is shot uniquely and the change of the placement of camera and zoom in/out is interesting. Then he gets to the church and walks inside he cannot get into the main part so he is seen above yelling. It is funny how Nicols does the audience view and comments then his view. It is a crazy and desperate act by Ben but it is realistic. The shot of Mr and Mrs Robinson is amusing as well as showing how Ben is going to do whatever to get Elaine and finally has his voice. There is a lot of action when they begin to fight and the camera shot is very brilliant during the fight. As Ben and Elaine leave they hop on a bus and go to the back- noise from the bus heard then asynchronous sound of ‘Sound of Silence’ plays which is an interesting choice because they end up together but it is kind of weary.
    Nicols magic in the last scene finishes the film successfully and keeps the audience watching and in the action. I think that the end shows Ben’s independence and voice finally coming out.

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