The Graduate: Cinematic Elements

Essay by ngandhi1College, UndergraduateA-, November 2008

download word file, 5 pages 3.0

The film, The Graduate, directed by Mike Nichols is an anti-establishment film that tells the story about the coming of age of a young man named Benjamin Braddock played by Dustin Hoffman. Ben who recently graduated from college with a Bachelor's degree is confused about his future. He is pulled in numerous directions by his parents, friends, and other acquaintances including Mrs. Robinson a married woman who is a close friend of the family. Mrs. Robinson played by Anne Bancroft initiates an affair with Ben. She wants to escape from her boredom and sees Ben as the perfect person to act out her fantasies with. As the story develops Ben comes to realize that he is in love with Elaine played by Katharine Ross, who is Mrs. Robinson's daughter. When Ben and Elaine start their relationship they are threatened by the malicious rage of Mrs. Robinson. She begins to hastily arrange Elaine's marriage with another boy named Carl (Dirkn20).

Mike Nichols used several innovative cinematic elements such as the use of mise en scene, photography, sound, and editing in the production of this critically acclaimed film.

Nichols has manipulated elements of the frame to suggest confusion and emptiness within the affair. Elements playing significant roles in the mise en scene of this sequence include the placement and staging of the characters in the frame, and the framing techniques. In many places throughout the movie, Benjamin is placed on the far right or the bottom of the frame. He is depicted as insignificant, small, and lost. In other shots, the camera captures him from behind an obstruction, framed, sometimes nearly obscured, by a piece of furniture or another character (Lorenc). In this short display of Benjamin's enjoying his leisure, his face with its blank expression is the dominant image,