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Five things smart people know about The Graduate

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1. In Charles Webb’s book, the character of Benjamin Braddock is a six-foot tall, blue-eyed WASP and the film’s producers originally considered Robert Redford for the role. On the documentary that accompanies the newly reissued DVD of The Graduate, producer Lawrence Turman admits he initially thought of the Braddocks as “a family of surfboards” and says he mentally cast Robert Reagan and Doris Day as Benjamin’s parents.

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2. Dustin Hoffman’s Benjamin Braddock is supposed to be 21 and half the age of his seducer, Anne Bancroft’s iconic Mrs Robinson. In reality, the 29-year-old Hoffman was just under six years Bancroft’s junior.

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3. The film’s co-screenwriter, Buck Henry, plays the desk clerk who asks the squirming Benjamin, “Are you here for an affair?”

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4. Anne Bancroft didn’t know that Hoffman was going to clumsily grab her breast during the hotel bedroom scene. When director Mike Nichols began laughing off-camera, Hoffman started laughing too and, rather than interrupt the take, attempted to disguise his mirth by turning and banging his head against the wall, as we see in the movie today.

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5. Future star Richard Dreyfuss can be briefly glimpsed as a fellow occupant of the boarding house in Berkeley where Benjamin stays while stalking Katharine Ross http://youtube.com/v/X-3PP7hfIm4

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.