The popular success in 1967 of The Graduate was immediate and total; at the time, only Gone with the Wind and The Sound of Music were bigger box-office winners. Yet such phenomenal success came at a price: On the film's 40th anniversary, director Mike Nichols claimed that The Graduate had been ""whipped away"" by a young audience hungry for countercultural documents. This study, the first monograph on The Graduate, explores how popular and subsequent critical reception deflected a full understanding of the film's complex point of view, which satirizes everything in its path--especially Benjamin and Elaine, its young ""heroes."" The text explores how the film offers not the happy ending some imagine, but a corrosive and satirical vision of humanity.
J.W. Whitehead is director of fine arts and of the honors program at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia, where he teaches film and creative writing. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including Puerto del Sol, Modern Short Stories, Christianity and Literature and more than a dozen of his stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.