“[Gray] writes smartly and insightfully . . . The book as a whole offers a fascinating look at how this movie tells a timeless story.” —The Washington Post
Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?
When The Graduate premiered in December 1967, its filmmakers had only modest expectations for what seemed to be a small, sexy art-house comedy adapted from an obscure first novel by an eccentric twenty-four-year-old. There was little indication that this offbeat story—a young man just out of college has an affair with one of his parents’ friends and then runs off with her daughter—would turn out to be a monster hit, with an extended run in theaters and seven Academy Award nominations.
The film catapulted an unknown actor, Dustin Hoffman, to stardom with a role that is now permanently engraved in our collective memory. While turning the word plastics into shorthand for soulless work and a corporate, consumer culture, The Graduate sparked a national debate about what was starting to be called “the generation gap.”
Now, in time for this iconic film’s fiftieth birthday, author Beverly Gray offers up a smart close reading of the film itself as well as vivid, never-before-revealed details from behind the scenes of the production—including all the drama and decision-making of the cast and crew. For movie buffs and pop culture fanatics, Seduced by Mrs. Robinson brings to light The Graduate’s huge influence on the future of filmmaking. And it explores how this unconventional movie rocked the late-sixties world, both reflecting and changing the era’s views of sex, work, and marriage.
“Told with an infectious blend of effervescent wit and scholarly substance, Beverly Gray’s deeply personal and critical reappraisal of The Graduate is sure to dazzle diehard fans and, quite likely, to seduce a new generation of impassioned devotees.”
—Noah Isenberg, author of We’ll Always Have Casablanca: The Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood’s Most Beloved Movie
“The Graduate is one of those truly great and timeless movies whose mysteries deepen every time you see it. In her terrifically entertaining and essential examination of this classic film, Beverly Gray mixes intrepid reporting with searching, insightful analysis to finally bring this landmark movie into focus, telling an irresistible story of its origins, secrets and cultural meaning.”
—Jason Zinoman, author of Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night
“Beverly Gray’s fascinating and kaleidoscopic portrait makes a compelling case for The Graduate as the eternally appealing ‘youth’ movie, from its unlikely casting to its ambiguous ending. Old and new fans will delight as she sorts through contributions of everyone involved, with revelatory glimpses into Mike Nichols’ choice of Hoffman for the lead and Charles Webb’s odd novel and odder life.”
—Molly Haskell, film critic, and author of From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies
“Has it really been fifty years since The Graduate snuck up and surprised us with its inventiveness, originality, desperate charm and wit? Beverly Gray’s book celebrates the golden anniversary with a spirited and well-researched account of how it all came together and why its legacy endures.”
—Glenn Frankel, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of The Searchers and High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic
“An awful lot had to go right for The Graduate to get made. With passion, verve, authority—and yeah, the glorious, unapologetic affection of someone profoundly affected by it—Beverly Gray details the perfect storm of events that culminated in the generation-defining film. For those who were there, Seduced By Mrs. Robinson is both a refresher and a reminder of the film’s cultural impact; for those who weren’t around, it’s a joyous behind-the-scenes look at a pivotal moment in American cinema, and why Mrs. Robinson—and especially the wonderfully underwhelmed Benjamin Braddock—still resonate.”
—Brian Jay Jones, author of George Lucas: A Life
“Most behind-the-scenes books about iconic movies tell us what we already knew. Not this one! Beverly Gray has written an often hilarious, always smart, sassy, and incisive story about The Graduate. Her research is impeccable, and her insights are keen. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film’s release with a dvd screening, a bottle of bubbly, and this readable book.”
—Jeanine Basinger, Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, Wesleyan University, and author of I Do and I Don’t: A History of Marriage in the Movies
“In Seduced by Mrs. Robinson, Beverly Gray creates a lively, layered recounting of the genesis, production, release in 1967 and unique cultural significance of this landmark movie. A baby boomer herself, she brings to the absorbing story the wit and poignance of a SoCal girl, born and bred, and the thorough expertise of a Hollywood insider.”
—Kate Buford, author of Burt Lancaster: An American Life
“Seduced by Mrs. Robinson is a fun and fast-paced behind-the-scenes account of the making of one of the most influential and beloved films in Hollywood history. If you love The Graduate you’ll love this book.”
—Debby Applegate, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher
“A delightful and illuminating book. Beverly Gray offers insightful historical perspective with contemporary resonance.”
—Annette Insdorf, Columbia University Professor and host of 92nd Street Y’s “Reel Pieces” Film Series