Wednesday, June 8
So long, Mrs. Robinson
Actress Anne Bancroft passed away at age 73 from uterine cancer.
According to the New York Times article, she worked hard to get beneath the surface, to inhabit a role as deeply as possible. While preparing for her role as Helen Keller's teacher in "The Miracle Worker," the film that gave her an Oscar, she taped her eyes shut so that she'd know what it's really like to be blind.
But even with dedication like that to her craft, Anne Bancroft was still known for her portrayal of the middle aged seductress Mrs. Robinson in the 1967 film "The Graduate." In an interview conducted in 2003, she expressed concern and slight disappointment that her "meatier" roles were all obscured by attempt to educate a rather well-heeled young man just out of college.
I must confess that I'm one of those Ms. Bancroft must have loathed. "The Graduate" is one of my favorite "directional*" movies, and every time I hear the Simon and Garfunkel intro I can't help but hum along and envision Dustin Hoffman staring at those stockinged feet.
Anyhow, more useless info about that movie according to the interviews in the 25th year anniversary laser disc edition: Despite the roles they played in the movie, there really wasn't much of a "generational gap" between her and Dustin Hoffman, who was already thirtyish when he took on the role of Benjamin Braddock. He was like 31 to her 36. And between Hoffman and Katharine Ross, the girl who played Elaine Robinson, it was the latter who was more popular at the time.
When the film came out when it did, in the late 60s, it spoke to an entire generation of people who were advised to invest in a future in plastics, although I am more inclined to wear sunscreen. It is my goal that someday, I will be as well preserved as Mrs. Robinson.
*The other films in that library include Reality Bites and Ghost World.