We Knew Them Well

Posted on February 23, 2016
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Two films critical of the 1960s status quo — one an undiscovered gem, the other a verified classic — get the Criterion Collection treatment this week. First up is “I Knew Her Well” (1965), a disarmingly delightful portrait of the days and nights of a party girl in sixties Rome. On the surface, “I Knew Her Well,” directed by Antonio Pietrangeli, plays like an inversion of “La dolce vita” with a woman at its center, following the gorgeous, seemingly liberated Adriana (Stefania Sandrelli) as she dallies with a wide variety of men, attends parties, goes to modeling gigs, and circulates among the rich and famous. Despite its often photo for I Knew Her Welllight tone, though, the film is a stealth portrait of a suffocating culture that regularly dehumanizes people, especially women. In a new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. One of the most beloved American films of all time, “The Graduate” (1967) earned Mike Nichols a best director Oscar, brought the music of Simon & Garfunkel to a wider audience, and introduced the world to Dustin Hoffman. Benjamin Braddock (Hoffman) has just finished college and is already lost in a sea of confusion and barely contained angst when he becomes sexually involved with the middle-aged mother (Anne Bancroft) of the young woman he’s dating (Katharine Ross). Visually imaginative and impeccably acted, with a clever, endlessly quotable script by Buck Henry (based on the novel by Charles Webb), “The Graduate” had the kind of cultural impact that comes along only once in a generation. In a new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include commentary from 2007 featuring Nichols in conversation with filmmaker Steven Soderbergh; audio commentary from 1987 featuring film scholar Howard Suber; a new interview with actor Dustin Hoffman; new conversation between producer Lawrence Turman and actor-screenwriter Buck Henry; “The Graduate at 25,” a 1992 featurette on the making of the film; interview with Nichols by Barbara Walters, from a 1966 episode of NBC’s “Today” show: excerpt from a 1970 appearance by singer-songwriter Paul Simon on “The Dick Cavett Show”; screen tests; trailer; booklet with an essay by journalist and critic Frank Rich, more.


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