hmv.com presents… The Best Soundtracks of All Time: The Graduate
With some great in-store offers starting this week on films and film soundtracks as part our 'Decades' series, every day we'll be picking the best soundtrack, one for every year, starting with 1950 right through to the present day. Today we're up to 1967 and we're on to Simon & Garfunkel’s folk-tinged music for The Graduate…
The Graduate, the sly, satirical comedy-drama that made Dustin Hoffman a star.
So what’s the film about?
Dustin Hoffman stars as Benjamin Braddock, the graduate of the title, who returns home from college not knowing what to do with his life.
When Benjamin gives a lift home to Mrs Robinson, a family friend stuck in a loveless marriage, she begins to seduce him. Soon enough, they embark on a clumsy, awkward secret relationship.
Benjamin’s situation is further complicated when Mrs Robinson’s husband – unaware of the illicit affair happening behind his back - tries to set him up with their daughter Elaine.
Is this a score or a soundtrack?
A mixture of both, with Simon & Garfunkel’s folk-rock punctuated with David Grusin’s jazzy instrumentals.
So what’s it like?
Simon & Garfunkel’s contributions are culled from some of their previous albums (‘The Sound Of Silence’, ‘Scarborough Fair’), long with some new recordings (‘Mrs. Robinson’). Their folk-influenced songs are tender and poignant, and perfectly capture the spirit of the Sixties.
David Grusin’s score is less essential, but still sets the mood of the film nicely.
What does it give the film?
The songs of Simon & Garfunkel perfectly encapsulate the Sixties. They tie the film together, giving it a real sense of when it took place. The film is a very personal story, but the songs give it a wider context to what was happening in the world and how it takes place against the backdrop of social revolution.
As well helping contextualise the film, Simon & Garfunkel’s songs are also universal enough to bring out the coming of age themes of the film that anyone can relate to, even if they weren’t even alive in the Sixties. They are sweet, intelligent and understated, and help underline those characteristics in Benjamin’s character.
What’s the best moment?
‘The Sound Of Silence’, which 50 years later, is still a song of tremendous power. Written in the wake of the assassination of JFK, it’s a beautiful track tinged with quiet frustration.
Has it stood the test of time?
The instrumental sections may be a tad disposable, but Simon & Garfunkel produced some of the greatest folk-rock ever recorded and the soundtrack includes some of their best work.