"The Graduate" (The Criterion Collection, digital and analog sound tracks, full-feature CAV format, 105 minutes, 1967 color, $79.95, distributed by the Voyager Co., 2139 Manning Ave., Los Angeles 90025; (213) 474-0032).
More than almost any other laser disc, this release reveals the potential and possibilities of this medium to preserve and educate. It's also the first laser disc to be released in the United States with different digital and analog sound tracks. The four sides include the complete Mike Nichols film presented in its original wide-screen format, preserving the composition director Nichols labored over. The film's sound track is in digital stereo sound (with the memorable Simon and Garfunkel songs) with a second audio track in analog sound featuring UCLA film professor Howard Suber's articulate scene-by-scene commentary. "The Graduate Scrapbook" is a lengthy video-audio collage of material that includes revealing pages from producer Lawrence Turman's notebook; several screen tests, including one with Katharine Ross, the newcomer picked to play Elaine Robinson; descriptions of scenes cut from the film; an interview with Nichols; several articles, behind-the-scenes photographs, a silly video story by Ilene Segalove and other memorabilia. Comparing this tour de force production in its intended wide-screen format with its videotape counterpart (issued by Nelson Entertainment) reveals how the panning and scanning done to fill the small screen reduces the film's original impact and distorts its artistic intentions.