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THE DVD FILE

'The Graduate,' now 40, is off to a reunion

September 10, 2007|Susan King | Times Staff Writer

"The Graduate" is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year with a special two-disc DVD arriving Tuesday.

Like "Bonnie & Clyde," which also turns 40 this year, "The Graduate" helped usher in a new boldness, frankness and sexual freedom in Hollywood movies. Nominated for seven Academy Awards, it won for Mike Nichols' direction, although it lost best film to "In the Heat of the Night."

It's the movie that made a star out of Broadway actor Dustin Hoffman, who's flawless as the neurotic young graduate returning to his Southern California home after college. There he's famously informed by one of his parents' friends to get into plastics, has an affair with a friend of his parents, Mrs. Robinson (a devilish Anne Bancroft), and falls in love with her already engaged daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross).

The comedy, scripted by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham, based on the novel by Charles Webb, also featured the songs of Simon & Garfunkel.

The birthday edition DVD includes new commentaries from Hoffman and Ross, Nichols and director Steven Soderbergh and a new retrospective examining the comedy's influence in contemporary cinema.

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Julie Christie is a contender again

Now 66, Julie Christie is still a beautiful force of nature. She has effortlessly segued from being an icon of the swinging London of the 1960s to an actress of startling clarity and power. She received some of the strongest reviews of her four-decade-plus career for "Away From Her," in which she plays a woman with Alzheimer's.

The movie, which bows Tuesday on DVD, marks the auspicious feature directorial and writing debut of former child actress Sarah Polley.

When the film was released in the late spring, Christie was already being bandied about as an Oscar contender. The actress is no stranger to the Academy Award. She won best actress for 1965's "Darling" -- she shocked the academy audience by accepting her award in a mini-dress -- and received nominations for 1971's "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" and 1997's "Afterglow."

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How the 'Two and a Half' live

The first season of the ribald CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men" -- nominated this year for five Emmys, including best comedy, best actor (Charlie Sheen) and supporting actor (Jon Cryer) -- makes its digital bow on Tuesday.

Sheen plays Charlie, a womanizing jingle writer enjoying the good life in Malibu whose careful existence ends when his estranged brother Alan (Cryer) comes to live with him. Not only does Sheen's Charlie Harper have to contend with his uptight sibling, he has to learn to live with Alan's young son Jake (Angus T. Jones). The series, which began in 2003, also is making its syndication debut this month.

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susan.king@latimes.com

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