One of the most influential American films of the 1960s turns fifty this year, and we’re celebrating with a spotlight on our complete edition, now streaming on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck. A bitingly funny tale of postcollegiate existential confusion, Mike Nichols’s The Graduate stars Dustin Hoffman as a young man who stumbles into an affair with an older, married friend of the family (Anne Bancroft). Alongside the film you’ll find an audio commentary with Nichols and Steven Soderbergh, screen tests, a program on Harold Michelson’s innovative storyboards, and more.
Also up this week: a conversation with a contemporary animation master, a pair of films that explore female youth, a close analysis of Charlie Chaplin’s most unsettling comedy, and a double bill of thrillers inspired by Georges Simenon.
The director of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and some of the most acclaimed animated movies of the past few decades (Ratatouille, The Incredibles, The Iron Giant), Brad Bird speaks with Pulitzer Prize–winning film critic Joe Morgenstern about his personal journey through cinema and curates a selection of films that have had an impact on his life, including The Red Shoes, Yojimbo, and Stranger Than Paradise. In this preview of the episode, the director talks about how he came to discover the “dream language” of auteurs like Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder.
Actor Chloë Sevigny made her directorial debut with Kitty, a luminous adaptation of a 1980 Paul Bowles short story in which a young girl finds herself transformed into a cat. The film, which had its premiere at Cannes last year, serves as a prelude to a provocative feature that the director has selected herself: Catherine Breillat’s 2001 Fat Girl, a shocking depiction of adolescent sexuality and strained sisterhood. In this introduction, Sevigny recounts her experience on the set of Kitty and the thrill of being a first-time filmmaker.
Our Channel-exclusive series Observations on Film Art offers thought-provoking doses of film school for movie lovers, delivered by professors David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson, and Jeff Smith, the authors of the canonical textbook Film Art: An Introduction. This month’s episode features Bordwell examining how Charlie Chaplin jettisoned his iconic tramp persona to portray a cold-blooded serial killer in the 1947 satire Monsieur Verdoux. Check out this excerpt from the episode, in which Bordwell highlights the innovative ways in which the great actor-director mixes moods and genres.
Go on the chase with some of cinema’s most charismatic detectives in this pair of thrillers inspired by the writing of Georges Simenon. In Julien Duvivier’s 1933 La tête d’un homme, Harry Baur stars as the author’s most iconic creation, Inspector Maigret, who spends the film investigating an American woman’s murder in Paris. Toshiro Mifune’s rookie homicide detective scours a sweltering Tokyo for his stolen gun, with the help of a seasoned detective (Takashi Shimura), in Akira Kurosawa’s 1949 psychologically penetrating drama Stray Dog.