Griffin Dunne introduced The Graduate (1967) as the film that most inspired him. The evening was very special as Griffin invited Buck Henry, who wrote the screenplay, to join him.
DUNNE: “I have seen this movie a lot. But I never ever get tired of it. The first time I ever saw it ….I was 11 yrs. old and I don’t know how they let me in. And all I knew…. was that I was going to see a vagina in a movie….I can’t say I totally understood it but I knew that it was really funny and no one was making any jokes... I think what most affected me was seeing this short, dark guy with a big schnozz and he reminded me of me, of who I was going to be…. And I couldn’t believe somebody let this guy be the lead in a movie. And it was the beginning of my sort of obsession with Dustin Hoffman….. And then I saw it when I was 16 and then I started to notice the director, Mike Nichols, and I started to notice the writing by Buck Henry… And it struck me as a movie that was powerful and changed movies…. Because it was in the 60’s but you don’t see one hippie, you don’t see one war protester, there’s no Vietnam references. But you feel a time that’s changing, that something’s going to happen…..”
HENRY: “….I’m proud to tell you that all 5 studios turned the project down. Even with Nichols who had done…it astounds me…Virginia Woolf….. and the script, which I think they could’ve read and seen was amusing…nobody would finance it. … It was just too risky to make in ‘65. This sort of suggested incestuous strange relationship in which nobody really paid the price for their sins. I don’t know, but they all turned it down.”