Yesterday, I re-watched the two seduction scenes. Here's my favorite one.
I was struck by the timelessness of the dramatic situation, the negative sphere. This was made almost 50 years ago! No matter how sexualized our culture becomes, we still maintain the taboo against older people having intercourse with younger people, even between consenting adults. It's not illegal, but heavily frowned upon. "The Graduate" takes it one taboo further to the almost incest of someone having intercourse with a parent of one of their peers. When Anne Bancroft asks the young Dustin Hoffman, whom she's known since he was an infant, "What do you think of me?", his wordless response speaks pages. But when he does speak and says he's always thought her to be a "nice person" he reveals, in fact, he thinks quite a lot of her.
I decided as an exercise to try twisting this well known American tale. What if the young man had proposed to marry another young man? The other young man's mother is the big "Plastics" executive. The father is a bisexual man who seduces the young man.
It was a good exercise. You can read it here.
I realized that missing from my little play were the multiple lines of tension that make up the negative sphere in "The Graduate," such as male-female relations in the 1960s. An older woman seducing a younger man is somehow still more acceptable than an older man seducing anyone younger, male or female. The brilliance of "The Graduate" lies in the perfect balance created by this sphere of negativity, as the strong forces that encapsulate it begin to implode. We like Anne Bancroft, even in her most wicked seduction routines, much better than we would ever like a male character with a similar schtick. This makes her fall that much more dramatic.
My next idea involves taboo seduction. This is a fire of transformation.