Monday, April 27, 2009

The Young Graduates (Robert Anderson, 1971)

The amount of brain energy I expended while staring at The Young Graduates, Robert Anderson's groovy followup to the equally groovy Cindy and Donna, is nothing to brag about (not that I would brag about such things). But the lessons I learned while watching it were invaluable. The lesson that immediately comes to mind is the one about how to stop lustful hillbillies from chasing you along a dirt road: simply drive across a field. No, really, their trucks aren't equipped to drive on plowed earth, and, therefore, will not be able to sexually assault you or the members of your party. However, since that little nugget of rape preventing wisdom doesn't involve explicit descriptions of Patricia Wymer's acute adorableness; I'm gonna quickly move on to other, more sexier, pastures. A mere day removed from being underage, high school senior Melinda "Mindy" Evans (Patricia Wymer) has suddenly grown tired of making out with her drag racer boyfriend Bill (Gary Rist), and decides to seek out the mature embrace of Mr. Thompson (Tom Stewart), a well-liked teacher at Mindy's school. The initial wooing is mainly initiated by the overly flirtatious Mindy, as she bats her eyelashes, uses come hither body language, and pretends to be interested in his dumb ass photography like nobodies business. On the other hand, Mr. Thompson is a tad slow in terms of reciprocating the youthful scamps playful coquetry. This, however, all changes when his shrewish wife, Gretchen (Jennifer Ritt), refuses to provoke his penis in a gratifying manner for what seems like the millionth night in a row.

Desperate to fornicate with a nimble vagina, the temporarily unfettered teacher excepts the wide-eyed teen's offer and the two of them end up frolicking and fucking until the contents of their chest cavities are content.

Aggressively simplistic at times, The Young Graduates doesn't seem interested in anything whatsoever. After the relationship between the spunky teen and the listless teacher fizzles out, the film goes into weird road trip mode. Where we get to see first hand how aimless and spontaneous the character of Mindy really is.

All of you have to do is look at the casual way she dumps Bill's yellow dune buggy in the middle of the road when it runs out of gas to understand where her flighty head is at. She, along with her gal pal Sandy (Marely Holiday), and a hitchhiker named Pan (Dennis Christopher), decide to go Big Sur.

Of course, their journey is rife with surly bikers, braindead hicks, and a seemingly unending armada of unfriendly drug dealers.

Crisp exchanges of elemental dialogue followed by gorgeously filmed montages set to nonspecific hippie rock is the best way the describe the artistic temperament of this peachy enterprise.

The best example of this stylistic posture are the scenes that involve Mindy and Mr. Thompson exploring the beauty of their natural surroundings, as they make their way to an unsullied stream in the woods for some impromptu naked wading.

Another example can be found when Mindy and Sandy acquirer a motorcycle and we are treated to some lovely shots of rural America. The image of a pink-clad Patricia Wymer riding on the back of a hog was the film's defining moment, as it not only represented her capricious and highly adaptive personality, but also signified her belief in absolute freedom (she despises conformity and outmoded thought patterns).

It's a shame that this and The Babysitter were her only roles of note, because Patricia Wymer has a real infectious quality about her as the forthright Mindy. It's quite telling that all the other characters gravitate towards her. And I'm not all surprised, as she out-and-out radiates while on-screen.

The way she chirpily utters her no-nonsense dialogue while smiling seductively is no match for the men who populate the unsophisticated world of The Young Graduates. Well, a pre-Godfather Bruno Kirby seemed to be the only person not enamoured by her. But then again, his character was banging the curly haired Sandy, who was kinda foxy in her own right.

Anyway, I thought Patricia, on top of being coy and junk, displayed a subtle form of legginess in this film. Now I don't know how exactly one goes about being subtly leggy. But the scenes that feature the tiny actress getting in and out of dune buggies in slinky pink dresses and engaging in late night telephone chats with married teachers had a definite air about them that just screamed subtle and leggy. Trust me, I know.


  1. Endora... Quite the corset wearer, it seems.

  2. Endora was the name of Agnes Moorehead's character on Bewitched. (I had to look it up.)