Happy Birthday Dustin Hoffman

Happy Birthday to the great American actor Dustin Hoffman, born this day in 1937.

When we think of his various looks in the movies we invariably turn to this one…

… his breakthrough movie from 1967, The Graduate. It’s a preppy look, very much a uniform for the constrained and confused Benjamin Braddock. When he goes wild at the end of the movie, he dons a hooded coat and pale trousers as if to blend into his bland surroundings – a suburban guerrilla, if you like.

But the corduroy sports coat is the abiding style memory of the movie – it eclipses even the Harris Tweed number in which he attempts his first cack-handed kiss with Mrs Robinson.

He wears the corduroy in the famous publicity still for the movie, symbolizing his newfound ease with his role of adulterer – it’s as if he’s trying on a new uniform, that of Man Of The World. Tellingly, as fine as his California-sand-coloured coat may be – we’re guessing Brooks Bros – it’s a tad clean-cut and, indeed, clean to be the battle-scarred armour of the lothario.

Great coat, though. An old corduroy coat won’t ever let you down (to paraphrase Rod Stewart).

Great movie too and a happy birthday to the man who gave us one of the most memorable characters in modern American cinema.

(The Man From The Hornet adds: Did you know, Horneteers, that the leg in the shot belongs not to Anne Bancroft but to the then-unknown Linda Gray, later Sue Ellen Ewing in Dallas? Well, you do now.)

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