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.)