Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Arthur Simon

Committee Member

Alexios Lykidis

Committee Member

Adam Rzepka


This thesis explores three of director Mike Nichols’s films produced during the New Hollywood period—The Graduate (1967), Catch-22 (1970), and Carnal Knowledge (1971)—in an effort to trace Nichols’s auteur signature as it relates to the depiction of the protagonist’s subjectivity and renders post-war male anxiety and existential dread. In addition to discussing formal film technique used to depict the mental space of the protagonist, how these subjective sequences are implemented in the film bears implications on the narrative form and situates Nichols alongside other New Hollywood directors who were influenced by art cinema. This analysis, like those posited by other critics influenced by film theorist David Bordwell, distinguishes the term “art cinema” as employing a range of techniques outside of continuity editing that are read as stylistic, and because of this it entails specific modes of viewership in order to find meaning in style. Because of the function of style, the thesis posits thematic kinship among The Graduate, Catch-22, and Carnal Knowledge, which enriches the film’s respective meanings when viewed side by side.

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