|Price:||CDN$ 42.99 & FREE Shipping. Details|
A landmark American documentary, Salesman captures in vivid detail the bygone era of the door-to-door salesman. While laboring to sell a gold-embossed version of the Good Book, Paul Brennan and his colleagues target the beleaguered masses-then face the demands of quotas and the frustrations of life on the road. Following Brennan on his daily rounds, the Maysles discover a real-life Willy Loman, walking the line from hype to despair.
Arguably the best American documentary of the 1960s, Salesman was the pivotal film of the "direct cinema" movement championed by such influential filmmakers as Richard Leacock, D.A. Pennebaker, and (in this case) the Maysles brothers and their longtime collaborator Charlotte Zwerin. It catapulted Albert and David Maysles to international fame (later intensified with Gimme Shelter), and it remains the most powerful document of working-class America in the post-Kennedy era. As compelling as any fictional drama, the film follows four salesmen (nicknamed the Badger, the Gipper, the Rabbit, and the Bull, based on their particular on-the-job attributes) from Boston to Florida as they struggle to sell lavishly illustrated Bibles to reluctant, blue-collar customers as desperate to keep their money as the salesmen are to take it.
The film focuses on the anguished plight of Paul "the Badger" Brennan, an aging Boston-Irish veteran of the salesman circuit, weary of his job and unable to hide his exhaustion from customers and colleagues alike. "I don't want to seem negative," he says in one of the film's many dreary motel rooms, but Paul is negative, and meager sales reflect his attitude. The resulting portrait serves as a two-way mirror of hard-scrabble American survival, simultaneously humorous and heartbreaking, and so honestly revealing that no performance (with the possible exception of Jack Lemmon's in Glengarry Glen Ross) could ever hope to match its level of richly nuanced humanity. Door-to-door salesmen became dinosaurs with the advent of telemarketing and Internet retail, but Salesman is a timeless masterpiece of cinematic truth. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
The "salesmen" themselves are unforgetable; their performances in the homes of anyone who will let them get a foot in the door are fascinating and nerve wracking as you find yourself sympathizing both with the salesmen and the prospective buyers at the same time. It's this dynamic tension that gives the film some real drama. Better than what could have been scripted.
I never saw this film on video so I can't comment on any improvements in quality. But I will say this: the film looks and sounds beautiful on DVD. Also, with the DVD is an interview (mostly pretentious banter revolving around the distinction of "direct cinema"), commentary with the Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin (editor) and film trailers.
The Maysles' camera focuses on the body language of the uncomfortable squirm of people who cannot afford ten dollars a month for the Bible. We see the deflation of the salesmen when the sale is denied. We also see the smugness of the producers as they check through their completed sales slips. Each salesman has a distinct selling personality that is characterized by his nickname in the group.
Paul, the main character is losing his touch. We witness the rejections he endures until he finally decides to give up and go back home, bowed and beaten.
Many of the characters are adapted from this film to the play, then movie, "Glenngary Glennross", another intense drama about salesmen. One can also imagine Paul returning to his wife and reliving his past as does Willy Loman in, "Death of a Salesman". These three are a tour de force of life as cold call salesman.
Most recent customer reviews
A masterpiece of the direct-cinema, the real life of an american bible salesman, brought to us by the Maysles brothers.Published on Oct. 1 2002 by pedro cruz
Albert and David Maysles' verite documentary Salesman is one of the most interesting documentaries that I've seen. Read morePublished on Sept. 13 2001 by Jeremy Heilman
A very solid documentary. I was bowled over by it. It's easy to see the influence on Glengarry Glen Ross, but this is much more bleak(in a memorable way). Read morePublished on Sept. 2 2001