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||IMDB Rating: 7.9/10 from 3,213 votes
||Release: 1968 (USA) /
||Director: Albert Maysles,
||Stars: Charles McDevitt, James Baker, Kennie Turner, Margaret McCarron, Melbourne I. Feltman, Paul Brennan, Raymond Martos
||Synopsis: Filmmakers (and brothers) Albert and David Maysles follow four employees of a company that makes expensive, ornate, illustrated bibles as they attempt to sell the items door-to-door to less-than-interested customers, who are mainly poor or lower-middle-class Catholics with little money to spend on pretty Bibles. Written by Gary Dickerson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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As with Frederick Wiseman's "Titicut Follies," the Maysles brothers'
"Salesman" is truly a landmark for the "cinema verite" documentary movement
of the 1960s. Although the former is shockingly realistic in a sensational
way, "Salesman" is actually the more disturbing for showing the
Hell-on-earth that marks the workaday world for most of humanity. If ever a
film shows that most people "lead lives of quiet desperation," this is it.
In my lifetime of viewing films, I've never seen a non-fiction film more
affecting and poignant. That this film didn't make the AFI Top 100 is
practically scandalous. Be forewarned, this is an oppressively sad, yet
slyly funny, film that is not easy to watch. It speaks volumes about
American business practices, the ties between business and organized
religion, the exploitation of religious belief (and its perversion via
materialism), the dehumanization of workers, the crushing wisdom that can
come with aging, the scary mindset of suburban denizens, and a lot more. If
ever anyone had the right to ask the question, "Is that all there is?" it
would be Paul, an aging Bible salesman having trouble meeting his sales
quota, who serves as the film's central character. The film is brutally
honest, yet powerfully manipulative. It does beg the question: how much is
real and how much is affected by the presence of the cameras? One does feel,
after seeing this, that reality is just as bad as Dorothy Parker said it
was. For those who fail, the American Dream is a nightmare. In short, a film
you'll never forget.
Tags for Salesman Full Movie
, James Baker
, Kennie Turner
, Margaret McCarron
, Melbourne I. Feltman
, Paul Brennan
, Raymond Martos
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