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Death of a Salesman (1951)

 |  Drama  |  9 May 1952 (Finland)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 563 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 2 critic

Willy Loman is an over-the-hill salesman who faces a personal turning point when he loses his job and attempts to make peace with his family: Willy's long-suffering wife Linda, and Biff and Happy, his troubled sons and his life.

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Title: Death of a Salesman (1951)

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

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Howard Smith ...
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Royal Beal ...
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Claire Carleton ...
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Storyline

Willy Loman is an over-the-hill salesman who faces a personal turning point when he loses his job and attempts to make peace with his family: Willy's long-suffering wife Linda, and Biff and Happy, his troubled sons and his life.

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Drama

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9 May 1952 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Der Tod eines Handlungsreisenden  »

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1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Arthur Miller disliked this film version of his play because he felt that the flashback sequences made it look as if Willy Loman were literally acting out his past in front of others, and that this made him seem insane. Perhaps because of this, other versions of the play have been shown on TV and video, but the 1951 version has not been televised in more than twenty years, and it has never been issued on VHS or DVD. See more »

Quotes

Linda Loman: Attention must finally be paid to such a man. He's not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog.
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User Reviews

Miller seems to have been pleased
17 August 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In his autobiography, "Timebends," playwright Arthur Miller says he was pleased with this version of "Salesman" and felt that Fredric March was effective as Willy. I would love to make that determination for myself. I have always been a big fan of March, and the rest of the cast all seem ideal choices for their roles. I don't believe it is in TCM's library. I think it deserves a DVD release, as does the 1966 (German?) version of "The Crucible."

I check on the DVD availability of this version of "Salesman" every now and then, as well as the 1949 version of "The Great Gatsby" with Alan Ladd, along with some other films that are (surprisingly) not on DVD, such as "Last Year At Marienbad" and "Sundays and Cybele." Good things come to those who wait.

Indeed, even if you have to wait seven years. The Fredric March version of "Salesman" made its way to YouTube in October, 2014. The print is not very good, but the movie is fine. March is wonderful, even if he does start out the movie at something of a fevered pitch rather than working up to it, as another reviewer says. The two sons, Biff and Happy, are such ne'er do wells and so dishonest that they are thoroughly unsympathetic. Kevin McCarthy and Cameron Mitchell play them to perfection. Mildred Dunnock's Linda may be the best performance in the movie. She mediates, observes, cajoles, admonishes, plays on sympathies, comforts and encourages. It's amazing how many dimensions there really are to this character, and Dunnock finds and plays them all beautifully. "Death of a Salesman" is so stagebound that it's hard to find ways to open it up for the screen, so why bother? The story and performers draw audiences in to "Salesman," and because the subject matter is so unremittingly bleak and despairing, the acting has to be of a very high caliber to sustain interest. This is a feat the 1951 movie version pulls off handsomely.


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