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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 574 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 3 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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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
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...
...
...
Howard Smith ...
Charley
Royal Beal ...
Ben
...
Bernard
Jesse White ...
Stanley
Claire Carleton ...
Miss Francis
David Alpert ...
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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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

9 May 1952 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Der Tod eines Handlungsreisenden  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Arthur Miller, in a 2000 essay entitled, "Are You Now Or Were You Ever?" Columbia asked Miller to sign an anti-Communist declaration to ward off the threat of picket lines by the American Legion at theaters showing "Death of a Salesman". He refused. Instead, Columbia made another movie, a short film entitled "Life of a Salesman" to be shown with it. The short consisted of business professors from City College praising sales as a profession, and denouncing the character of Willy Loman. Miller wrote: "Never in show-business history has a studio spent so much good money to prove that its feature film was pointless." See more »

Quotes

Charley: A salesman is somebody way up there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine...
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Connections

Referenced in Facing the Past (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
If not the very best 'Salesman', still quite worth seeing
18 January 2012 | by (US) – See all my reviews

If the lead actor is good, this play is so powerful, it's almost production proof. I've seen it many times, in different media and interpretations, and never fail to be moved and disturbed by it. And usually the subtle differences from production to production are enough to see new elements of the characters and story.

In some ways this is my least favorite filmed 'Salesman'-- the slightly dated acting sometimes feels a bit theatrical (possibly also because the actors were almost all in the play on Broadway, and there's a bit of 'playing to the back row' in the work).

But at the same time these are very good actors, so even if they're theatrical at moments they can still be quite moving. I really liked Fredric March; he looked and felt 'right' if not quite as complex as some Willys I've seen. And Kevin McCarthy is very good as Biff, except for the most emotional moments, where you can feel him 'push' a little.

There are also some lovely little visual touches, that help balance the stage bound feeling. The ending didn't get me quite as much as usual, mostly because I believe some dialogue was re-ordered for this film version in a way that made it a touch less stark and powerful.

It also bothered me that Willy seems more obviously crazy from the start.

But for all that carping, this is still a wonderful film of a story that always makes me think about my own father, all the fathers of that generation, and even our own modern mid-life crises, not really all that different from Willy's. The questions are still the same; what did my life mean? Will anyone remember me? How did reality stray so far from my dreams?


4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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