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Salesman
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Salesman (1968) More at IMDbPro »

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Salesman -- Four relentless door-to-door salesmen deal with constant rejection, homesickness and inevitable burnout as they go across the country selling very expensive bibles to low-income Catholic families.

Overview

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Release Date:
1968 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Four relentless door-to-door salesmen deal with constant rejection, homesickness and inevitable burnout as they go across the country selling very expensive bibles to low-income Catholic families. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Could have been more then but the cold look at the sales business, the sellers and the potential buyers is well done and makes for engaging if rather downbeat entertainment See more (30 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
Paul Brennan ... Himself - 'The Badger'
Charles McDevitt ... Himself - 'The Gipper'
James Baker ... Himself - 'The Rabbit'
Raymond Martos ... Himself - 'The Bull'
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Melbourne I. Feltman
Margaret McCarron
Kennie Turner

Directed by
Albert Maysles 
David Maysles 
Charlotte Zwerin 
 
Produced by
Albert Maysles .... producer
David Maysles .... producer
 
Cinematography by
Albert Maysles 
 
Film Editing by
David Maysles 
Charlotte Zwerin 
 
Sound Department
Dick Vorisek .... sound mixer
Maurice Schell .... apprentice sound editor (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Ellen Giffard .... contributing film editor
Barbara Jarvis .... assistant editor
Maurice Schell .... apprentice editor (uncredited)
 
Other crew
David Maysles .... development
David Maysles .... researcher
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
85 min | Argentina:85 min (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)
Country:
Language:
Sound Mix:
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1992.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Strongbad_email.exe: Disc Four (2005) (V)See more »

FAQ

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
Could have been more then but the cold look at the sales business, the sellers and the potential buyers is well done and makes for engaging if rather downbeat entertainment, 24 August 2006
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

Paul Brennan is "The Badger". Charles McDevitt is "The Gipper". James Baker is "The Rabbit" and Raymond Martos is "The Bull". However this is not yet another British gangster film from Guy Ritchie but rather a fly-on-the-wall documentary following these four door-to-door bible salesman as they go about their trade and shoot the breeze with one another. Selling for as much as $40 per ornate book, the target audience are mostly poor catholic families who are given a hard sell before being offered a range of payment methods. In the middle of a sales slum, we follow Paul Brennan as he tries to break his losing streak.

Probably the worst job I have done wasn't that bad but was when I was a cleaner 7 mornings a week while also going through university. It felt worse because I also worked weekend evenings in a bar. However I would happily do either of those again if the only other option open to me was telephone or door-to-door sales because to me it is a soul-destroying job. I know some people can excel at it but others scrape by on their commissions, trying to force products onto others that they wouldn't buy themselves. This documentary confirms my thoughts on the job as we follow Paul Brennan on sales calls, conferences and sales meetings. Those familiar with Glengary Glenross will know where they are already and personally I kept seeing Brennan as the Gill character from the Simpsons, frantically just trying to get by. The film doesn't provide much more insight than that because it is very much a fly-on-the-wall affair that lets the characters speak for themselves.

By doing this it lays bare the approach of the sales game. It is depressing for several reasons and it made me feel sympathy for Brennan as often as I felt repulsed by him. He doesn't care about those he is selling to and he lies, applies pressure and guilts his marks into buying something they don't need and often don't actually want. But it is easy to feel for him because he is doing a job. I have never had someone coming door-to-door astonish me with a service or product that I suddenly wanted, especially nowadays, if you want it and can afford it, you probably already have it, but the sales staff still need to sell and Brennan's way is the most basic approach. The Maysles brothers wisely stay out of the way and I was quite amazed at how unobtrusive their camera was even when the sales were in relatively confined rooms.

Overall this is a rather depressing film that could have had more in the way of insight but does well to stand back and just observe. Modern documentaries often lose that so in a way it was refreshing not to have talking heads throughout the footage. Could have been more then but the cold look at the sales business, the sellers and the potential buyers is well done and makes for engaging if rather downbeat entertainment.

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