Death of a Salesman, based on the play by Arthur Miller
9 out of 10
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
Death of a Salesman is an established masterpiece.
Indeed, there are many adaptations of this classic.
This note refers to the 1951 production:
- Director Laslo Benedek, writer: Arthur Miller- it is his mesmerizing play- and Stanley Roberts
In the year when An American in Paris won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Death of A Salesman competed with:
- A Place in the Sun (noted on this blog), Quo Vadis and A Streetcar Named Desire for the top prize
Death of a Salesman has been nominated for another four Academy Awards, including for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Actor in a Supporting Role
And it did win four Golden Globes for:
- Best Director, Best Actor, Best Promising Newcomer and Cinematography
Fredric March is hypnotizing as a haunted, exhausted salesman who has the death from the title hanging over him.
Willy Loman is at the end of a career in sales and he is not making money any more, even if he tries hard.
He travels every day in his car, with the suitcases of samples, but without being able to close any deal, except once in a while.
Linda Loman, his wife knows that he is lying to her and the pressure is increasing because they are unable to pay for bills.
Willy Loman wants to talk to his boss, who is the son of the man he had been working for such a long time, for a change.
The Salesman thinks that he will be able to convince the younger man to move him to New York, but it is a failed plan.
- Instead of getting a better position, Willy Loman is fired.
This is terrible not just in financial terms.
Actually, the serious aspect of unpaid bills could be overwhelmed by the disastrous psychological impact of being laid off.
- It is like a death sentence
This tragic event made me think of psychology research done in retirement homes, wherein a group of people have been given responsibilities.
Those who had light tasks or were just asked to demand for things to be done under their supervision lived twice as long as those who had nothing to do and no responsibility to keep them “occupied”.
The situation is further aggravated by the two sons of the suffering salesman, especially Biff Loman who if failing.
He had been fired for stealing and hopes are now tied to a business meeting that would give him the chance of a good job.
Or that had been the hope.
Willy Loman is also in a state of confusion and he remembers events from the past, only he imagines them happening again.
He talks with ghosts of the past and that does not help him and those around him are seriously concerned.
Well, those who care for him.
I did not catch on the meaning of the names Willy Loman, but the explanation that the first name could stand for “Will he? „Is correct, as well as the use of “low man „as an alternative for his second one.
Arthur Miller was unhappy with the film adaptation that he thought made his main character look like a lunatic.
The New Times ‘Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made List has included this version though: