SALESMAN (1968)

Dir. Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin

In January 1967, Albert and David Maysles returned to their working-class Boston roots to film the day-to-day grind of four salesmen selling Bibles door-to-door. The brothers had worked as salesmen themselves, which helped with filming. Not only did they travel with the salesmen, but they also had to be invited—along with their cameras and sound equipment—into potential customers' homes. In particular, the film focuses on Paul Brennan, nicknamed "The Badger," as he travels door-to-door selling expensive Bibles to low-income families. Brennan's sales are down, and as the cameras follow him he moves from rejection to rejection, trying to convince his colleagues and bosses that the people he sees are unsellable and eventually turning into a real-life Willy Loman. Working in the "Direct Cinema" style they had helped introduce with their participation in Primary (1960), the Maysles simply present the salesmen's progress without narration or other commentary, leaving viewers to interpret for themselves this trenchant picture of the American way of doing business. TCM presents the documentary as part of its tribute to Albert Maysles.

In attendance: Albert Maysles.

SALESMAN
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