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Death Of A Salesman [VHS]

21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Kate Reid, John Malkovich, Stephen Lang, Charles Durning
  • Directors: Volker Schlöndorff
  • Writers: Arthur Miller
  • Producers: Michael Nozik, Nellie Nugiel, Robert F. Colesberry
  • Language: English
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Mia
  • VHS Release Date: 17 Sept. 2001
  • Run Time: 131 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005NTMQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 387,208 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Volker Schlondorff's adaptation of Arthur Miller's modern classic. Travelling salesman Willy Loman (Dustin Hoffman) has struggled his whole life to win success for his family. Yet in reality, despite Willy's illusions, the Loman clan are falling apart at the seams, with eldest son Biff (John Malkovich) having grown distant from his father due to an incident in the past, and younger son Happy (Stephen Lang) becoming increasingly careless and cynical. When he is fired from his job and forced to live on handouts from a friend, Willy considers the failure of his professional and personal life, and begins to think of a way out.

From Amazon.co.uk

German filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff's 1985 production of Arthur Miller's most famous play Death of a Salesman appeared squarely and quite hauntingly in the middle of the go-go economy of the Reagan-Bush years. Miller's story, set during the post-war boom period of the late 1940s, concerns an ageing travelling salesman named Willy Loman (Dustin Hoffman), who despairs that his life his been lived in vain. Facing dispensability and insignificance in a heated, youthful economy, Willy is not ready to part with his cherished fantasies of an America that loves and admires him for personable triumphs in the marketplace. But the reality is far more pitiable than that, and the measure of Willy's self-delusion and contradictions is found in his two sons, one (Stephen Lang) a ne'er-do-well gliding on inherited hot air and repressed feelings, and the other (John Malkovich) a mousy, retiring sort unable to reconcile--or forgive--the difference between his father's desperate impersonation of success and the truth. Schlöndorff's remarkable cast explores Miller's rich subtext to great effect, though Hoffman--despite giving us a new model of Willy to contrast with Lee J Cobb's definitive portrayal a generation before--is a bit insect-like and shrill in his approach. Malkovich, Lang, and Kate Reid (as Willy's long-suffering wife) are perfect, however, and the production is atmospheric and strong. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E Davenport on 24 Feb. 2011
Format: DVD
The main problem with this film version of Miller's powerful play is the mumbling diction of the protagonist, Willy Loman (Dustin Hoffman). Whilst his body language is convincing as he shuffles around the house and streets, too many of the words are swallowed up into the background sound effects which makes catching Miller's resonant script something of a challenge (especially compared to the crystal clear diction of Lee J. Cobb in the filmed Broadway staged version). However, Malkovich's Biff is affectingly plausible and Linda Loman (Kathy Bates)is simply magnificent.Making a film version of a play so dependent on the stage set and dramatic techniques Miller had in mind was always going to prove problematic; the 'outside' scenes are largely meant to be in Willy's mind, so to see New York street scenes and Boston hotel rooms can distract from what should be an unrelenting focus on a disintegrating mind.This film version tries but ultimately fails on several levels.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By B. Lawes VINE VOICE on 6 Aug. 2002
Format: DVD
Arthur miller's classic has stood the test of time, and is still pertinent today, especially with the increasingly temporary state of the employment market, and the emasculation of men within society. The tragic-heroic figure of Willy Loman, and his mental and emotional sparring with his son Biff still carry an incredible power, and any son or father will relate. This TV movie adaptation of a 1980's Broadway production is a brave attempt to bring the power of the stage play to the small screen.
Dustin Hoffman stars as Willy Loman. This is not really a good thing. The attention of the entire movie seems to be focused almost exclusively on Hoffman. Having read the play I noticed that there are some large cuts in dialogue, however Willy Loman's dialogue remains almost entirely intact. It is Biff who suffers the largest cuts, removing some of the most touching and delicate lines of the play, as he explains the draw of the country, and his constant springtime returns to Brooklyn. Biff's roundedness as a character suffers from these unnecessary cuts. I cannot believe they were to keep the running time down, but more to do with the irresistible performance of one John Malkovich in an early screen role.
Even in scenes where he does not appear, or takes no direct part in the action, Hoffman's presence is forced upon us. As Biff, or Happy or Linda deliver important lines, Hoffman suddenly laughs or shouts off-screen, reducing the impact of the other actors. In one glaring addition, as Biff explains his ill fated business meeting to Happy, Willy knocks on the restaurant window, destroying the rhythm and effect of the speech.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Matt Howard on 22 Jan. 2004
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
John M and Dustin H were outstanding in their roles as father and son. It is set almost identically as the stage version and manages to transfer the plays stage spectacle on to the small screen. If you're a fan of Arthur Miller then you won't be disappointed. Worth a viewing.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Graham R. Hill VINE VOICE on 27 Oct. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This was made for TV using essentially the same cast as had appeared on Broadway the previous year and with a script very faithful to Miller's original. Whist not literally a filmed play it does retain a feeling of being staged with all external shots obviously, and one assumes deliberately, being inside sound lots.

Hoffman is excellent, as is Malkovich and indeed everyone else. Like all great plays this is open to different interpretive treatments. For me, this version places too much of the blame on Willie's personal failings and insufficient on the way that society is organised. However, that's why art at the level that Miller practised it bears repeated revisiting; because there is always something else to be learnt from it.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael Crane on 15 Aug. 2003
Format: DVD
I was glad to find this DVD just shortly after reading the play. While I enjoyed reading it very much, I found the play to be very confusing. Just from the text alone it was hard to tell what was real and what wasn't. Seeing the film version of this triumphant play really helped a lot. "Death of a Salesman" is a sad and tragic drama that emotionally involves you from start to finish.
Willy Loman is a tired and heart-broken salesman who no longer lives in the world of reality. Instead, he is trapped in his world of delusions. Each day that passes by seems to be worse and worse for Willy. He spends way too much of his time in the past when he needs to be focusing on the future. His wife and two sons have no idea what they should do for him as they know that he is heading towards disaster in this unforgettable drama.
Like I said, to actually see this really made me appreciate the play more than just reading it from the text. It can get confusing when you only have the words, but when you see it performed it all comes together and make sense. The acting is terrific. Dustin Hoffman really does an outstanding job of playing Willy Loman. Not only does he just "act" the part out, he "becomes" Loman. I admit that I had my doubts at first, because I didn't see him playing the part. My doubts quickly fled from my mind after the first 10 minutes or so. Everybody else is also terrific as well. (Wow, look how young John Malkovitch looks!) I think the movie does a fine job doing Arthur Miller's play justice.
The DVD is pretty neat as well. The picture quality is good, considering the fact that it is an old movie. The DVD also includes a feature length documentary behind the movie, which is really entertaining, and a still gallery.
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