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Death of Salesman [DVD] [1985] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007ELDP
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 275,152 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Format: DVD
Dustin Hoffman, John Malkovich shine in this now classic play. Like Nora in Ibsen's "A Doll's House," we have characters confined by prescribed fate looking to climb out into their own.
What is fate?
In this case, Willy Loman is bound by his belief that personality alone, of being liked, is enough to make it to the American Dream. Unable to reconcile that those days never existed, and that hard work involved more than a firm handshake and a smile, he becomes despondent as he thinks of the lost potential. He is reminded in flashbacks and visions of relatives and friends who have succeeded.
His two sons are also confined to Willy's delusions of grandeur. Biff, played by Malkovich, had a future as a football star, but was handicapped by his dad's inhibitions and lack of reality. When he realizes his dad is a failure without integrity, after idolizing him, he concludes he too will be a failure.
Hap, on the other hand, Bif's brother, played by Stephen Lang, is a young Willy. He thinks his dad is right, and although he lives in futile mediocrity, believes dreaming is enough.
Kate Reid plays Willy's wife, Linda. She knows Willy is a failure, but tries to exist within the lie. She never declares the truth, but instead allows Willy to dream without substance.
Willy's hopes are shown worthless when he meets up with those, like Bernard, the nerdy math geek when Bif and Hap were children, and now practicing law in front of the Supreme Court. Willy asks what the secret is. His dream is nothing but the puff of a distortion of a Horatio Alger story, but he won't accept it. Bernard's father, Willy's neighbor, offers him a job, but Willy refuses.
The conflict is about encountering reality, and who will meet the truth.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Unfortunately,coming rom USA, I didn't realise it wouldn't play on UK equipment.My fault.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 55 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Performance 2 Jun. 2013
By Lavender - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film is one I use in my classroom when I teach Miller to my college students. This play provokes response both positive and negative. Some come away with a complete misreading by attaching their " bootstraps" politics to the drama. Actually viewing the play in the manner in which this is performed helps dispel misunderstanding of Miller's brilliance in creating characters that are more than symbols but fully dimensional humans. I have seen many other versions of this play and read it many times, but these performances always arouse emotions when I view this play in class.
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent version of this Henry Miller play with a very ... 7 Jun. 2016
By ANTHONY F ZIPPER - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An excellent version of this Henry Miller play with a very strong cast. Dustin Hoffman deserved an Oscar for his performance, which although provided by script that is strictly reality, produced a characterisation that was almost embarrassing and painful to watch.
5.0 out of 5 stars Death of a Salesman 29 Oct. 2016
By Shane S - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I love it. I watched it when I was in school and knew that I just had to have it, own it for myself. It's one of the best movies/plays that could have ever existed in the world. I'm glad that I bought it.
4.0 out of 5 stars Another classic with a fantastic cast. This is an intense production that is ... 14 Nov. 2016
By Arthur G van Stolk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Another classic with a fantastic cast. This is an intense production that is so well done. Having seen it in the theater many years ago, this DVD brings it right on to your home screen.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great transition from play to film, awesome resource for the play! 13 Jun. 2010
By fra7299 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Director Volker Schlondorff's version of the Arthur Miller play really hits on all cylinders. The mood, pacing, characterization and accuracy of Death of a Salesman are masterfully blended into a well-thought production. One underappreciated aspect is successfully incorporating a play into a film. Many times we have read a play only to watch a film version seem trite, forced or disappointingly unable to make the transition; Death of a Salesman doesn't have this problem, as many significant scenes, such as Biff's epiphany and confrontation with Willy, keep their power. Also, the key quotes from characters are given their moment. Unlike many other reviewers, I haven't seen the Broadway Production of Death of a Salesman, so I can't compare this one to any other production, but I think this version will hold up nicely to other successful versions.

As far as the story itself, Death of a Salesman is a classic case for the failure of the American Dream. Willy Loman, an aging traveling salesman, is a tragic hero who loses touch with reality as he wavers between the present, 1942, and the past, 1928. Willy's tragic flaw is that he has false values that he takes as the proponents to success. Not only this, but he pushes these values onto his two sons, Happy and Biff. Willy's false belief that success in life can be attributed to personal appearance, being liked, and connections lays foundations for present day failures. We come to understand that Willy's glowing vision of the past is only an exaggeration for his idealistic hopes. Willy not only has visions of the past, but seeks the answers to life from his dead brother Ben, who, unlike Willy, was a success early in life. Much of Willy's success as a salesman is exaggerated; his false pride gets in the way of any transformation. Happy and Biff, because of Willy's outlook, are also lost in the world, lack identity, and represent failures. Willy has inflated Biff's ego to the point where Biff lacks responsibility, and, as a result, Biff can't hold down a job. The film investigates the negative aspects of having wrong values, and how it can destroy hopes of the American Dream. Although Willy's state of mind is quite fractured, Linda (his wife) and the two sons, for the most part, do not attempt to confront him or his suicidal tendencies, ignoring the problem and thus emphasizing false perception. Biff, however, is the one character who finally wakes up and challenges Willy's views, and "sees the light" about the lie he's been living. Death of a Salesman proposes that having the wrong dreams can lead to tragic results.

A great job was done assembling a cast that really made this play come to life. Dustin Hoffman really gives the edginess to Willy Loman, yet he also makes Willy a sympathetic character, one who you feel sorry for by the time the credits are rolling. The other actors also do solid work. A young John Malkovich does a commendable job as Biff Loman, the one who Willy has high hopes for.

Also included within the DVD is Private Confessions, a documentary which sheds some light on background into the play and the idea of the traveling salesman. If you haven't read the play, this might be a good way to begin before viewing the film.

Over all, this is an excellent job of bringing Arthur Miller's play to life. This is also is an exceptional resource for either a teacher or student who wants to use the film to help with the study of the play, which can be confusing to read with the various time shifts.

Fantastic production! Definitely recommended!
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