DEATH OF A SALESMAN
(director: Volker Schlondorff; screenwriter: Arthur Miller, based on Miller’s teleplay & play; cinematographer: Michael Ballhaus; editors: Mark Burns, David Ray; music: Alex North; cast: Dustin Hoffman (Willy Loman), Kate Reid (Linda Loman), John Malkovich (Biff Loman), Stephen Lang (Happy), Louis Zorich (Ben), Charles Durning (Charley); Runtime: 135; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Robert F. Colesberry; Shout!Factory/Roxbury Productions; 1985)
“An acceptable, though sometimes stagey, version of the well-known play about an ageing traveling salesman.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
German director Volker Schlondorff (“The Ninth Day”/”The Tin Drum”) directs this TV movie (played on CBS, on September 15, 1985). It’s based on Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. It was made into a decent film in 1951, with Fredric March in the starring role.
It’s the director’s first American project, which is an acceptable, though sometimes stagey, version of the well-known play about an ageing traveling salesman facing the reality that his life is a failure and he has been trapped chasing the American Dream.
Dustin Hoffman brilliantly recreates the iconic Willy Loman role he played on Broadway. Kate Reid is Willy’s longtime suffering and supportive wife. Happy (Stephan Lang) and Biff (John Malkovich) play their youngest and eldest sons. With Happy a successful businessman and Biff, at 34, back home after failing at many jobs.
REVIEWED ON 9/17/2023 GRADE: B