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USA 1985
Directed by
Volker Schlorndorff
130 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Death Of A Salesman

A made-for TV version of Arthur Miller's classic 1949 play about father-son relations, executive produced by Miller and based on a 1984 Broadway revival with most of the cast from it, including Hoffman as Willie Loman, Kate Reid as his wife and John Malkovich and Stephen Lang as his sons. Hoffman, then in his 40s, gives a superb rendition of the pathetic figure of Willie Loman, an average schlub who has spent his whole life trying of get his piece of the American Dream and failed at every turn.  Malkovich is also strong as Biff, his angry and confused son who at the age of 35 is adrift in a world in which he has no place but has never found another. Reid and Lang are also first class but the entire cast, which also includes Charles Durning, John Polito and Linda Kozlowski are solid.

Schlorndorff keep the theatrical form intact with no trace of naturalism and makes excellent use of the camera to keep proceedings fluid and maximize the performer's strengths. Bar a couple of small continuity errors this is a first class screen adaptation of a first class play that perhaps is a little dated but which still resonates.




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