'Radically influential' 1968 film followed door-to-door Bible salesmen working the east coast
Salesman, the pioneering 1968 documentary directed by David Maysles, Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, will be released on the Criterion Collection in March.
Considered one of the classics of direct cinema (i.e. cinéma vérité), the black-and-white film documented the weary efforts of four door-to-door Bible salesmen on a "seemingly futile quest" to purvey the Holy Book from Boston to Florida.
"A vivid evocation of midcentury malaise that unfolds against a backdrop of cheap motels, smoky diners, and suburban living rooms," Criterion writes, "Salesman assumes poignant dimensions as it uncovers the way its subjects' fast-talking bravado masks frustration, disappointment, and despair."
One of the most penetrating films ever made about how deeply embedded consumerism is in America's sense of its own values.
"Revolutionizing the art of nonfiction storytelling with its nonjudgmental, observational style," Criterion continues, "this landmark documentary is one of the most penetrating films ever made about how deeply embedded consumerism is in America's sense of its own values."
Criterion describes Salesman as a "radically influential portrait of American dreams and disillusionment." As per usual with Criterion Collection releases, the Blu-ray will include a number of extra features, among them a television interview from 1968 with the Maysles brothers and "audio commentary from 2001 featuring directors Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin." It also includes a Salesman parody produced for the comedic series Documentary Now! starring Bill Hader and Fred Armisen.
Ordering information is available here. These are the specs:
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
* New, restored 4K digital transfer, undertaken by the Academy Film Archive, The Film Foundation, and the George Lucas Family Foundation, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
* Audio commentary from 2001 featuring directors Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin
* New appreciation of the film by actor Bill Hader
* "Globesman," a 2016 episode of the television series Documentary Now! that parodies the film, starring Hader and Fred Armisen
* Television interview from 1968 with directors David and Albert Maysles, conducted by critic Jack Kroll
* Audio excerpt from a 2000 episode of NPR's Weekend Edition profiling James Baker, one of the salesmen featured in the film
* PLUS: An essay by critic Michael Chaiken
1969 * 91 minutes * Black & White * Monaural * 1.33:1 aspect ratio
Images from Saleman
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.