Salesman (1969) Blu-ray: Quiet desperation documentary

The Criterion Collection is releasing a fascinating look at a by-gone profession, Salesman (1969), on a 4K restored Blu-ray. Directed by Albert Maysles, David Maysles.

This radically influential portrait of American dreams and disillusionment from Direct Cinema pioneers David Maysles, Albert Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin captures, with indelible humanity, the worlds of four dogged door-to-door Bible salesmen as they travel from Boston to Florida on a seemingly futile quest to sell luxury editions of the Good Book to working-class Catholics.

A vivid evocation of midcentury malaise that unfolds against a backdrop of cheap motels, smoky diners, and suburban living rooms, Salesman assumes poignant dimensions as it uncovers the way its subjects’ fast-talking bravado masks frustration, disappointment, and despair.

Revolutionizing the art of nonfiction storytelling with its nonjudgmental, observational style, 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.

Release date: March 10, 2020
Genre: Documentary

Disc and film details

  • Director: Albert Maysles, David Maysles
  • Country: USA
  • Production Year: 1969
  • Discs: 1 Blu-ray Disc
  • Region: A
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Formats: Black & white; 4K; 1.33:1
  • Audio: English
  • Subtitle: English
  • Studio: Criterion Collection

Special features

  • NEW 4K RESTORATION, 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
  • Television interview from 1968 with directors David and Albert Maysles, conducted by critic Jack Kroll
  • 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
  • Audio excerpt from a 2000 episode of NPR’s Weekend Edition profiling James Baker, one of the salesmen featured in the film
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Michael Chaiken

Salesman (1969) clip

Notice: The picture quality of these videos do not reflect the picture quality of the Blu-ray or DVD in this package.

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