Salesman (film)

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Salesman is a 1969 direct cinema documentary film directed by brothers Albert and David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin.[1]



The documentary follows four salesmen as they travel across New England and Florida trying to sell expensive Bibles door-to-door in low-income neighborhoods. The film focuses in particular on the struggles of salesman Paul Brennan, a middle aged Irish American Catholic from Boston who struggles to keep up his sales.

Interviews and the salesmen

  • Jamie Baker - 'The Rabbit'
  • Paul Brennan - 'The Badger'
  • Raymond Martos - 'The Bull'
  • Charles McDevitt - 'The Gipper'
  • Kennie Turner
  • Melbourne I. Feltman
  • Margaret McCarron

Critical reception

When the film was first released, Vincent Canby, film critic for The New York Times, lauded the film and wrote, "...[the] documentary feature about four door-to-door Bible salesmen who move horizontally through the capitalistic dream. It's such a fine, pure picture of a small section of American life that I can't imagine its ever seeming irrelevant, either as a social document or as one of the best examples of what's called cinema vérité or direct cinema...It is fact, photographed and recorded with extraordinarily mobile camera and sound equipment, and then edited and carefully shaped into a kind of cinematic mural of faces, words, motel rooms, parlors, kitchens, streets, television images, radio music—even weather."[2]


In 1992, Salesman was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."


External links

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