Salesman (5 stars)


(E) 91min (Eureka DVD retail)


The first of two recent DVD debuts for seminal documentaries made by the Maysles brothers, Salesman is the non-narrated account of four Boston door-to-door bible sellers. Made in 1968 and shot in black and white, the Maysles document the salesmens’ carefully rehearsed pitch to gullible housewives, widows and distracted blue-collar workers. Honoured by the Library of Congress as one of the best American films ever made, Salesman fundamentally redefined documentary filmmaking in the US and ultimately the world. Its in-depth depiction of the lives of ordinary people without judgement or narration became much copied but rarely bettered. Filmmaker Peter The Last Picture Show Bogdanovich has also admitted that Salesman was a huge influence on his own adaptation of Joe David Brown’s Bible salesman comedy novel Addie Pray which was released as Paper Moon in 1973.

The remaining Maysles brother Albert has approved this beautiful new transfer. Extras include an interview and filmed Q&A session with Albert, the original theatrical trailer and a 36-page booklet containing vintage photographs, a great 1969 article by Howard Junker and a check sheet of the equipment the brothers used on this film.

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