Private Conversations On The Set Of Death Of A Salesman

A fascinating 1985 documentary by Christian Blackwood about the shooting of a TV film of Death of a Salesman, focusing on the creative deliberations of director Volker Schlondorff, actor Dustin Hoffman, and playwright Arthur Miller (the latter two served as executive producers). Blackwood mainly addresses some of the technical and aesthetic problems involved in translating a stage work into film, although the personalities and quirks of the participants (including actors John Malkovich, Charles Durning, Stephen Lang, Kate Reid, and Miller’s Crossing’s Jon Polito, as well as cinematographer Michael Ballhaus) also play a substantial role. The presence of Blackwood’s camera and microphone raises the question of how much this documentary is producing or alteringas opposed to merely recordingthe behavior and deliberations that we’re privy to. (JR)

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