“The only thing you’ve got in this world is what you can sell.”
Aging salesman Willy Loman (Fredric March) pins all his hopes on his eldest son, Biff (Kevin McCarthy).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Arthur Miller Films
- Father and Child
- Flashback Films
- Fredric March Films
- Kevin McCarthy Films
- Mid-Life Crisis
- Play Adaptations
Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer-prize-winning 1949 play has been produced on stage and for television many times (most notably with Dustin Hoffman in 1985), but only once for the big screen. Although the powerful material itself almost defies negative treatment, this early cinematic version by director Laszlo Benedek remains successful on its own merits. Benedek makes effective use of sparse sets and dramatic lighting to showcase Loman’s delusional despair, and directs a powerhouse team of actors (most of whom were part of the original Broadway cast; March is a notable exception). Especially poignant is Kevin McCarthy as Biff Loman; he perfectly captures both the teenage Biff’s naive idolatry of his father (in Willy’s flashbacks), and his adult resignation.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Fredric March as the delusional, aging salesman
- Kevin McCarthy as “Biff” Loman
- Mildred Dunnock as Willy’s long-suffering wife
Yes. This first and only cinematic version of Arthur Miller’s acclaimed play deserves wider viewing.
- Noteworthy Performance(s)
- Oscar Winner or Nominee