Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Commentaries on this Media!

Salesman and the observational mode

by Kate Fortmueller

In Salesman, David and Albert Maysles follow a group of Bible salesman around the country, concluding with sales in Florida. In this sequence Paul "The Badger" tries to make a sale to a young family (one of whom is a vacuum salesman). As is the case throughout the film, this conversation does not result in a sale.

Salesman was noted for its look at struggling American workers and families. The Maysles attempt to be as unobtrusive as possible in their filmmaking. Consider the presence of the camera in this clip. How does it shape your understanding of the emotions of each person? How would you contrast this clip with the style of the opening sequence?

Salesman (1968) - A failed sale

In this sequence one of the Bible salesmen meets a vacuum salesman.

from Salesman (1968)
Creator: David and Albert Maysles
Posted by Kate Fortmueller