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MoMA

FILM SCREENINGS

<i>Death of a Salesman.</i> 1951. USA. Directed by László Benedek. Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art Film Stills Archive
  • Death of a Salesman

    1951. USA. László Benedek. 115 min.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 7:00 p.m.

Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2



  • Death of a Salesman

    1951. USA. Directed by László Benedek. Screenplay by Stanley Roberts, based on the play by Arthur Miller. With Fredric March, Mildred Dunnock, Kevin McCarthy, Cameron Mitchell. Transposing Miller’s play from stage to screen might have been a literal-minded undertaking, but Stanley Kramer, the independent Hollywood producer-director known for his fierce dedication to social causes, gave Death of a Salesman its proper cinematic due by enlisting major talents both behind and in front of the camera. With director Benedek, he cast several actors from the original Broadway and London productions, including Dunnock, Mitchell, and McCarthy, and gave March the coveted role of Willy Loman. Cinematographer Franz Planer and production designer Rudolph Sternad used expressionist lighting and design to chart Loman’s dark, anguished passage, and composer Alex North received an Academy Award nomination for his plaintive score, the same year he was also nominated for A Streetcar Named Desire. Controversy, however, was inevitable, as the House Un-American Activities Committee relentlessly questioned Miller’s patriotic loyalties and anti-Communist protestors demonstrated outside the film’s New York premiere. Though Miller himself spoke out against some of the liberties taken with his play, the film received favorable press reviews. A vivid record of 1950s filmmaking, acting, and politics, Death of a Salesman has been out of circulation for years, but returns in superlative form thanks to the restoration work of Grover Crisp, Executive Vice President of Asset Management, Film Restoration & Digital Mastering, Sony Pictures Entertainment, with funding provided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation. 115 min.