Death of a Salesman (1966 CBS TV film)

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Death of a Salesman
Death of a Salesman.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Alex Segal
Produced by Daniel Melnick and David Susskind
Screenplay by Arthur Miller
Story by Arthur Miller (playwright)
Starring Lee J. Cobb
Mildred Dunnock
James Farentino
George Segal
Music by Robert Drasnin
Production
company
Release dates
  • May 8, 1966 (1966-05-08)
Running time 100 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Death of a Salesman is a 1966 television film adapted from the play of the same name by Arthur Miller. It was directed by Alex Segal and adapted for television by Miller. It received numerous nominations for awards, and won several of them, including three Primetime Emmy Awards, a Directors Guild of America Award and a Peabody Award. It was nominated in a total of 11 Emmy categories at the 19th Primetime Emmy Awards in 1967. Lee J. Cobb reprised his role as Willy Loman and Mildred Dunnock reprised her role as Linda Loman from the original 1949 stage production.

Playbill markets this version of the play as an "abbreviated" one.[1] Although the performance is abridged, it was adapted for television by Miller himself, meaning that not much substance was lost in the changes.[2] The production was filmed after several weeks of rehearsals.[3]

It was a 1966 CBS television adaptation,[4] which included Gene Wilder, James Farentino, Bernie Kopell and George Segal. Cobb was nominated for an Emmy Award for the performance. Mildred Dunnock, who had co-starred in both the original stage version and the 1951 film version, again repeated her role as Linda, Willy's devoted wife, and earned an Emmy nomination. In addition to being Emmy-nominated, Cobb and Dunnock were Grammy Award-nominated at the 9th Grammy Awards in 1967 in the category of Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama Recording. This movie is one of several adaptations of the play and was contemporaneous with a May 1966 BBC version starring Rod Steiger and produced by Alan Cooke.[5][6]

The production marked the acclaimed reunion of the leading actor and actress from the original 1949 broadway cast.[1][2] The performance also marks a strong dramatic turn for George Segal who is known for his comic work, while a young Gene Wilder presents a comic but sensitive performance as Bernard.[2]

Cast[edit]

Main Cast
Supporting Cast

Reception[edit]

In general, critics spoke well of the Xerox-sponsored CBS adaptation[7][8] The day after it aired Jack Gould praised it in The New York Times with a column that began "An evening of exalted theater came to television last night in a revelation of Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman' that will stand as the supreme understanding of the tragedy of Willy Loman."[9] Joan Crosby of The Pittsburgh Press praised all members of the Loman family for their performances and described the performance as "An evening of high drama, not to be missed".[10] United Press International critic Rick Du Brow noted that the first television adaptation earned a place in history: "it promptly took its place among the most unforgettable productions in the history of the video medium."[11] Du Brow praise Cobb's performance as great, Dunnock as a "bastion of strength decency and human understanding," Segal as "superb" and Farentino as "outstanding".[11] Associated Press correspondent Cynthia Lowry described the show as a powerful depiction of "tense, sometimes painful drama" told mostly by flashbacks from happier times.[12] Lowry described Cobb's distraught performance as "overwhelming", Dunnock's portrayal of the "loving, patient and blindly loyal wife" equally powerful and the performances of both sons as sensitive.[12]

Segal won Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Television Film and the Emmy Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Drama at the 19th Primetime Emmy Awards in 1967. Producers Susskind and Melnick also won the Emmy for Outstanding Dramatic Program. Meanwhile, Miller won the Emmy for Special Classifications of Individual Achievements as the adaptor. Cobb and Dunnock were Emmy-nominated for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama and Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Drama, respectively.

The production earned two Emmy nominations in Individual Achievements in Art Direction and Allied Crafts classifications and four in Individual Achievements in Electronic Production classifications. Du Brow noted that the camera work made the transitions between Willy's temporal wanderings smooth and that the color use was also essential to the mood of the scenes.[11]

Awards[edit]

1966 Directors Guild of America Award[13]

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Television

Alex Segal Won
James B. Clark (associate director) (plaque)
1967 (19th) Emmy Awards[14]

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Drama

Alex Segal Won

Outstanding Dramatic Program

David Susskind (producer) Won
Daniel Melnick (producer) Won

Special Classifications of Individual Achievements

Arthur Miller (adapter) Won

Individual Achievements in Art Direction and Allied Crafts - Art Direction

Tom H. John (art director)

Individual Achievements in Art Direction and Allied Crafts - Art Direction

Earl Carlson (set decorator)

Individual Achievements in Electronic Production - Electronic Cameramen

Fred Gough (cameraman)
Robert Dunn (cameraman)
Jack Jennings (cameraman)
Richard Nelson (cameraman)
Gorm Erickson (cameraman)

Individual Achievements in Electronic Production - Lighting Directors

Leard Davis (lighting director)

Individual Achievements in Electronic Production - Technical Directors

A.J. Cunningham (technical director)

Individual Achievements in Electronic Production - Video Tape Editing

James E. Brady (video tape editor)

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama

Lee J. Cobb

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Drama

Mildred Dunnock
1966 Peabody Awards[15]

Personal Award

Tom H. John Won - (Also for Color Me Barbra and The Strolin' Twenties)
1967 (9th) Grammy Awards[16]

Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama Recording

Lee J. Cobb
Mildred Dunnock

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Death of a Salesman starring Lee J. Cobb and Mildred Dunnock DVD". Playbill. Retrieved 2012-09-17. 
  2. ^ a b c "Death of a Salesman (1966)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
  3. ^ Lowry, Cynthia. "'Death of a Salesman' makes Sunday a Night to Anticipate". The Victoria Advocate. Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  4. ^ Drew, Michael H. (1966-12-04). "TV Tackles Tennessee". Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
  5. ^ Baxter, Brian (2002-07-10). "Rod Steiger". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
  6. ^ "Death of a Salesman". AbeBooks Inc. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
  7. ^ Du Brow, Rick (1966-12-09). "Television in Review". The Washington Reporter. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  8. ^ Drew, Michael H. (1966-12-04). "TV Tackles Tennessee". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  9. ^ Gould, Jack (1966-05-09). "TV: 'Death of a Salesman'; New Interpretation Tops Stage Version-- Miss Dunnock and Cobb Repeat Roles". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  10. ^ Crosby, Joan (1967-04-02). "Television Scout: Cobb Soars as 'Salesman' in Miller Drama". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  11. ^ a b c Du Brow, Rick (1966-05-09). "'Death of a Salesman' is Great TV Hit As Expected". Williamson Daily News. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  12. ^ a b Lowry, Cynthia (1966-05-08). "TV Adapts 'Death of a Salesman'". The Miami News. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  13. ^ "19th Annual DGA Awards". DGA.org. Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  14. ^ "Death of a Salesman". Emmys.com. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  15. ^ "Winners 1960's". Peabody.UGA.edu. Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  16. ^ "Grammy Awards 1967". Awardsandshows.com. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 

External links[edit]