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Times are tough at Premiere Properties. Veteran real estate salesmen Dave Moss (Ed Harris), George Aaronow (Alan Arkin) and Shelly "The Machine" Levene (Jack Lemmon) haven't made a sale in sometime. Only super-slick Ricky Roma (Al Pacino) is riding a hot streak, but even he is frustrated with office lackey John (Kevin Spacey), who's holding back the hot Glengarry leads until the laggers can prove they are "closers". A motivational speech from a hot-headed company man (Alec Baldwin) only heightens their stress, and when the Glengarry leads go missing, fingers begin pointing and tempers flare.

Review by Shannon J. Harvey:
"You stupid fucking cunt," Al Pacino yells at Kevin Spacey. "I'm talking to you, shithead! Whoever told you you could work with men?" Welcome to Glengarry Glen Ross, David Mamet's venomous Pulitzer Prize winning 1984 play as transformed into this spitfire 1992 cinematic version. Intelligent, talky, caustic, set almost entirely in a one-room real estate office over 24 hours, and filled with verbal pyrotechnics between the world's most respected actors. In short, it's every film buff's wet dream and every actor's touchstone. Witness Pacino's hot-shot snake-oil salesman who gets himself in
hot water. Jack Lemmon's withering old timer who can only relive his glory days. They are the head and heart of the film respectively. Then there's Alec Baldwin in his brief but best performance ever as the heartless company exec who yells at them, "close the deal or hit the bricks, pal!" Don't forget Kevin Spacey as the office tight-ass who proves even he has some fight. Or Alan Arkin and Ed Harris as disillusioned salesmen. Or Jonathan Pryce as one of their gullible targets. Am I raving?

Yes, I am, but Glengarry Glen Ross is not just about performances. It's about the dark heart of man; his inherent greed, his drive for success, his heartlessness and the way he preys on others to fulfil his desires. It's also about the average working schlub, as seen in Lemmon's character, who puts in 40 hard years for nothing more than a gold watch. His character might be parodied hilariously by The Simpson's no-good salesman Gil, but he's still a heartbreaking character who will bring tears to your eyes.

As might this disappointing DVD release from MRA. Only cast bios and the trailer (featuring Baldwin's cruelly electric speech) are included with the 100 minute film, which comes in the basic PAL 4:3 and two channel sound. That's excruciating considering the possibility of commentaries or interviews with the likes of Pacino, Mamet and Spacey, or retrospectives on Lemmon. For true fans I suggest the Region 1 DVD, which has scene-specific commentaries by cast and crew, two half-hour documentaries about Lemmon and the art of the sale, respectively.

But, of course, it's the film that's most important, and Glengarry Glen Ross is infinitely watchable for its acting and dialogue, which has such a rhythm and flair that scenes can be played and replayed; Baldwin's speech; Pacino's tirade on Spacey; Lemmon's recollection of former conquests; Harris's bittersweet phone call in the rain. Such scenes prove that Mamet, director James Foley and their brilliant cast have made an unforgettable black comedy that stings so hard it burns.

Published October 16, 2003

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(US) - 1992

CAST: Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Jack Lemmon, Jonathan Pryce, Kevin Spacey.

DIRECTOR: James Foley

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

PRESENTATION: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo; Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Fullscreen; Transfer Format: 4:3

SPECIAL FEATURES: Cast bios; trailer.


DVD RELEASE: August 14, 2003

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