Jack Lemon as Shelley Levine
Al Pacino as Ricky Roma
Ed Harris as Dave Moss
Alan Arkin as George Aaronow
Kevin Spacey as John Williamson
Alec Baldwin as Blake
Jonathan Pryce as James Lingk
2 Screen-specific audio commentaries
3 Featurettes including Magic Time, A Tribute to Jack Lemmon; ABC, Always Be Closing
Disc One: 2.35:1 letterbox version with two layer anamorphic enhancement
Disc Two: 4:3 full-frame reformatted version.
Dolby Digital 5.1 for both, DTS for widescreen.
Dolby Surround 2.0 tracks, French dub
English and Spanish subtitles, English Closed Captioning
Based on the play by David Mamet, “Glengarry Glen Ross” is a story set in a high-pressure office of real estate salesman. The salesmen are slacking and the word has come down: sell or be fired. The Glengarry “leads” have come in, premium numbers of people to sell to, and the salesmen must show they are worthy of getting them by selling to names on their old, washed up leads. The men (the washed up legend, the super salesman, the quiet, neurotic one, and the fiery plotter) complain, scramble, and scheme to get themselves out of the mess they are each in. The story comes to a head when someone breaks into the office and steals the precious Glengarry leads.
“Glengarry Glen Ross” is rated R for very strong language.
Over the past few years, when friends of mine would detail the DVDs they wish would get released, this film would come up nine times out of ten. And now it’s here. Like Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street,” this is a movie for men who like to see gladiators doing battle in a real life setting. In this film, it’s a real estate office. The film is sharp, tough, and boisterous and it whips you through its running time, weaving you into the strange world of real estate sales and then leaves you pondering the morality of the characters, of the men, you have met. Based on David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, it is a dialogue-fest that showcases one of the finest casts ever assembled.
The story is about selling: to unknowing buyers, to your friends, to your colleagues, to yourself. And it is often a fake sale. Shelley Levine is trying to sell the office and himself that he can still cut it. Ricky Roma sells dreams to people, makes them come alive with his soft voice and gutsy worldview. Dave Moss tries to sell everyone around him on something new, a different path, tries selling George on stealing the leads and leaving the firm. The film shows you that salesman are born, not made, and they never stop selling, even when they leave the office.
What’s great about “Glengarry Glen Ross” is that you’re put in an environment that doesn’t seem to too ripe for a riveting story. But that’s the genius of Mamet: he makes these men come alive and makes their issues — money, competition, success – universal, as we can all relate to the struggles relating to those concepts. Mamet, with help from director James Foley and the top-notch cast, create an engaging, funny, and powerful story that has been imitated (Boiler Room for one) but never been surpassed.
Missing are both of the feature-length audio commentary tracks originally produced for the laserdisc, the first of which was from director James Foley and the second from Jack Lemmon. We get a selected-scenes audio commentary by James Foley and he only talks for about a half hour. Following this is a 30-minute video featurette called “Magic Time: A Tribute to Jack Lemmon” that suffers a bit as we’re talking about a great actor and this is a less than great tribute. Lemmon’s son, actor Peter Gallagher and a few other actors who worked with Lemmon talk about his career. Disc Two includes another 30-minute featurette: “ABC – Always Be Closing” has comparisons between the reality of real estate sales and how that was transferred to the screen. Cinematographer Juan Ruiz Anchia, production designer Jane Mursky, and actors Alec Baldwin and Alan Arkin contribute about 20 minutes each of bonus audio commentary with seamless scene jumps. They are contained on Disc Two so that’s only on the fullscreen version. Anchia’s talk is pretty flat and Arkin is as well. In contrast, Baldwin talks eagerly about his scene and also the movie as a whole and Mursky gives some insight into the movie-making process. Two Clip Archives are also available. From The Charlie Rose Show, a ten minutes talk with Jack Lemmon about this movie. And a great 2-minute clip from Inside the Actors Studio with Kevin Spacey, as one eager fan corners him into revisiting one of his character’s scenes.
The Bottom Line:
This is truly great film. A testament to what the wonderful drama, the wonderful movie-watching experience, that can be created with just a script, a camera, and a couple guys in a room. It’s a must buy. A rare film that crackles and pops.