The Salesmen documentary gives the story of four Bible salesmen who move door to door to make a sale. Each of these salesmen had nicknames that fit their personalities and sales methods. For example, James Baker “The Rabbit” is a smooth talker. His calm conversation helps him close deals with lonely housewives. The other salesman is Charles McDevitt, “The Gipper,” together with Raymond Martos, “The Bull,” who uses aggressive sales tactics to close deals (Tyree p. 12). And finally, Paul Brennan, “The Badger,” who does not take a rest when it is time to sell.
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On the other hand, the success of the globe narrows down to the portrayal of Fred Armisen as Tom O’Halloran. Just like salesmen, the globesman documentary characters also had nicknames; for example, Pete Reynold’s nickname is “The Scrod,” Bob Campbell, “The Lummox,” and Mike Stankowicz are the same. However, the globesman focuses on O’Halloran just like Salesmen followed Paul Brennan.
Watching globesman helps the reader appreciate the salesmen’s documentary, especially on the use of nicknames by the characters and how O’Halloran and Brennan are down on their luck. In most instances, the two are caught up in the competition of unprofessional jobs. The Globesman creates complex characters with an emotional story where Armisen gave a funny performance and sometimes shouted he would have become a fireman like his dad (Rosenthal, p. 21). The globesman changes a few things to make it more enjoyable and comic. A good example is when globe salesmen compete with atlas salesmen. Another comical case is when Reynold sells a globe to a barely breathing old lady, and when she completes signing the check, she nods off.
The character that is more relatable is O’Halloran, who is described as a proud man with themes of masculinity. He does not make sales and expects to be the master Globesman. He is easily carried away by his friends, who peer pressure him into drinking and passes out. O’Halloran wants to be like his colleagues, but he hinges his self-worth on making sales. When he made his first sale, and his ambition of being a master globesman became more realistic. However, he never knew that Reynold paid someone to buy from him. This character is more relatable because, in a squad of salesmen, there is always one person who has pride and hinges on his self-worth. In most cases, this person has high dreams, but he does not make a sale.
The two films are making quite a different argument as much as making sales is concerned. The way children wave in and out of the frame as globesman makes globesman naturalistic and realistic. To add to naturalistic of this film, the globesman paints the 1960s environment. Globesman uses a more sense of humor to make the documentary enjoyable (Upadhyaya, p. 3). On the other hand, salesmen are more associated with controversy between the salesmen. The bitter rivalry between the four salesmen who move door to door makes the documentary interesting. Their aggressiveness in making a sale is another argument captured in the documentary. This groundbreaking documentary, which revolutionized factual storytelling with its non-judgmental, observational manner, is one of the most penetrating documentaries ever made on how deeply consumerism is rooted in America’s sense of its values.
Globesman is a pastiche of salesmen with its narrative arc. The globesman story gives a story of O’Halloran’s pride and how he does not make sales unless helped by his colleague (Upadhyaya, p. 7). According to O’Halloran, he thinks he can be a good fireman because he is good at finding smoke. All kids in this documentary are funny, specifically Bermuba boy.
Rosenthal, Alan. The New Documentary In Action: A Casebook In Film Making. Univ of California Press, 1972.
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Tyree, Joshua M. Salesman. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019.
Upadhyaya, Kayla K. With “Globesman,” Documentary Now! Is equal parts gloomy and hilarious, 2016.