• James Rutherford

'Glengarry Glen Ross': David Mamet's Ferocious and Dynamic Tale of Desperate Salesmen at Wit's End


Movie poster for the film Glengarry Glen Ross starring Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon and Ed Harris

"Glengarry Glen Ross" (1992) is a ferocious and dynamic adaptation of David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize–winning stage play, about a cadre of real estate salesmen desperate to sell parcels of land ("Glengarry Highlands" and "Glen Ross Farms") in order to salvage their careers and stave off termination.


The four key players in this Chicago-based showpiece are George Aaronow (Alan Arkin), Dave Moss (Ed Harris), Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon) and Ricky Roma (Al Pacino)—all veteran sales professionals who resort to manipulation, chicanery and outright thievery at every possible turn. Enter Alec Bladwin as Blake, a corporate heavyweight who chastises the group for their meager numbers while fiercely challenging them to win the monthly sales contest or lose their jobs altogether. He dangles the highly-valued "Glengarry leads", placed in the care of office manager John Williamson (Kevin Spacey), and lights the way for a terse tale of subterfuge and recrimination.


Directed by James Foley ("At Close Range", "After Dark, My Sweet"), it's a supremely engaging and darkly comical escapade, highlighted by the full ensemble's delivery of Mamet's famous "Mamet Speak" dialogue with gusto and panache. Foley adds a heady air of intrigue and tension to the proceedings, imbuing the storyline with a dire sense of immediacy and desperation. Punchy, exhilarating and remarkably profane, it's a grade-A stage-to-film adaptation from some of the very best in the business.

 

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