Film: 3958

Industry + Work | 1970 | Sound | Colour


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A sales techniques film, features John Alderton and Richard O'Sullivan.

A man ( Salesman 1 or salesman) sits at a table in his living room, he is dressed in jacket and tie, composing a suicide note to his mother, the reason for suicide being another salesman coming into his life. Another smartly dressed man in a modern office environment, straightens tie and looks at watch ( Mr Goodsell or Mr G). salesman in an office attempts to sell electronic calculator to man seated at desk who is unimpressed, returns his calculator and shows him the door. Mr G still waits in office, door opens, salesman emerges with calculator, Mr G enters and is greeted warmly by man at desk, Mr G is carrying identical calculator , man at desk asks salesman to shut door. salesman holds head in despair (tone is humorous throughout). Mr G emerges from door with man previously at desk, they have obviously had a fruitful meeting and exchange warm farewells, Mr G glances mockingly at salesman and exits, man at desk says goodbye to salesman and shuts door.

Another shot of salesman still composing suicide note. salesman seated in home with a man and a woman, he is attempting to sell them an insurance policy in a roll of paper, the couple turn around to see Mr G outside the window waving a similar policy paper at them. Close up of Mr G waving policy paper. salesman looks frustrated. The couple ignore salesman and look at Mr G outside the window. salesman gives up speaking and sits back in chair, head in hands. Couple shake hands with Mr G after having bought insurance policy, salesman stands outside window looking in . Kitchen, salesman is trying to sell washing machine to a woman who is unimpressed and walks towards another similar machine which she prefers, she moves to a table where Mr G is seated eating apple pie.

salesman in his home climbs onto a chair and puts his head in noose hanging from ceiling and then removes his head, he is carrying a pistol. A bottle marked 'poison' also hangs from the ceiling tied by string. salesman checks positioning of gun, ropes and poison bottle. He reaches for a piece of rope and wobbles on his chair. Close up of head and shoulders wobbling. He falls from the chair to the floor. The hand holding the pistol is caught in rope. Pistol fires and shatters bottle of poison. salesman hits floor and noose, burned by poison, falls to floor by his side, he admits failure. Mr G walking by painted backdrop of street, he is crossing off sales with a pen in a notebook, he cries in pain. He falls to the pavement, some men rush to help him, one says he is a doctor and bends over him. Doctor checks Mr G's head and eyes which are blank. The doctor turns to another man and pronounces death. The passers-by remove their hats in respect. One of them asks what he died of, doctor replies, " overdose of apple pie".

salesman again in his house, standing on chair with head in noose, poison etc hanging from ropes. He cocks pistol, closes eyes and puts it to his head. He hears a voice saying "stop" and pauses. He looks around , the voice exhorts him to stop, he disagrees. He raises the gun once more to his head but it and his suicide equipment disappear, the ghost of Mr G appears, transparent in a white suit, salesman jumps from the chair and tries to strangle the ghost but his hands pass through him. Ghost and salesman talk, disagree and ghost begins to disappear. salesman asks ghost to reappear. Ghost reappears, salesman asks about sales tactics and why he failed, ghost becomes 'solid', they talk sales.

Hospital ward, Mr G in role of surgeon in smart suit, salesman as doctor in white coat, the insurance couple as nurse and patient in bed, Mr G very confident. Cockpit of airliner, Mr G as pilot allaying worries of nervous passenger seated next to him, salesman in flight uniform stands and looks on. salesman and ghost in salesman's living room discuss confidence. Flashback to salesman selling calculator. salesman again selling insurance to couple. salesman again demonstrating washing machine to woman. Plane cockpit scene again, salesman and Mr G sit talking again in uniform, air hostess enters, salesman leaves cockpit. Cabin of airliner, woman passenger obviously nervous, salesman approaches and speaks to her. Woman looks frightened. salesman and woman talk. Woman looks more frightened. She rises from her seat, salesman restrains her and his cap falls off. salesman re-enters cockpit and discusses with Mr G. Man in hospital bed, looks worried. salesman in guise of surgeon talks to man about his operation in off hand manner. Close up of patient. salesman talks. Patient, worried. Patient and salesman talk. Close up of salesman. Patient looks more worried and hides head under bed sheets.

Circus, salesman standing on high platform with woman in high wire act, both in circus costume, discuss swinging on ropes, woman looks worried. salesman swings off on his swing, woman starts to cry. Mr G dressed as ring master addresses woman. She replies, worried. Mr G tries to reassure her. She replies. Back to salesman in living room with ghost, they talk. Close up of ghost. Brief flashback to calculator scene. Reprise of doctor and patient scene. Another brief flash to washing machine scene. Flashback to nervous passenger scene. Flash to insurance scene. Flash to high wire scene. salesman and ghost glancing up as if having watched the flashbacks. High wire woman, moaning. salesman and ghost look at each other. salesman with look of 'realisation' on his face. Ghost talks about salesman's sales technique. Close up of salesman. Ghost taps salesman on arm and they move off. They move towards a hospital bed in the living room, salesman lies on bed, ghost sits on side and talks. Close up of ghost talking. Close up of salesman replying. Ghost talks. salesman talks. Ghost nods. salesman replies. Ghost gets up from bed. salesman talks. Ghost replies in 'bedside' manner. salesman replies. Close up of ghost. salesman realises point ghost is making about sales. Ghost nods. salesman talks. Ghost leans down and shouts, " got it!" salesman laughs.

Ghost turns round and blows, man at desk seen earlier miraculously appears in living room, salesman leaps off bed and approaches desk. salesman sits at desk and talks with man. Close up of man. Salesman chats with man. Man. salesman. Man. salesman. Close up of salesman. Close up of man. salesman still talking. Man replies. salesman nods. Man. salesman. Man makes point with finger. salesman frowns, gets up and walks away. Ghost admonishes salesman who looks concerned, ghost blows again. Man at desk disappears and couple on settee (the insurance customers from earlier) appear. Ghost nods towards them and salesman moves away. salesman moves towards couple and sits in arm chair next to them and begins talking. Close up of salesman asking question. Man in close up replies. salesman talks to couple. Man replies and continues to talk. salesman listens but glances at woman's bare legs which loom large in foreground. Close up of woman's crossed legs in short skirt. Woman glances disapprovingly towards salesman. She pulls her skirt down a little. Close up of salesman staring at legs. The man is still talking insurance, he asks salesman a question, salesman replies but then realises he has not been listening. The man sits back on the settee in frustration. Ghost shakes his head at salesman and hands him his pistol, salesman looks forlorn. salesman hands the pistol back to the ghost who whistles and the housewife seen earlier appears from thin air, she is ironing at an ironing board, salesman approaches her and begins to talk. Close up of salesman. Close up of woman talking. salesman listens. Woman continues. They continue to talk while she irons. Close up of salesman talking. Woman laughs. Woman and ironing board disappear, ghost appears with pistol in hand and pats salesman on the back, salesman motions for pistol to be moved. salesman talks. Ghost responds. salesman and ghost talk. Ghost blows and disappears, ironing woman reappears and she and salesman resume conversation. Woman speaks, disagreeing with salesman re washing machine. She waves her hand and disappears, ghost reappears and talks to salesman. Close up of ghost talking. salesman talks. Ghost replies. salesman speaks. Ghost speaks. salesman listens. Ghost speaks. salesman replies but shakes his head. Flash to calculator scene.

Ghost and salesman walk to corner of room, ghost sits in swivel chair, salesman pours a drink into glass from drinks on shelf and walks towards ghost who whistles and glass turns into calculator, they talk about salesman poor sales technique. Close up of salesman talking. Ghost nods. Ghost blows, calculator turns into insurance policy paper. salesman speaks. Ghost speaks, looks pleased. Ghost blows and insurance paper disappears. Washing machine appears in different part of room and salesman and ghost discuss. salesman and woman in kitchen discussing the washing machine, she now looks interested. Back to ghost and salesman in living room who talk, ghost whistles and car windscreen wiper appears in salesman's hand who plays with it. Close up of salesman making wiping motion and talking. Ghost and salesman discuss sales methods, ghost blows, wiper disappears and desk light appears on TV set which they discuss. Close up of salesman. Close up of ghost. Ghost blows and light disappears. Close up of ghost blowing.

A mk 3 Ford Cortina appears in salesman's living room, salesman stands and ghost (still seated) discuss. Ghost blows again. Washing machine reappears. Close up of ghost talking. Ghost talks as salesman listens in mock despair, ghost blows and salesman's drink returns, he blows again and it disappears, salesman complains. salesman walks towards washing machine where woman is standing, he explains its benefits but she is still unimpressed. salesman turns around to ghost in despair. Ghost and salesman discuss. Ghost talks. Ghost whistles and instamatic camera appears on his chair, he gets up and takes photo of salesman, walks towards him and hands him picture, salesman looks admiringly at picture, ghost throws camera across room. Close up of camera on a black background. Elderly man talks of merits of camera and walks away, woman talks of merits of camera for family, man in hat and dirty mac talks of merits of camera for pornography! salesman and ghost discuss.

Man at desk (seen earlier) punches at calculator. salesman and ghost discuss. salesman and man at desk, salesman talks re calculator . Man looks impressed. salesman and ghost discuss. Insurance couple seated at sofa. Ghost and salesman discuss them. salesman in armchair talking to man. Man replies. salesman talks some more. Insurance couple look impressed. salesman and ghost stand by washing machine talking, ghost blows. Woman at ironing board reappears, ghost walks away, salesman approaches her. Close up of woman. salesman talks to her as she irons. Close up of salesman. Woman replies. salesman talks as she folds sheets. Close up of salesman. Woman talks. salesman replies. salesman talks as she fold sheets. Woman talks. salesman walks towards washing machine. Close up of salesman. salesman and woman discuss machine. Woman talks. Close up of salesman. Close up of woman. Woman and machine disappear, salesman rubs hands and walks away looking pleased. salesman walks towards ghost and shakes his hand. Ghost talks. salesman and ghost talk. Ghost congratulates salesman. Ghost (transparent once more) disappears as salesman watches. Close up of salesman. Ghost reappears, talks and quickly disappears. salesman looks pleased.

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