The cast of the screen version almost completely mirrored the 1984 Broadway revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama. Hoffman led the cast in the title role of Willy Loman, Malkovich played one of the Loman boys (Biff), Stephen Lang played the other (Happy) and Kate Reid reprised her role as matriarch Linda. Charles Durning replaced David Huddleston as Charley for the TV movie.
Original cast members Louis Zorich (Uncle Ben), David Chandler (Bernard), Patricia Fay (Secretary), Linda Kozlowski (Miss Forsythe), Karen Needle (Letta), Jon Polito (Howard Wagner), Michael Quinlan (Waiter), Kathy Rossetter (Woman from Boston) and Tom Signorelli (Stanley) also joined the film's ensemble.
The DVD, which clocks in at 135 minutes, includes a special documentary "Private Conversations" which chronicles the production's journey from page to stage to television. The 82-minute documentary focuses on the collaboration between playwright Arthur Miller, actor Hoffman and director Volker Schlondorff. The disc also includes a still gallery in its special features section.
Image Entertainment will also release two other stage-to-television productions in the coming months. Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie was adapted for TV in 1973 starring Katharine Hepburn, Sam Waterston, Joanna Miles and Michael Moriarty. The DVD is set for a Feb. 11 release. The live PBS broadcast of the 2000 Broadway revival of Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's The Man Who Came to Dinner starring Nathan Lane and Jean Smart is scheduled to be released March 18.
The Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman played at the Broadhurst Theatre for a total of 9 previews and 97 performances before closing July 1, 1984. The production, helmed by Michael Rudman, won the Tony Award for Best Revival (called Reproduction at the time) following the lead of the original 1949 staging which also won awards for its author Miller and director Elia Kazan. The "Death of a Salesman" DVD is currently available for pre-order at various online retailers.