Watch Arthur Miller: Writer - Mike Nichols Interview
- 1 hr 21 min
Arthur Miller: Writer is a 2017 documentary directed by filmmaker and playwright Rebecca Miller, in tribute to her father, the legendary American playwright Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge). The film explores Miller's life, work, and legacy through interviews with his family members, including Rebecca, his sister Joan Copeland, and his third wife Inge Morath, as well as his friends and colleagues, such as actor Tony Kushner and director Mike Nichols. In particular, the documentary focuses on Miller's role as a social and political commentator, and how his plays reflected and challenged the cultural and ideological currents of his time, from the Great Depression and World War II to the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement. It also addresses Miller's personal struggles and relationships, including his marriages to his first wife Mary Slattery and his second wife Marilyn Monroe, and his passionate commitment to justice and truth. One of the most intriguing segments of the film is an exclusive interview with Mike Nichols, who directed the original Broadway production of Miller's play Death of a Salesman in 1984, starring Dustin Hoffman as Willy Loman. Nichols, who passed away in 2014, shares his insights and memories of working with Miller, whom he describes as "one of the great writers of the 20th century." Nichols recalls the challenges and rewards of staging the play, which he calls a "work of art," as well as the remarkable performances of the cast, including Hoffman, who he claims was "born to play Willy Loman." The interview with Nichols provides a rare glimpse into the creative process of two titans of American theatre, as well as their shared vision of the tragic and heroic in human life. Nichols admires Miller's ability to "show you how people are with each other," and to capture the "great, fragile human emotions" that define our existence. He also praises Miller's wit and humor, which he says often go unnoticed in his plays, but which reveal his humanity and his sense of irony. Another highlight of the film is the stunning archival footage of Miller's plays, including the famous scene from The Crucible where John Proctor (played by Daniel Day-Lewis) confronts the court with his moral integrity, and the emotional finale of A View from the Bridge, where Eddie Carbone (played by Michael Gambon) faces his final reckoning. The clips demonstrate Miller's mastery of dialogue, character, and plot, as well as his gift for conveying complex themes and ideas in accessible and profound ways. In addition to the interviews and the archival footage, the documentary also features personal photographs and home movies of Miller and his family, which reveal his private side and his affection for his loved ones. We see Miller playing with his children and petting his cat, as well as enjoying his second honeymoon with Monroe in Mexico. These intimate glimpses help to humanize Miller and to show us the man behind the mask of the public figure. Overall, Arthur Miller: Writer is a lyrical and insightful tribute to one of America's greatest playwrights, and a must-see for anyone interested in theatre, literature, or cultural history. The film celebrates Miller's courage, compassion, and vision, and reminds us of the power of art to illuminate and transform our world.