David Mamet‘s 1992 drama GlengarryGlen Ross is about the everyday life of a group of real estate salespeople and politics in the small office from which they conduct their sales talks. The cast of the ensemble includes big screen stars such as Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, and Alan Arkin. With a cast of actors like this and a master filmmaker like Mamet directing the show, you are guaranteed an excellent film. And that’s exactly what it is GlengarryGlen Ross is.
But if you ask people what they remember most about the film, with all due respect to the above legends, most will likely relate to three letters; A, B, and C. An acronym for “Always Be Closing.” While the jury debated how the scene would be received in today’s workplace, the Always Be Closing tirade delivered Alec Baldwin is one of the most epic one-take monologues in modern cinema history. Over the past 30 years, it has taken on a life of its own and become a staple in sales circles and American pop culture.
An epic takedown
In a scene that has become synonymous with the cutthroat, ruthless nature of real estate sales, Alec Baldwin’s “Always Be Closing” motivational dress of the underperforming employees in Premiere Properties’ office remains one of the greatest individual shots of all time. Baldwin’s nightmarish turn of events as a corporate employee that started a fire among the lackluster group probably turned thousands of young job seekers off the job in the early to mid-’90s, and brought awkward flashbacks to anyone who’s ever worked in a sales capacity. The insistent invective and unbridled ferocity with which he addresses the seasoned salespeople is a thing to behold. It’s an attempt at intimidation you might reserve for a drill sergeant and a group of young military recruits, not veteran sales pros.
“Turn off the coffee!” Baldwin’s character, known only as “Blake,” barks at an astonished Shelley Levene (jack lemmon), “Coffee is for turnkeys only!” he explains at the beginning of a seven-minute one-take that is similar to that of a teacher having a bad day and taking it out on his students. But in this case, the “students” are adult, experienced salespeople. On a “mission of mercy” by the company’s putative but unseen owners, “Mitch and Murray,” the cameo eight years earlier was not in Mamet’s original Tony Award-winning play, but was made into the film at New’s request inserted Line Cinema because “they wanted something to get the movie going, like an explosion or something,” he recalled John C McGinley, who played David Moss in a 2012 Broadway revival. Baldwin’s Blake certainly accomplished this, as the diatribe is the film’s most memorable scene and has been used in pop culture parlance ever since.
Adding to Baldwin’s terrifying alpha delivery, the scene becomes even more menacing as Mamet injects a heavy dose of noir elements into the scene’s framing. Thunderclaps can be heard in the distance outside, while lightning flashes through the night and between the cheap blinds. David Moss (Ed Harris) is the only one who can muster the courage to challenge the hired gun, only to be humiliated when Blake takes the Rolex watch off his wrist, places it firmly on Moss’ desk and claims it is Worth more than Moss makes in a year. Shadows of trickling raindrops fall across Blake’s face as he continues to mercilessly taunt the group. Baldwin owns the screen and announces that first prize for most sales is a Cadillac El Dorado, second prize is “a set of steak knives,” and third prize is “You’re Fired!”
Blake ends the lecture with a final and appropriate taunt as he keeps the new batch of Glengarry sales contacts wrapped in a neat little bow like a gift, only to hand it over to the office manager and tell the beleaguered salespeople they don’t want the gift earn . Leaving them to this gang of misfits would be a waste of good leads. As Blake finishes his speech, the men sit in stunned silence like children after their parents ground them for violating curfew and left the room. Seldom does a single shot of a film have the staying power that the “ABC” speech has had in the last 30 years. Baldwin even staged himself on the scene in an episode of Saturday night livemore than a dozen years later, which is a sure sign that Baldwin’s seven-minute performance in 1992 caught the nation’s attention and still hasn’t let go.
https://collider.com/alec-baldwin-soliloquy-glengarry-glen-ross-most-epic-one-take-ever/ Alec Baldwin’s Soliloquy in Glengarry Glen Ross Still Epic 30 Years Later