Director: Frederick Wiseman
Frederick Wiseman's latest work in an extraordinary succession of fifteen documentaries on the American way of life turns its pitiless glare away from institutional "casualties peace" to concentrate upon affluence and consumer excess.
Its chosen subject is the legendary Neiman-Marcus luxury department store in up-town Dallas, during the Christmas spending orgy. Conspicuous consumption is the key note: like pampered children wealthy Texans pick and choose-ables, diamonds and gourmet items, obsequiously attended by employees who consider it a privilege to be on the Neiman-Marcus staff list.
Juxtaposed with footage of the sales-front arc behind-the-scenes observation of management practices and personnel administration: e.g., the salesladies being conducted in morning callisthenics and smile exercises(l). Wiseman's chosen method is again in evidence: no introductory- "perspective", no voice-over narration or interview; fifty hours of camera and microphone actualities were painstakingly edited down to this final two hour release.