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  Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey; Photo courtesy of Zupnik/The Kobal Collection

Did you ever fill out one of those postcards requesting information on a property development? All you wanted was a glossy sales brochure that you could thumb through at your own pace, dreaming about "what if."

But now some sales rep is bugging you to buy. You've just met one of the frustrated real estate salesmen portrayed in "Glengarry Glen Ross."

The great cast -- Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey, Jack Lemmon and Al Pacino, who garnered a supporting actor Oscar nomination for his role -- spend their hours trying to sell real estate to people who don't really want to buy. The pressure is on because the home office, represented in a brief but scathing appearance by Alec Baldwin (Howard Hughes's nemesis in this year's Oscar-nominated "The Aviator"), is holding a sales contest.

The prizes are spelled out by Baldwin's bombastic and oleaginous character:

  • First place is a Cadillac El Dorado.
  • Second place is a set of steak knives.
  • Third place is "You're fired."

Sure, the movie focuses on the salesmen and their desperate efforts to save their jobs. Some turn to slick talk and bald-faced lies to hook potential buyers; others resort to a disastrous office break-in to get their hands on the sales leads for the prime homes in the new Glengarry Glen development.

And it's these sales tactics that hammer home the movie's valuable money message for potential property buyers: Protect yourself from cutthroat real estate agents.

Property is the biggest single expenditure most of us ever make, so make sure you do the job right. Do your homework, search out the best mortgage rate and hire an agent who's working for you and your home buying interests.

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