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At least credit writer-director Elia Kazan, adapting his own bestselling novel, with honesty: the guy is, essentially, he himself. The once-great filmmaker hoped to reunite with Marlon Brando on the project; he wound up with Douglas, whose career-long image was the guy with the indomitable spirit no matter what ("I'm Spartacus!"). But dismay over Douglas's miscasting--which led to the miscasting of Faye Dunaway in a mistress role based on and intended for Barbara Loden--doesn't excuse the total mishmash. Scenes begin in the middle or break off without warning; some characters are introduced portentously, then abandoned or beaten as one-note Symbols. The technique is a mélange of ugly, puerile effects, including still photos absurdly sprung to life and a daydream sequence studded with BIFF! BAM! POW! comic-book titles. There's even a desperate dive into self-quotation, a snippet of Kazan's 1963 America America to establish that a character barely seen in The Arrangement is the aged version of the youthful protagonist of that exultant masterpiece.
For the record, the cast includes Deborah Kerr as Douglas's wife and Richard Boone as his terminally Old World dad. They didn't deserve to come off as badly as they do. --Richard T. Jameson
- Vintage featurette "A New Lifestyle"
- Original theatrical trailer
Top Customer Reviews
We watch enraptured as he plunges head-first into a disastrous mid-life crisis, spiraling dangerously down the slippery slope toward madness and involuntary commitment, until slowly and painfully he begins to figure out what is wrong and how to fix it, although all this is obviously done at an amazingly hurtful and angst-filled cost to himself and his loved ones. Deborah Kerr co-stars as his loving but also self-concerned and controlling wife, and Faye Dunaway turns in a compelling performance as the insightful and sarcastic love interest who draws him out of his mid-life diversions and makes him see how expensive his sell-out has been to the real Eddie underneath all the glitz and glamour.
They say this movie had it all in the can, but that somehow author/producer/director Elia Kazan blew it all by cutting and editing it terribly, leaving it disjointed and hard-to-follow.Read more ›
Kazan has always been an actor's director and the film provides a showcase for the young Faye Dunaway as Douglas' mistress who gets him to reexamine his life but wants out to be with someone else. Deborah Kerr in her last major film appearance is superb in the difficult role of the wife who tries to understand what Douglas is going through but doesn't want to give up the rich lifestyle she's become accustomed to. Strong support is given by Hume Cronyn as the family solicitor who has plans of his own and from Richard Boone in a rare non-Western role as Douglas' ailing father. His slide into dementia is both heartbreaking and terrifying. Marlon Brando had originally agreed to play the lead but bowed out allowing Kirk Douglas who really wanted to work with Kazan to step in. He acquits himself well in an emotionally as opposed to a physically demanding role.
The combination of raw emotions, alternating points-of-view including black humor, and touches of surrealism was ambitious then and still is today (think AMERICAN BEAUTY). The movie is not without its flaws.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinatingly horrible. Great example of an older director, Kazin, adrift in the 60's. This came out the same year as Easy Rider and you can see how that film and its kind drove... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Kevin McDonough
Read the book years ago, it was great, the movie. Was a bomb.Published 5 months ago by Gary L Rademaker
As a middle age man going into the famed crisis and a marriage wreckage I found this film film very helpful, and easy to identified myself with. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Luis Miramontes
I thought The Arrangement might be dated and perhaps superficial but, alas, it was not. It was actually engrossing. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Constance Scott
I love the old movies and classics so I got this because Kirk Douglas and Faye Dunaway are in it. NOT a great movie, but just OK. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Vicki of CA
I found this movie difficult to follow at times and I kept wondering what Elia Kazan was trying to tell us. The movie contains a great cast who deliver fantastic performances. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Film Score fan