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The Arrangement (1969)

Kirk Douglas , Faye Dunaway , Elia Kazan  |  R |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Kirk Douglas, Faye Dunaway, Deborah Kerr, Richard Boone, Hume Cronyn
  • Directors: Elia Kazan
  • Writers: Elia Kazan
  • Producers: Elia Kazan, Charles H. Maguire
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, Anamorphic, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 30, 2007
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JP4I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,290 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Arrangement" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Vintage featurette "A New Lifestyle"
  • Original theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Kirk Douglas and Faye Dunaway in master moviemaker Elia Kazan's hard-hitting story about an adman's attempts to rebuild his shattered life after suffering a nervous breakdown. Year: 1969 Director: Elia Kazan Starring: Kirk Douglas, Faye Dunaway, Deborah Kerr

During the grim, glum cacophony of images and sounds that constitutes the first few minutes of The Arrangement, a self-loathing advertising wizard (Kirk Douglas) with a stultifying marriage and a career focused on selling "Zephyr, The Clean Cigarette!" impulsively hits upon a spectacular method of committing suicide. Viewers would have been spared two hours of further flailing if he'd succeeded. Instead we get a combination psychodrama and Bildungsroman--at once crashingly obvious and fragmented to the point of incoherence--that attempts to frame the betrayal of the American Dream through the guilty/proud machismo, professional frustrations, and oppressive ethnic heritage of a very unappealing guy.

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

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Although director Elia Kazan ultimately failed in this uneven if brilliant attempt to bring his best-selling semi-autobiographical novel to the screen, it is a wonderful sociological portrait of a man driven to the edge of madness and despair by what material and career success does to his soul. Kirk Douglas is terrific as Eddie Anderson, the deeply conflicted Greek-American second-generation crossover who buys into the pursuit of American business success and now feels as though his talent and creativity have been totally corrupted and squandered in pursuit of the bitch goddess of success. He has it all, money, sex, and power, and all the toys and accessories such material success means. But his life is increasingly ashes in his mouth, a bitter, lonely, empty and unfulfilling existence that is literally driving Eddie insane.
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.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Transformation of a life -a masterpiece August 13, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
In short, this movie shows how a man who's succesful and rich but lives in a permanent lie suddenly cracks up -in a very healthy way- and starts from scratch to re-evaluate his life: his job, his feelings toward his wife, his father, his lover. The confrontation between the establishment and someone who just wants to "live" -as he puts it- is brilliantly depicted. Elia Kazan's genius is very clear here. Very good acting from Kirk Douglas, Faye Dunaway and Deborah Kerr. I found interesting similarities between this movie and Peter Weir's Fearless.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Film Whose Time Has Come. February 25, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Panned and patronized at the time of it's initial release, Elia Kazan's adaptation of his best selling book THE ARRANGEMENT plays much better now than it did in 1969. Made after a 6 year hiatus from filmmaking at a time when movies were enjoying unheard of freedom due to the demise of the production code, THE ARRANGEMENT clearly shows that Kazan was still a director to be reckoned with. The basic premise was nothing new. A highly succesful businessman (Kirk Douglas) suffers a mid-life crisis and attempts suicide. How he and the other characters deal with the aftermath make up the rest of the story.

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.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! January 15, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Pay no attention to Lenny's review above. The Arrangement is brilliant, one of the best movies ever. Psychologically intense and somehow realistic and bizarre at the same time. Story, direction and Douglas are all great. But when is the DVD coming!
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a classic November 25, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I saw this movie on the big screen years ago when I was a university student, and it is definitely still one of the most impressionable, memorable movies I have ever seen. The movie grips you from beginning to end and you wonder what it is heading for. I recall the slow horror that filled me as the leading actor's (i learn from the reviews it is Kirk Douglas) mind begins to show schizophrenic tendencies, but what is scary is that schizophrenia appears as something very everyday, a form of alienation, something that I felt we are all going through without realising it. I thought this is a movie about myself - or my two selves ! I want to see it on video to see if I feel the same intensity I felt then. And another thing , it was intensely ..., the scenes between kirk Douglas and Faye Dunaway. This is definitely a special movie, bringing out deeper inner traumas...and oh yes reminds me of other movies of this genre(The Graduate comes to mind) that expose the hollow,social world of high society. A very watchable movie though very disturbing !
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars NOT great!!
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 more
Published 4 days ago by Vicki of CA
4.0 out of 5 stars "Unusual Arrangement"
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 more
Published 4 months ago by Film Score fan
1.0 out of 5 stars The Arrangement
Not the best movie by Kirk Douglas. Too many awkward silences. Moving from past to present confusing. Deborah Kerr always competent.
Published 5 months ago by Meg Webster
5.0 out of 5 stars The Arrangement (with Kirk Douglas)
It is one of the best Hollywood movies I have ever seen. It has the philosophical deapth that is rare in Hollywood movies, especially of recent past, and makes you think about the... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Yo Kimura
5.0 out of 5 stars Living life to please others while losing yourself
Kirk Douglas, Faye Dunnaway, and Deborah Kerr gave powerful performances that portrayed a family with a successful husband living and working to maintain a certain lifestyle to... Read more
Published on September 24, 2012 by S. Dozier
3.0 out of 5 stars Unconvincing but references aplenty to Kazan's personal life
The Arrangement (Warner Bros., 1969) was director Elia Kazan's seventeenth film.

Eddie Anderson (Kirk Douglas) is an advertising executive living a comfortable, upper... Read more
Published on December 4, 2011 by Tom
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting.
In obtaining Deborah Kerr films, I had put this one on the bottom of the list to get to because of Kirk Douglas and Faye Dunaway. Read more
Published on October 10, 2011 by K. Churn
4.0 out of 5 stars Satirical drama presages '70s film themes
I won't disagree entirely with detractors of 'The Arrangement,' as it takes a certain degree of patience and indulgence to make it through to the end without contemplating suicide... Read more
Published on June 8, 2011 by Brian
5.0 out of 5 stars Kazan's Legacy Captured on Film
"The Arrangement" was much maligned by the critics in its day. But this film is so prophetic for those of us of a certain generation: we who had to choose between the status quo... Read more
Published on March 30, 2011 by RareRare
1.0 out of 5 stars Appallingly Bad Kazan
Having just watched the brilliant "Baby Doll" and "A Face In The Crowd," with "On the Waterfront" being one of my favorite Kazan films, I was shocked at how bad "The Arrangement"... Read more
Published on February 27, 2011 by Doug Richard
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