Thursday, September 30, 2010

Elia Kazan - The Arrangement (1969)

The Arrangement tells the story of a seemingly-successful Los Angeles-area advertising executive of Greek-American extraction, "Eddie Anderson" (birth name Evangelos Arness, portrayed by Kirk Douglas) who is miserable in both his job and his marriage to his WASPy wife, Florence (Deborah Kerr) and is having a torrid affair with a co-worker, Gwen (Faye Dunaway). "Anderson" is forced to re-evaluate his life and its priorities after an automobile accident which occurs after he can no longer face what his life has become.

Having been absent from the screen since America, America (1963), Kazan returned with this glossy account of middle-age crack-up based on his own glossy, Harold Robbins-ish novel. Douglas plays an advertising executive who suddenly clues into the emptiness of his existence and drives serenely under a truck - there after driving his family up the wall as he follows his failed suicide attempt with the kind of high jinks that had earlier served Britain's Angry Young Men in cocking a snook at society. It all seems very forced in Kazan's case, where it isn't simply glib and indulgent (as in Douglas' sybaritic fling with Dunaway's liberated lady ad exec). GA Time out

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