Hunka Kirk Douglas: The Arrangement (1969)

As the DVD sat snug in its Netflix sleeve, I was reluctant to take the extra step and to put The Arrangement (1969) into my DVD player. Approaching a movie you know nothing about is almost like going on a blind date, there is that internal conflict of either seeking security and safety and not going through with it, in case the experience would turn out to be traumatic, or taking a risk hoping that this time things might work out in your favor. In this case, what I thought might be a strange, weird '60s film that I wouldn't enjoy, would turn out to be a strange, weird '60s film that I did enjoy.

Based on his own novel, The Arrangement (1969) is a lesser-known Elia Kazan classic. Its a film that contemporary film afficianados might enjoy because of its chaotic, psychadelic, A.D.D. type of cinematography. Shots come at all sorts of strange and interesting angles and any remotely chronological timeline is thrown askew my patches of memory flashbacks. Watching this film felt new, fresh and invigorating in a way older films don't usually.

The story is about an ad executive, played by the ever superb Kirk Douglas, who suffers a major mid-life meltdown. He is torn between the life he leads, with his idyllic wife, played by Deborah Kerr, and his current job and the life he wants to lead, as a bohemian free-spirit with his lover, played by Faye Dunaway. The viewer is trapped in his mind, which is terribly chaotic making for amazing sequences.

I don't know how else to intrigue people enough to watch this film. So instead of rambling on and on about its merits, I'll simply leave you with a few crazy shots that I enjoyed in hopes that they might pique your interest.

1) Kirk Douglas hallucinating by the pool with a bunch of grapes which he dangles over the water's surface. In his imagination, the mythic Faye Dunaway emerges from the water to take a bite.



2) Kirk Douglas, again hallucinating, but this time flying an airplane over the city. The scene to which my mother reacted by saying "Ay yay yay! El loco va en un avion!" (Ay yay yay! The crazy guy is flying an airplane!)



3) After Deborah Kerr, tears up the naughty pictures she finds of Douglas and Dunaway at the beach, a neat camera trick shows live action in the scraps of the pictures left behind.



4) Kirk Douglas, hallucinating, (does he do anything else?). But this time its Kirk Douglas dressed as an ad executive, in bed with Kirk Douglas, in the buff as they both smoke cigars!

4 comments:

  1. It seems like Kirk actually is naked in the last picture! No wonder you got hits! :)

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  2. Raquelle,

    Just found your review. I see we are at odds about Kirk's performance. As I mentioned in my own review, I wish Brando would have agreed to do the film (he turned it down). I believe the role required a more introspective actor than Mr. Douglas could provide(don't get me wrong, I like Kirk, just not in this role). I read that Kazan later on felt he should have gotten someone else to write the screenplay of his novel. If I had to classify the film I would call it an interesting failure.

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  3. I love this film!! Shows how a woman can mess with a mans head.

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