Arrangement, The (1969): Kazan’s Trashy Melodrama Starring Kirk Douglas and Faye Dunaway

One of Kazan’s last films, The Arrangement, is one of his weakest, both artistically and commercially.

Kirk Douglas goes through mid-life crisis in this trashy and overwrought melodrama, adapted from Kazan’s best-selling novel.

Douglas plays successful advertising exec Eddie Anderson, who cracks under the strain of the morning rush hour in Los Angeles and plows his sports car into a truck.

In a convalescent home, Eddie remains mute to everyone except his boss Finnegan (Charles Drake). In his recovery room, Eddie dreams about Gwen (Faye Dunaway), a sexy research assistant at his agency.

The psychiatrist Dr. Liebman (Harold Gould) talks to Eddie’s wife, Florence (Deborah Kerr), who reveals that at one time Eddie and Gwen had an affair, but they broke it off.

After that escapade, Eddie’s interest in sex declined. Then after the interview with Dr. Liebman, following a terrible nightmare, Eddie breaks out of his self-imposed silence and declares to Florence that he is tired of an unfulfilling life, defined by all kinds of “arrangements.”

Eddie returns to work, but soon after insulting a major client, he alienates his co-workers.  Taking off in a private plane, he flies madly over L.A.

His lawyer Arthur (Hume Cronyn) keeps Eddie from being thrown in jail and talks his client into giving Florence the power of attorney. Eddie travels to New York, where he runs into Gwen, who now has a child.

Eddie is in New York to visit his senile father, Sam (Richard Boone), but when his family attempts to put Sam in a nursing home, Eddie takes him to their old family estate on Long Island.

Eddie and Gwen resume their affair, while the search for Sam leads to Eddie’s Long Island sanctuary. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi


Running time: 125 minutes.

Directed and written by Elia Kazan

Released: November 18, 1969

DVD: January 30, 2007