- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Michael Atkinson's Article (Review) on This Film
The main article for 'The Arrangement' on this TCM sight was written by Michael Atkinson, except that instead of an article he wrote a review, and not a review of the film despite his pretense that that's what he wrote. Instead, what he's actually reviewing is his own attitude of detestation towards Kazan for testifying to the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952. Even Kirk Douglas and Deborah Kerr become targets for his insults and mockery, apparently for their egregious decision to work with Kazan.If this is how Atkinson feels, that's fine. I have no issue with that. However, since it so completely envelopes his psyche that he not only dislikes this film but feels the need to degrade and mock anyone connected with it, he shouldn't have written the article. I prefer my information on a film straight, no (distorting) chaser.
- kevin sellers
Buried deep within this too long, over written, hysterically pitched film is an interesting character study of a sell out, but writer director Elia Kazan keeps it well hidden, exploring it in depth only in the movie's most powerful scene, the argument between Kirk Douglas and Deborah Kerr in the hotel room. Instead we are treated to plenty of breast beating and agonizing by Douglas' tortured Mad Man as well as copious amounts of screaming, snarling and scolding from Richard Boone as Douglas' dad and Faye Dunaway as his mistress. Indeed, the only lead member of the cast who does not engage in scenery chewing is, unsurprisingly, Deborah Kerr, for my dough the finest film actress between the Hepburn/Davis and Streep eras (Joanne Woodward fans may disagree). Also off putting is Kazan's penchant for caricature in place of nuance as in his cartoonish depiction of Hume Cronyn's lawyer, Harold Gould's psychologist, Michael Murphy's priest and of course Charles Drake's ad exec. And the scenes where the adult Douglas communes with his alter ego as well as his youthful self and parents is incredibly amateurish when compared to similar treatments in say "Wild Strawberries" and "Crimes And Misdemeanors." But the film's biggest failure is its inability to engage with, much less answer, the question Why Did Eddie Sell Out? It's suggested that it was his dad's fault for not letting him go to college, but then that line of inquiry is dropped in favor of Douglas' mom being the one to blame for not raising him to stand up to his tyrannical father. Never is it suggested by Kazan, who wrote the novel upon which his film is based, that Eddie himself had a big part in his materialistic downfall. But then ol Elia was never very good at accepting responsibility for questionable actions, now, was he? Give it a C.
Want to see this remade with better direction
There's something off about this film. The direction, the pacing or just the convoluted plot . It all feels so forced and in so doing loses a deep and important concept that is still relevant for our time. Gwen is so cheap that there is hardly any empathy for her. It was supposed to be highly sexual for the time but came off desperate and loveless instead. Some director should take a shot at remaking this book.