ON THE BEACH
I really cannot find much to say about ON THE BEACH, that big one from 1959 by Stanley Kramer from the Nevil Shute novel. Shute's novels usually featured big ideas: aviation in NO HIGHWAY IN THE SKY, war in A TOWN LIKE ALICE and only the end of the world in ON THE BEACH. Kramer like Kazan, was big in the 50s and early 60s, with those self-important movies on big themes, like THE DEFIANT ONES, INHERIT THE WIND, JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBURG (with their great star turns) and this one set in Australia. Even Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner cannot make it sing as the ponderous affair also drags down Fred Astaire and Tony Perkins as the young naval husband. It is actually set in 1964 as atomic war wipes out humanity in the northern hemisphere;
one American submarine finds temporary safe haven in
THE ARRANGEMENT. Elia Kazan of course had his great decade in the 1950s, but like a lot of other once important directors may have felt left behind by the late sixties. THE ARRANGEMENT is from his own novel and it is all just too much as Kazan throws everything at us. Kirk Douglas is the business executive sick of the rat race his life as become as he deliberately crashes his car in that grim traffic scene. Deborah Kerr, getting rather matronly by then, is his worried steely wife doing all she can to help him rehabilitate himself, as he keeps flashing back to his exciting mistress Gwen - Faye Dunaway at the height of her glossy '60s glamour - who keeps taunting him about what he could have been.
She does have that memorable line: "The screwing I'm getting is not worth the screwing I am getting". But it is all too much and too overwrought as Kirk fixates on his old Greek father Richard Boone and his nude frolics at the beach with Gwen ...