What a Way to Go!

What a Way to Go!

5.0 4
Director: J. Lee Thompson

Cast: J. Lee Thompson, Shirley MacLaine, Paul Newman, Robert Mitchum

     
 

This lavishly produced, big-budget comedy (it cost $20 million in 1964 dollars) stars Shirley MacLaine as Louisa, a widow who is worth $200 million dollars. However, she's convinced that her fortune is cursed, and she wants to give all her money to the IRS. As she explains her sad tale to her psychiatrist, Dr. Stephanson (Robert Cummings), it seems that when Louisa… See more details below

Overview

This lavishly produced, big-budget comedy (it cost $20 million in 1964 dollars) stars Shirley MacLaine as Louisa, a widow who is worth $200 million dollars. However, she's convinced that her fortune is cursed, and she wants to give all her money to the IRS. As she explains her sad tale to her psychiatrist, Dr. Stephanson (Robert Cummings), it seems that when Louisa was young she had the choice of marrying rich playboy Leonard Crawley (Dean Martin) or poor but decent Edgar Hopper (Dick Van Dyke). She chose Edgar, but soon he became obsessed with providing a fine home and fortune for her; he got rich but worked himself to death in the process. Despondent, Louisa flies to Paris, where she strikes up a romance with expatriate artist Larry Flint (Paul Newman). When Larry invents a machine that creates paintings based on sounds, he becomes wealthy and famous -- and dies. Louisa returns to America, where she figures to break her streak by marrying Rod (Robert Mitchum), a business tycoon who already has lots of money. He resolves to take life easier and becomes a farmer, only to die in a strange accident with a bull. Louisa is drowning her sorrows one night at a sleazy night spot when she falls for second rate entertainer Jerry (Gene Kelly). They marry, and a now-wealthy Jerry develops a relaxed, carefree quality to his act that makes him a huge star, which leads to his being crushed by a mob of his biggest fans. What a Way to Go! boasted a screenplay by Betty Comdon and Adolph Green that featured many amusing film parodies and a score by Nelson Riddle; it also marked the final screen appearance of comic actress Margaret Dumont, best remembered as Groucho Marx's straight woman in several films.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Though not as dark as the contemporary Dr. Strangelove, the premise of What a Way to Go! is surprisingly black for a Hollywood comedy, especially one with an extraordinarily lavish budget. That budget is well used -- Shirley MacLaine gets to wear 72 mostly fabulous outfits, including a dress that is essentially one long pearl necklace and that must be seen to be believed. The rest of the physical production, including sets and decoration, is impressive, and the cast is stellar. Unfortunately, the excessive production seems to have overwhelmed screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green a bit. There are some good lines scattered throughout, but on the whole the writers don't rise to the bait offered by the premise. The movie ultimately is too soft and safe, and the atmosphere tends toward the frenetic and hysterical, indicating that the material itself can't sustain a more relaxed approach. Although the idea of telling the stories of each husband in a different style is clever, it wears thin after a while. The cast is always watchable, with Paul Newman turning in one of his most easygoing performances, and Dick Van Dyke is very funny. Gene Kelly's self-parody is perhaps the best realized performance. MacLaine is fine, although she does resort to mannerisms and mugging too often. What a Way offers delights, but it's a shame that it settles for being good rather than special.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/11/2005
UPC:
0024543130949
Original Release:
1964
Rating:
NR
Source:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:51:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Shirley MacLaine Louisa
Paul Newman Larry Flint
Robert Mitchum Rod Anderson
Dean Martin Leonard Crawley
Gene Kelly Jerry Benson
Dick Van Dyke Edgar Hopper
Reginald Gardiner Painter
Margaret Dumont Mrs. Foster
Lou Nova Tentino
Fifi D'Orsay Baroness
Maurice Marsac Rene
Wally Vernon Agent
Jane Wald Polly
Larry Kent Hollywood Lawyer
Army Archerd TV Announcer
Phil Arnold Publicity/Press Agent
Marjorie Bennett Mrs. Freeman
Eugene Borden Neighbor
Lynn Borden Actor
Barbara Bouchet Girl on Plane
Tracy Butler Movie Star
Christopher Connelly Ned
Billy Corcoran Leonard Crawley at Age 7
Anthony Eustrel Willard
Pamelyn Ferdin Geraldine Crawley at Age 4
Milton Frome Lawyer
Sid Gould Movie Executive
Marcel Hillaire French Lawyer
Lenny Kent Hollywood Lawyer
Queenie Leonard Lady Kensington
Burt Mustin Crawleyville Lawyer
Pat O'Moore Actor
Justin Smith Actor
Dick Wilson Driscoll
Helene Winston Doris
Jack Greening Chester
Tom Conway Lord Kensington
Robert Cummings Dr. Stephanson
Teri Garr Actor
Roy Gordon Minister

Technical Credits
J. Lee Thompson Director
L.B. Abbott Special Effects
Betty Comden Screenwriter
Dick Smith Makeup Special Effects
Marjorie Fowler Editor
Adolph Green Screenwriter
Edward S. Haworth Production Designer
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Richard Humphrey Choreography
Arthur P. Jacobs Producer
Gene Kelly Choreography
Emil Kosa Special Effects
Moss Mabry Costumes/Costume Designer
Ben Nye Makeup
Stuart A. Reiss Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Nelson Riddle Score Composer
Walter Scott Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Leon Shamroy Cinematographer
Fred R. Simpson Asst. Director
Jack Martin Smith Art Director
Frank Westmore Makeup

Read More

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Titles [3:17]
2. This Is No Joke! [1:44]
3. A Very Rich Witch [7:31]
4. They'll All Come Around [4:10]
5. A Girl and Thoreau [3:22]
6. She Married Who? [4:24]
7. Hoppin' With Hopper [4:53]
8. Good Hard Work [4:58]
9. The Art of Paris [9:51]
10. The Creative Process [6:13]
11. The End of Larry [5:42]
12. And Then There Was Rod Anderson [9:57]
13. Lush Budgett Presents [5:42]
14. Cursed Witch's Curse [4:53]
15. Pinky the Poet [3:48]
16. I Think That You and I Should Get Acquainted [4:42]
17. Musical Extravaganza
18. I Think That You and I Should Get Acquainted Reprise
19. Pinky Is Boffo!!... and Dead!
20. Everyone but Leonard

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >