What a Way to Go!

( 4 )

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, ...
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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.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]
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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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/11/2005
  • UPC: 024543130949
  • Original Release: 1964
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:51:00
  • Format: DVD

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
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
Justin Smith
Dick Wilson Driscoll
Helene Winston Doris
Jack Greening Chester
Tom Conway Lord Kensington
Robert Cummings Dr. Stephanson
Teri Garr
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 Jr. Special Effects
Moss Mabry Costumes/Costume Designer
Ben Nye Sr. 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
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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
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Language Selection
      Languages: English Mono
      Languages: English Stereo
      Captions & Subtitles: English
      Captions & Subtitles: Spanish
      Captions & Subtitles: None
   Scene Selection
   Special Features
      Fox Movietone News: "What a Way to Go to the World's Fair"
      Fox Movietone News: "Screen Tests for Chimps"
      Theatrical Teaser
      Theatrical Trailer
      Fox Flix
         All About Eve
         An Affair to Remember
         From the Terrace
         How to Marry a Millionaire
         How to Steal a Million
         The Long, Hot Summer
         The Seven Year Itch
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Enjoyable! Just as I remembereb it. Thanks!

    If you like Shirley McClain you'll love this. Great cast!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    awesome prices!!

    B&N is a great way to look for older movies that I want to get on DVD. Most are movies I already have on VHS but I am slowly changing over to DVD. At these prices I can afford to do it at a decent rate. Then I give the VHS copy to someone who has never seen the movie! And as for this particular title...it has EVERYONE in it! It is worth watching just for Shirley and her wardrobe! But add Gene Kelly, Dean Martin, Paul Newman, Dick Van Dyke and Robert Mitchum and you have a "dream"y cast to look at too!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews