7.0/10
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70 user 10 critic

What a Way to Go! (1964)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 2 July 1964 (UK)
A four-time widow discusses her four marriages, in which all of her husbands became incredibly rich and died prematurely because of their drive to be rich.

Director:

J. Lee Thompson

Writers:

Gwen Davis (story), Betty Comden (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Shirley MacLaine ... Louisa May Foster
Paul Newman ... Larry Flint
Robert Mitchum ... Rod Anderson, Jr.
Dean Martin ... Leonard 'Lennie' Crawley
Gene Kelly ... Pinky Benson
Robert Cummings ... Dr. Victor Stephanson (as Bob Cummings)
Dick Van Dyke ... Edgar Hopper
Reginald Gardiner ... Painter
Margaret Dumont ... Mrs. Foster
Lou Nova Lou Nova ... Trentino
Fifi D'Orsay ... Baroness
Maurice Marsac ... Rene
Wally Vernon ... Agent
Jane Wald ... Polly
Lenny Kent Lenny Kent ... Hollywood Lawyer
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Storyline

This black comedy opens with Louisa Foster donating a multimillion dollar check to the IRS. The tax department thinks she's crazy and sends her to a psychiatrist. She then discusses her four marriages, in which all of her husbands became incredibly rich and died prematurely because of their drive to be rich. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What A Cast!... What A Past!... What A Show!...

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

2 July 1964 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

I Love Louisa See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$13,298,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$19,816,200
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Apjac-Orchard Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Margaret Dumont. See more »

Goofs

The length and the position of the carrot Larry eats while talking to Louisa. See more »

Quotes

Hollywood Lawyer: You get all of the money - all of it. But there's one catch.
[Reading from Pinky's will]
Hollywood Lawyer: "And so, I order to be built, the Pinky Benson Memorial Museum, dedicated to my fans... and within it will be preserved all my dancing shoes dipped in bronze... and a great gold replica of my larynx. A permanent pink light will beam before my statute. And in the 15,000-seat auditorium, my pictures will run 24 hours a day. Everything else I bequeath to my wife, Louisa May Benson."
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening Fox Fanfare is in the colour PINK. See more »

Connections

Referenced in El arte de vivir (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

I Think that You and I Should Get Acquainted
Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Music by Jule Styne
Performed by Gene Kelly
See more »

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User Reviews

What a Costume Budget!
5 January 2005 | by Poseidon-3See all my reviews

MacLaine gets a huge workout in this episodic comedy about a woman from humble beginnings who is satisfied with the smaller things in life, but who keeps marrying men who make a fortune and then die, leaving her a wealthy widow four times over! Each one of the marriages sees MacLaine experiencing a new level of frustration and enveloping herself in an increasingly over-the-top super-glam wardrobe. As she relates the marriages to the rather manipulative psychologist Cummings, each relationship is seen as if it were a certain movie genre. Van Dyke lives a simple existence as a small-time store owner and their sequence contains an old silent-movie vignette. Newman is an expatriate artist living in Paris, so theirs is a slightly naughty French art film. Mitchum is a businessman loaded with dough which lends itself to a parody of the fur-and-fashion Ross Hunter women's pictures. Then marriage to small town hoofer Kelly includes a big song and dance number out of a 1940's musical. Also on hand is loutish playboy Martin, who plays the man her mother (Dumont) wanted her to marry in the first place. MacLaine gives a worthy performance with lots of physical comedy and an impressive dance sequence. She's occasionally a little shrill, but that's the character. Van Dyke is solid, Newman is sexy (and shows more skin here - albeit G-rated - than in the bulk of his other movies), Mitchum is charming, Kelly is appropriately self-involved and Martin is his usual suave, laid-back self. All of the actors establish a nice chemistry with MacLaine (who lived many a gal's dream when she got to pair up with all the leading men of this film!) It's fun to see these actors hamming it up and having fun with their unusual roles. The real star, however, apart from MacLaine, is the eye-popping, jaw-dropping parade of costumes and wigs. Some are breathtakingly glamorous, some are atrociously eye-assaulting, but they really steal the show, especially during the Mitchum sequence. Edith Head clearly had a field day (but lost the Oscar to equally-gifted Cecil Beaton for his "My Fair Lady" gowns.) There are also some attention-getting set designs. It's the kind of frothy, harmless, yet beautiful film that rarely gets made today. Some modern movie-goers will note MacLaine's uncanny resemblance to Renee Zellweger at times in this film. She gave this type of frothy flick a go in "Down With Love", but no one came (of course, it wasn't as good, so it isn't surprising!) The pattern of the movie threatens to become tiresome, but the changes in stars and venues and the clever scripting of Comden and Green help keep it afloat.


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