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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

Shirley MacLaine is quoted as saying she was happy to work with Edith Head, with a $500,000.00 budget, 72 hairstyles to match the gowns, and $3.5-million gen collection, on-loan from Harry Winston. The value of the gems alone (adjusted for inflation) would be $23.5 million (in 2016). See more »

Goofs

When she first meets Paul Neuman in the cab, he's eating a banana. You can see a bruise on the fruit and the peel. Next scene it's a different banana with no bruising. See more »

Quotes

Woman at art show: If only Beethoven were alive to just hear this painting.
Larry Flint: Ah, yes. Pauvre Ludwig. I think he'd be very pleased.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Robert Mitchum, le mauvais garçon d'Hollywood (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
(uncredited)
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fun, Froth, and What Will She Wear Next?
29 May 2005 | by gftbiloxiSee all my reviews

To describe WHAT A WAY TO GO as an ultra-light 1960s confection would be an understatement: frothy, foolish, and seeking no more than to be mildly entertaining, it is a classic of its kind and of its era.

The plot is episodic. When multi-millionaire Louisa May Foster tries to give away her money she finds herself slapped onto a psychiatrist's couch--where she details the story of a little girl from the wrong side of the tracks who was only interested in marrying for love. But as fate would have it, every husband she touched turned to gold, and their successes spelled finish to the marriage in no uncertain terms, with each widowhood leaving Louisa even more fabulously wealthy than before. What's a poor little rich girl to do? The charm here is in the cast and the production values. Although she offered considerably more in her most celebrated films, Shirley MacLaine had a remarkable way with light comedy, and she pulls out all the stops as the eternal widow, at times sassy, at times silly, but never less than completely watchable. Her unlikely co-stars--Dean Martin, Dick Van Dyke, Paul Newman, Robert Mitchum, Gene Kelly, Robert Cummings and (in her final film) the amazing Margaret Dumont--are also up to the task.

The humor is both obvious and sly, lampooning various rags-to-riches (or in one case riches-to-riches) stereotypes with a wink, a nod, and now and then an unexpectedly sophisticated bit of wit. The film works best when it gently mocks both itself and the more obvious cinematic conventions of its day, as when Louisa recalls each of her marriages with the words "it was like one of those movies where..." Everything from silent film to musicals gets a poke, and over-budgeted romantic blockbusters suddenly become considerably more comic than you'd ever imagine.

The production values are first rate, and to say there is always something to look at on the screen would be an understatement: they are deliberately and often deliciously over the top--and often as amusing as the performances. (The "Lush Budget" sequence, in which MacLaine changes gowns every few seconds, is particularly witty.) True, the movie is a no-brainer, but it is a fun one. Only a sour-puss could resist! Recommended.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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