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What a Way to Go [Blu-ray]
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All Louisa May Foster (Shirley MacLaine, Two for the Seesaw) wants is a man to love and grow old with. But she keeps meeting and marrying men with a desire to strike it rich and a habit of dying soon thereafter. A spectacular lineup of Hollywood s legendary stars appeared in this delightful and romantic camp comedy, including Paul Newman (Paris Blues), Robert Mitchum (Man with the Gun), Gene Kelly (An American in Paris), Dean Martin (The Silencers), Dick Van Dyke (Mary Poppins) and Robert Cummings (The Chase). J. Lee Thompson (Kings of the Sun) directed this colorful comedy that is pure delight from beginning to its all-too-soon ending. What a Way to Go! was nominated for two Academy Awards including Costume Design for Edith Head s gowns worn by lovely Miss MacLaine and Moss Mabry s men s wardrobe worn by the legendary male leads. Shot in glorious cinemascope by iconic cinematographer Leon Shamroy (Prince of Foxes, Daddy Long Legs).
Special Features: Trailers
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 6.75 x 5.3 x 0.35 inches; 2.4 Ounces
- Item model number : 43449522
- Director : J. Lee Thompson
- Media Format : Anamorphic, NTSC, Widescreen
- Run time : 1 hour and 51 minutes
- Release date : February 7, 2017
- Actors : Shirley MacLaine, Paul Newman, Robert Mitchum, Dean Martin, Gene Kelly
- Subtitles: : English
- Studio : Kl Studio Classics
- ASIN : B01MRW00P7
- Number of discs : 1
Best Sellers Rank:
#55,207 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- #2,869 in Comedy (Movies & TV)
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It really has something for all ages, parents won't be bored, and they will "get" more from the movie, and kids will be delighted, yes, even all these years later. It's sweet, it's sad, it covers a variety of living situations, it's Doris Day! Honestly, great little fun movie for all ages. It would be especially fun to watch with kids.
It's also funny, which is a nice break from ooohing and ahhing over the clothes.
A tale of an innocent who dreams of a 'simple life', marrying progressively richer men who leave her an ever richer widow, is the kind of tongue-in-cheek farce that European filmmakers relish, but was unfamiliar to American audiences of the early sixties. Writer Gwen Davis' original story was written to satirically echo Monroe's own marital misadventures, and might have provided the star her best vehicle since "Bus Stop". But Monroe's career took a tragic nosedive, culminating with her death, at 36, in 1962, leaving Fox with a script, a director (J. Lee Thompson), and a film in preproduction.
Gifted songwriting team Betty Comden and Adolph Green, fresh from transferring their B'way hit, "Bells Are Ringing" to the screen, saw the script, and were invited to rework it as a comic vehicle for MacLaine. The talented actress, who had achieved major stardom in "The Apartment", was being given a major build-up by Fox, who wanted to showcase her untapped skills as singer/dancer, as well as in comedy. Thus a lighter, more dazzling "What a Way to Go!" was born.
Fox spared no expense on the production, with over 70 Edith Head costumes, choreography by Gene Kelly, and a new song by Jule Styne...but they balked over Frank Sinatra's salary demands, to play one of the husbands (he was replaced by Robert Mitchum). For MacLaine, it was a joy, working with two ex-lovers (Mitchum and Dean Martin), dancing with Kelly, doing comedy with Dick Van Dyke, Bob Cummings, and a surprisingly deft Paul Newman, and working with legendary Marx Brothers' foil, Margaret Dumont, in her last film.
The end result, while a 'mixed bag', has memorable moments; Newman's French sequence, with a chimp and a murderous painting machine, captures the 'essence' of the material very well; the spoof of Fox multi-costume extravaganzas, with Mitchum, is dazzling (and his death is the funniest); best of all, the giant musical production number with Kelly and MacLaine is a total joy, a homage to both Kelly and Busby Berkeley. While the Van Dyke and Martin sequences lack the same sparkle, and Cumming's scenes appear more contrived than funny, the overall result is wonderful eye candy, with MacLaine never sexier, or more energetic. That the film failed to become a big hit when released was certainly not due to it's star.
The new DVD edition deserves a commentary and 'making of' documentary (neither of which it has), but does offer some entertaining newsreel footage from the 1964 World's Fair premiere, as well as an amusing newsreel of the casting of the chimp for the Newman sequence.
"What a Way to Go!" may not be 'classic' cinema, but it is fun, and if you're a MacLaine fan, you'll be in for a treat!