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What a Way to Go! Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

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. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:May 12, 1964

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Moss Mabry Best Color Costume Design 1964 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Edith Head Best Color Costume Design 1964 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Walter Scott Best Color Art Direction 1964 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jack Martin Smith Best Color Art Direction 1964 Nominee

Cast

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

Crew

J. Lee Thompson
Director
Adolph Green
Screenwriter
Betty Comden
Screenwriter
Leon Shamroy
Cinematographer
Nelson Riddle
Composer (Music Score)
Walter Scott
Production Designer
Jack Martin Smith
Art Director
Walter Scott
Set Designer
Edith Head
Costume Designer
Moss Mabry
Costume Designer
Gene Kelly
Choreography
Richard Humphrey
Choreography
Frank Westmore
Makeup
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