HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  What a Way To Go! Pink WidowBuy this film here.
Year: 1964
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Paul Newman, Robert Mitchum, Dean Martin, Gene Kelly, Robert Cummings, Dick Van Dyke, Reginald Gardiner, Margaret Dumont, Lou Nova, Fifi D'Orsay, Maurice Marsac, Wally Vernon, Jane Wald, Lenny Kent, Tom Conway, Milton Frome
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: A widow, Louisa May (Shirley MacLaine) descends the pink staircase of a pink mansion's pink hallway dressed all in black. She is followed by the coffin of her late husband, which slips from the grasp of the pallbearers, flies down the stairs and zooms around the slippery floor until it is caught and held down. After the funeral, Louisa visits the building of the United States Treasury and offers them a cheque, but when they see the amount - hundreds of millions of dollars - she is sent to a psychiatrist, Dr Stephanson (Robert Cummings), who lets her lie on his couch while she tells her tale of woe. Louisa, you see, has always been unlucky in love...

Supposedly a black comedy, What a Way To Go! is really too frothy to be considered alongside the likes of MASH or Where's Poppa? which were just around the corner. Louisa's problem with men is that they're always dying on her, leaving her with astronomical amounts of money in their wills when all she wants is to settle down and live the simple life. Written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green from Gwen Davis' story, it's pure, mega-budget Hollywood profligacy, with all the cash thrown at it up there on the screen just at the time that such lavish productions were on the brink of falling from favour. And besides, the Frank Tashlin-style jokes and "money isn't everything" message here aren't exactly cynical.

In fact, it looks as if it belongs in the previous decade with its campy humour but a slightly arch tone tempers the fluffiness of the presentation. Louisa begins her tale by describing her early life, where she grew up with an overbearing mother (Margaret Dumont in her final role) whose hypocrisy showed in her money-grabbing manner. When she was old enough to date men, there were two who were interested in her, Leonard Crawley (Dean Martin) the local millionaire who practically owned the town, and Edgar Hopper (Dick Van Dyke), who owns the one, lowly shop that Leonard doesn't. Naturally, Louisa goes against her mother's wishes and marries Edgar.

However, their wedded bliss doesn't last long. With every husband, Louisa fantasises that her life is a movie, and with Edgar it's a silent comedy, living in near poverty but happy with each other. Then her husband makes up his mind to make his fortune and buy out Crawley, which he does, so now Louisa never sees him, and when he says "Hard work never hurt anybody" a few too many times he keels over from a stress-related heart attack, leaving his wife a rich widow. The roster of stars who line up to play MacLaine's husbands is undeniably impressive, and despite the episodic nature of the storyline they each make their mark.

But the bright and perky Shirley is always in danger of being overwhelmed in her own film, whether it's her stellar co-stars, the over-the-top sets or those elaborate Edith Head gowns she wears (there must be about a hundred of them). Paul Newman is spouse number two, an American artist living in Paris (of course the film adds to that veneer of sophistication by travelling to Europe) who invents a painting machine to create his canvasses for him, just underlining how bizarre a lot of this film appears. Then there's Robert Mitchum, who is already a millionaire when Louisa marries him, and Gene Kelly, a nightclub act who becomes a pompous star almost by accident (obviously Lousia envisions her life with him as a musical). It's all lots of fun, but you can't help but see What a Way To Go! as a warning from Hollywood to the simple folks to stick with their mundane existences - after all, who wants to be rich? Music by Nelson Riddle.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3674 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

J. Lee Thompson  (1914 - 2002)

Veteran British director frequently in Hollywood, usually with stories featuring an adventure or thriller slant. Among his many films, including a number of Charles Bronson movies, are Yield to the Night, Ice Cold in Alex, North West Frontier, the original Cape Fear, Tiger Bay, The Guns of Navarone, What a Way To Go!, Eye of the Devil, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes and Happy Birthday to Me.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: