Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|What a Way to Go|
Actors: Shirley MacLaine, Paul Newman, Robert Mitchum, Dean Martin, Gene Kelly
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Genres: Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts
No Description Available. Genre: Feature Film-Comedy Rating: NR Release Date: 11-JAN-2005 Media Type: DVD
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Lush Budget All The Way
Michael C. Smith | San Francisco, CA United States | 01/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A quintessential example of Studio comedy of the early 1960's, `What A Way To Go" owes all it's charm to its cast. Topping the list is Shirley MacLaine in a comic performance not to be missed. She brings a fresh kooky charm to her Louisa as she careens from one marriage to the next totaling a roster of husbands with Mega-Star power that today would have sunk 20th Century Fox on salary alone.
Here it's all about timing, reaction and pace. All of witch Miss MacLaine is an expert. It is a sheer joy just to watch her take a thin story and make magic out of it. Dick Van Dyke, Paul Newman, Robert Mitchum, Gene Kelly, and Dean Martin aid her in her romp across the cinemascope screen.
There are two standouts in the husband department for me, first, Paul Newman as an ex-patriot American artist in Paris. Rarely do we get to see him execute a comic turn and here as Larry Flint he is both sexy and funny. And Robert Mitchum as Rod Anderson, the maple syrup king is a delight.
The cleverest aspect of the story is the use of Louise's remembrances of each marriage as a different genre of film from the silent screen to the big splashy musicals of the 1950's. The funniest occurs when she is married to Mitchum. It is a Lush Budget production all the way. Also of note is the big dance number with Gene Kelly, in and of itself a lampoon of Mr. Kelly's famous routines over at M.G.M. a decade before.
Also of note is the superb color and cinematography of Leon Shamroy fresh off his Oscar win with "Cleopatra" the year before. (Note the in-joke jabs at Cleopatra and Richard Burton in two segments.) And glittering right up there with her best work are the stunning costumes of Edith Head.
This DVD also includes slight extras the best of which is a newsreel of the day called "What A Way To Go To The Fair." It chronicles the films opening at the 1964 New York World's Fair. It is a gem all it's own.
What a way to go is a light delight and a prime example of a bygone age of glamour and excess. And above all it is Shirley MacLaine's film all the way and it is the only way to go!
What A Way To Have Fun!
Cowboy Buddha | Essex UK | 01/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The epitome of fluffy 60's escapism with Shirley MacLaine at her kooky best and a dream cast of leading men sending up their screen images. Add to this a big budget, the most outrageous costumes of an outrageous era, and a witty script by Comden and Green that blends romance, satire, slapstick and just a pinch of cynicism. It's big and overblown and all the better for it. And I'm glad to report that it looks fantastic on this dvd in widescreen and vibrant color.
Shirley MacLaine made several screwball comedies in the 60's such as Woman Times Seven, John Goldfarb Please Come Home, and The Bliss Of Mrs Blossom, but What A Way To Go is one of the best. She is helped immeasurably by a galaxy of stars portraying the men in her life - smooth and oily Dean Martin, rubber-faced and loose-limbed Dick Van Dyke, bearded and self-spoofing Paul Newman, surprisingly charming Robert Mitchum, the always delightful Gene Kelly, and a somewhat manic Robert Cummings. As an added treat, the Marx Brothers' old foil Margaret Dumont is wonderfully over-the-top as MacLaine's dragon of a mother. You just don't get casts like that anymore.
Another nice touch is the way several genres of film are spoofed as MacLaine wistfully recalls the best days of each of her marriages. The musical extravaganza with Gene Kelly, in particular, is a real joy. Kelly was over 50 but still had all the moves while MacLaine reminds us what a fantastic dancer she was - with equally fantastic legs. I also loved Paul Newman as the world-weary abstract artist. Many people forget that he made a number of comedies way back when, and that he was pretty good in them.
What A Way To Go was not a big hit when it was released, primarily because it was made at a time when the emphasis was on youth and this film was seen as an instant relic that would appeal only to the Doris Day/Rock Hudson crowd. How wrong they were. Forty years on, What A Way To Go is still fresh and funny, unlike many other Swinging 60's comedies.
Other reviewers on here have mentioned films they would like to see released on dvd. I'll add an old, little-seen favorite of mine - The Art Of Love with James Garner and Dick Van Dyke. Well, I can hope, can't I? In the meantime, I think I'll watch What A Way To Go again."
Opulent, Frothy Showcase for MacLaine and her Men!
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 07/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""What a Way to Go!" is such an entertaining showcase of vivacious star Shirley MacLaine's talents as a comedienne, dancer, and singer that it's hard to believe that the original script was far darker, and intended for Marilyn Monroe!
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!
What a Great Fun Movie!
Lori | Pittsburgh, PA | 02/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A terrific movie with an all star cast. I saw this movie years ago. I enjoyed it then and found it even more fun to watch on DVD. Yes of course it is over the top and mindless but it really doesn't matter. One of the few comedies that is actually funny. Hard to find nowadays in my opinion. This time I watched it with my 13 year old daughter who obviously knows none of the stars, except Dick Van Dyke who looked familiar to her. She actually loved it and she usually doesn't like my movies being a pre-teen and all. This movie is visually stunning with a continuous pace of entertainment from beginning to end. Delightful!"