Shirley MacLaine is fierce in What a Way to Go! This is a term I can’t really get away with saying in real life while wearing my cardigans and jeans and, while it certainly wasn’t in the common vernacular circa 1964, it fits MacLaine’s portrayal of Louisa May Foster and her extensive costumes in the film.
Foster is a woman seeking a simple life and a husband who wants the same, but each time she tries said husband lets a quest for money and riches get the better of him and she ends up a widow — four times.
There is the, at first, humble shop owner Edgar (Dick Van Dyke); the eccentric artist Larry (Paul Newman); the millionaire tycoon Rod (Robert Mitchum); and finally the showstopping Pinky Benson (Gene Kelly.)
Yes some of those characters have money, but they didn’t let it get to their head until Foster entered the picture, making her think she is cursed.
Foster recalls her failed marriages – by death and riches – to her psychiatrist over the course of the film and each story is played out throughout the world and different lifestyles. Foster even imagines how each of her marriages would be portrayed in Hollywood, such as a silent film, French romance or lavish musical.
The film is funny and delivers through the on-screen chemistry between MacLaine and each leading man. That said, she is definitely the star of the show while rocking and all pink gown with a Chinchilla fur coat one minute and overalls and big hair the next.
It was a long path for Foster to get there, but she does find happiness in the end — just in the most unexpected place and with the most unexpected person.
Money isn’t everything and love conquers all, at least in the world of Louisa May Foster Hopper Flint Anderson Benson and …