About What a Way to Go!

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What a Way to Go! is a visual and aural delight of lavish costumes, comedic zingers, and dazzling choreography, all wrapped in a Nelson Riddle score. Louisa May Foster (Shirley MacLaine) is convinced her love life is jinxed as she recounts to her psychiatrist Dr. Victor Stephanson (Robert Cummings) how her four marriages spiraled into tragedy, leaving her feeling cursed—and extraordinarily rich. Production for the film began in 1962 with Marilyn Monroe cast as Foster, but after Monroe’s untimely death, filming was put on hold. In 1963, the role was recast with MacLaine in the lead. Frank Sinatra was initially approached for the role of one of Foster’s husbands, Rod Anderson Jr., but he wanted more money than the studio was willing to pay. Gregory Peck was the studio’s next choice, but was unavailable. Ultimately, Robert Mitchum was cast upon MacLaine’s recommendation, and he joined a truly all-star cast filled out by Paul Newman, Gene Kelly, Dean Martin, and Dick Van Dyke. Upon learning who was designing the costumes for the film, MacLaine remarked how thrilled she was to work with “Edith Head with a $500,000 budget, 72 hairstyles to match the gowns, and a $3.5-million gem collection loaned by Harry Winston of New York. Pretty good perks, I’d say.”

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