I love What A Way To Go! It's so much fun and Edith Head's costumes are to die. Technically it's not a musical, but there is a musical number in it and Gene Kelly is one of the stars and the plot could have easily worked as a musical.
Shirley Maclaine plays Louisa May Foster Hopper Flint Anderson Benson, a widow trying to give the American Government $200 million because she thinks she is a witch who caused all of her husbands, who wanted the simple life, to become wealthy and then die. Those plot devices sure can make someone think they're crazy.
Naturally they send her to a shrink to tell her life story.
Margaret Dumond in her last role, plays Louisa's mother who is obsessed with money and position and is cruel to her husband, who has no ambition. That might be why Louisa hates money so.
Louisa is being forced by her mother to date Dean Martin, the richest man in town. How adorable is that dress!
But Louisa would rather marry Edgar Hopper, the poorest man in town and so she does.
Their married life is like that of a silent movie.
But one day Edgar goes to his store for chicken wire and the next thing that Louisa knows, he's turned his store into a popular bargain basement.
Within a year, Hopper's is a major department store.
But Louisa is bored with being a housewife who's husband is never home.
Then Edgar drops dead from working too hard.
Naturally Louisa goes to Paris to forget herself and she meets Larry Flint, one of those professional starving artists.
Their married life is like something out of the French New Wave.
Then one day, Louisa suggests a new way of painting to Larry.
Next thing she knows, Larry is a successful artist with terrible hair and she's forced to wear ridiculous outfits. I doubt Edith Head designed those, so I wonder who did?
However, Larry spends all of his time at his studio and Louisa is once again a bored housewife. And then Larry is killed by his own paint brushes. It can happen.
On her way out of Paris, tycoon Rod Anderson offers her a lift on his private jet. By the time they get to New York, they're married. I love how the decor on the jet just screams mid-Sixties fabulousness.
Louisa imagines their married life to be one of those what-will-she-wear-next movies. Even though this bit lasts about 2 minutes, I counted at least 15 costume changes! Edith Head really outdid herself on this movie.
And then terrible happens. Rod has been ignoring his business during the honeymoon period and someone in one of his offices has been giving orders behind his back and now he's three times as rich and damn it, he's going to get to the bottom of it! Rather then becoming a bored housewife for the third time, she suggests that they retire to a farm and get matching outfits.
Unfortunately, Rod is killed in a tragic farming accident.
Determined to live alone, she meets Pinky Benson. I love her matching suede coat, gloves and bag, especially the collar on the coat.
Pinky is a performer with a terrible act and no ambitions to make the big time.
She imagines their married life to be like one of those Gene Kelly Musicals.
Then one day, Louisa gets Pinky not to spend four hours putting on his makeup and taking it off so that they can go to a party.
When he was a clown, no one paid attention to him. But when he's performing as himself, everyone loves him and applaud and, well, Pinky's never heard applause before.
Poor Louisa! But I love her dress.
Before you know it, Pinky looks like this.
And Louisa is a bored Hollywood housewife in some pretty awesome sunglasses.
This is what Pinky has Louisa wear to the premiere of Pinky's latest 5 and a half hour comedy! As fabulous as this outfit is, there is such a thing as too much pink.
Anyway, at the premiere Pinky is trampled by his legion of fans.
Poor Louisa, will she ever get to live the simple life?