Full page view
HISTORY

According to a 15 Sep 1963 NYT article, publicist-turned-producer Arthur P. Jacobs initially acquired Gwen Davis’s original story I Love Louisa for Marilyn Monroe, one of his close, longtime clients. Shortly after Monroe’s death, however, the 4 Sep 1962 NYT reported that Jacobs intended to move ahead with another actress and director J. Lee Thompson, with production scheduled to begin once Thompson completed photography on Kings of the Sun (1963, see entry). In addition to Jacobs’s and Thompson’s personal companies (Apjac Productions, Inc., and JLT Productions), the 17 Oct 1962 DV announced the involvement of the Mirisch Company as part of a recent non-exclusive pact with Jacobs. United Artists (UA) was confirmed as distributor.
       While Adolph Green and Betty Comden began working on the screenplay, the 19 Oct 1962 DV named Peter Sellers for the role of psychiatrist “Dr. Stephanson.” Elizabeth Taylor consented to play the leading role for the same fee she received on Cleopatra (1963, see entry)—$1 million against ten percent of the eventual gross, although a UA executive told the 11 Dec 1962 DV that such a deal had still not been signed. The 19 Oct 1962 LAT indicated that offers for the six supporting male roles had been sent to Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Kirk Douglas, Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, and Tony Curtis, but only Sinatra was confirmed by other contemporary sources. The 26 Dec 1962 Var alleged that some of these characters were expanded for the approval of Sinatra, Marlon Brando, and David Niven, who all agreed to appear.
       By ... More Less

According to a 15 Sep 1963 NYT article, publicist-turned-producer Arthur P. Jacobs initially acquired Gwen Davis’s original story I Love Louisa for Marilyn Monroe, one of his close, longtime clients. Shortly after Monroe’s death, however, the 4 Sep 1962 NYT reported that Jacobs intended to move ahead with another actress and director J. Lee Thompson, with production scheduled to begin once Thompson completed photography on Kings of the Sun (1963, see entry). In addition to Jacobs’s and Thompson’s personal companies (Apjac Productions, Inc., and JLT Productions), the 17 Oct 1962 DV announced the involvement of the Mirisch Company as part of a recent non-exclusive pact with Jacobs. United Artists (UA) was confirmed as distributor.
       While Adolph Green and Betty Comden began working on the screenplay, the 19 Oct 1962 DV named Peter Sellers for the role of psychiatrist “Dr. Stephanson.” Elizabeth Taylor consented to play the leading role for the same fee she received on Cleopatra (1963, see entry)—$1 million against ten percent of the eventual gross, although a UA executive told the 11 Dec 1962 DV that such a deal had still not been signed. The 19 Oct 1962 LAT indicated that offers for the six supporting male roles had been sent to Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Kirk Douglas, Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, and Tony Curtis, but only Sinatra was confirmed by other contemporary sources. The 26 Dec 1962 Var alleged that some of these characters were expanded for the approval of Sinatra, Marlon Brando, and David Niven, who all agreed to appear.
       By the spring, the title had changed to What a Way to Go!, but Taylor was no longer mentioned as the star. Shirley MacLaine quickly entered negotiations to replace her, provided she could secure legal clearance in relation to an upcoming lawsuit against producer Hal B. Wallis. MacLaine’s casting was officially announced in the 9 Jul 1963 LAT, with Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, Dean Martin, Dick Van Dyke, Gene Kelly, and Fred MacMurray named as her onscreen husbands. All but MacMurray appear in the final film. Items in the 15 Apr 1963 LAT and 22 Apr 1963 DV noted that Steve McQueen and Brad Dexter were also among the actors considered.
       Simultaneous with Taylor’s departure, What a Way to Go! shifted to Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp., as the 25 Apr 1963 DV reported that Thompson entered discussions with Fox president Darryl F. Zanuck to establish a future contract at the studio.
       With the cast and studio secured, the 9 Aug 1963 DV announced the start of principal photography that same day. Despite earlier plans to complete some background work abroad, the 31 Jul 1963 DV stated that foreign locations were reconstructed on the Fox studio lot in Westwood, CA, as part of the seventy total sets used for the film. The 5 Sep 1963 DV indicated that shooting also took place at Los Angeles International Airport.
       Several sources reported on the extravagance of the production design, most notably MacLaine’s seventy-two costume changes, which the 26 Aug 1963 DV estimated at $375,000, including a $10,000 fox fur coat and diamonds by Winston. A DV report three days earlier claimed that shopping and sewing work was split between teams at Fox and Paramount Pictures, both of which hired extra staff to support those under designer Edith Head. An 18 Aug 1963 LAT article also described the “cauliflower ear” and broken nose makeup effects used to emphasize the appearance of professional fighter Lou Nova, who portrayed a boxer in the film. The 25 Mar 1964 Var estimated the final negative cost at $5 million.
       The 26 Aug 1963 DV stated that Paula Lane was selected to portray a Marilyn Monroe look-alike, but the role was excised during production. Several additional DV items throughout shooting named the following actors in the expansive supporting cast whose participation could not be confirmed: Arlene Harris, Leonard Yorr, Ken Hooker, Chuck Bale, Bert Whaley, Richard Kenn, Phil Nesbitt, Diane Hartley, Lynn Borden, Bob Leonard, Richard Jury, Max Mellinger, Richard Steffens, Marcel Dallimore, Gary Brown, Mark Bailey, Myrna Ross, Hans Moebus, Russ Peak, Todd Mason, John Clark, Phil Hartman, Alan Craige, Armando Gonzalez, Steven Condit, H. E. West, Eunice Pollis, John Lawrence, Hugh Lawrence, Beppy Devries, Carole Cook, Beatrice Greenough, Janine Grandel, Naji Sujata, George Dega, George Beekman, Albert Carrier, Jacques Foti, Jean Del Val, Jacques Roux, Marcel Hilaire, Milton Frome, Jose Portugal, Yetty-Marie Luckenbach, Saul Gross, Wally Rose, Tom Steele, Pat O’Moore, Opal Euard, and Justin Smith. The 16 Sep 1963 DV claimed that Jacobs approached Phil Silvers for a cameo appearance, while the 10 Sep 1963 LAT reported that the director hoped to cast MacLaine’s daughter, Sachi Parker, as the nine-year-old version of “Louisa.” MacLaine, however, did not want Parker to be removed from school.
       The 12 Sep 1963 DV indicated that Chuck Dodds was intended to write songs for the picture, but music credit was ultimately shared between writers Betty Comden and Adloph Green and Jule Styne.
       A 15 Apr 1964 DV news story announced that the world premiere was scheduled to take place 13 May 1964 at the Better Living Center as part of the New York City World’s Fair, with regular screenings continuing the next day at the Criterion and Sutton theaters. The West Coast premiere was held 21 May 1964 at the Beverly Theater to celebrate the fifty-year anniversary of Beverly Hills, CA. Los Angeles-area engagements began 22 May 1964 at the same venue, with concurrent screenings at the Orpheum Theatre downtown. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
17 Oct 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
19 Oct 1962
p. 1.
Daily Variety
31 Oct 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
11 Dec 1962
p. 10.
Daily Variety
26 Dec 1962
p. 6.
Daily Variety
22 Apr 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
25 Apr 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
10 May 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
5 Jun 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
9 Jul 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
26 Jul 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
31 Jul 1963
p. 1.
Daily Variety
9 Aug 1963
p. 9.
Daily Variety
14 Aug 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
23 Aug 1963
p. 10.
Daily Variety
26 Aug 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
28 Aug 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
30 Aug 1963
p. 11.
Daily Variety
5 Sep 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
5 Sep 1963
p. 11.
Daily Variety
6 Sep 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
10 Sep 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
12 Sep 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
13 Sep 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
16 Sep 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
16 Sep 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
24 Sep 1963
p. 12.
Daily Variety
3 Oct 1963
p. 5.
Daily Variety
4 Oct 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
9 Oct 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
16 Oct 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
23 Oct 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
24 Oct 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
25 Oct 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
29 Oct 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
29 Oct 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
6 Nov 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
31 Mar 1964
p. 3.
Daily Variety
15 Apr 1964
p. 4.
Daily Variety
4 May 1964
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
19 Oct 1962
Section D, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
15 Apr 1963
Section C, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
9 Jul 1963
Section C, p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
18 Aug 1963
p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
19 Aug 1963
Section C, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
10 Sep 1963
Section C, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
22 May 1964
Section C, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
11 Jul 1964
Section B, p. 7.
New York Times
4 Sep 1962
p. 39.
New York Times
15 Sep 1963
p. 133.
New York Times
15 May 1964
p. 44.
Variety
5 Sep 1962
p. 3.
Variety
28 Nov 1962
p. 2, 63.
Variety
26 Dec 1962
p. 6.
Variety
1 May 1963
p. 4.
Variety
25 Mar 1964
p. 2.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A J. Lee Thompson Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Miss Maclaine's gowns des
Men's ward
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Choreog
Choreography & asst
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup
Hairstyles for Miss MacLaine created by
Supv hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Asst to the prod
Scr supv
Dial coach
Stills
Gaffer
SOURCES
SONGS
"I Think That You and I Should Get Acquainted" and "Musical Extravaganza," words and music by Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Jule Styne.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
I Love Louisa
What a Way to Go
Release Date:
14 May 1964
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 13 May 1964
New York opening: 14 May 1964
Beverly Hills premiere: 21 May 1964
Los Angeles opening: 22 May 1964
Production Date:
began 9 August 1963
Copyright Claimant:
Apjac Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
14 May 1964
Copyright Number:
LP27976
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
111
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Louisa Benson's offer to give the U. S. Government all of her wealth, amounting to more than $200 million, is refused because the gift is made in the form of a personal check. Distressed, Louisa consults psychiatrist Victor Stephanson and tells him the story of her life, in which every man she married died shortly after the wedding. Rebelling against her money-hungry mother, Louisa, who wants a simple life, rejects Leonard Crawley, her hometown's richest boy, to marry Edgar Hopper, a carefree storekeeper with little interest in money. Their marriage is happy until Leonard ridicules the threadbare manner in which Edgar supports his wife. Stung, Edgar becomes a successful merchant--ruining Crawley in the process--and literally works himself to death, leaving Louisa a rich young widow. She goes to Paris and meets and marries taxi driver Larry Flint, who is also an unsuccessful modern artist and the inventor of a machine that converts sound into oil paintings. Their union is idyllic until Louisa feeds classical music into the machine and creates a very successful painting. By building more machines and using music, Larry becomes an enormously rich artist until he gets entangled in his machines and is killed, leaving Louisa even wealthier. For her next husband she chooses millionaire-industrialist Rod Anderson on the premise that an already wealthy man would change her luck. Rod's neglect of his empire for Louisa perversely triples his fortune. She persuades him to retire to a farm, and Rod is killed by an angry bull he mistakenly attempts to milk. Louisa's fourth husband is song-and-dance man Jerry "Pinky" Benson, who has worked in the same dingy nightclub for years performing a clown act so ... +


Louisa Benson's offer to give the U. S. Government all of her wealth, amounting to more than $200 million, is refused because the gift is made in the form of a personal check. Distressed, Louisa consults psychiatrist Victor Stephanson and tells him the story of her life, in which every man she married died shortly after the wedding. Rebelling against her money-hungry mother, Louisa, who wants a simple life, rejects Leonard Crawley, her hometown's richest boy, to marry Edgar Hopper, a carefree storekeeper with little interest in money. Their marriage is happy until Leonard ridicules the threadbare manner in which Edgar supports his wife. Stung, Edgar becomes a successful merchant--ruining Crawley in the process--and literally works himself to death, leaving Louisa a rich young widow. She goes to Paris and meets and marries taxi driver Larry Flint, who is also an unsuccessful modern artist and the inventor of a machine that converts sound into oil paintings. Their union is idyllic until Louisa feeds classical music into the machine and creates a very successful painting. By building more machines and using music, Larry becomes an enormously rich artist until he gets entangled in his machines and is killed, leaving Louisa even wealthier. For her next husband she chooses millionaire-industrialist Rod Anderson on the premise that an already wealthy man would change her luck. Rod's neglect of his empire for Louisa perversely triples his fortune. She persuades him to retire to a farm, and Rod is killed by an angry bull he mistakenly attempts to milk. Louisa's fourth husband is song-and-dance man Jerry "Pinky" Benson, who has worked in the same dingy nightclub for years performing a clown act so corny that customers never look up from their food or drink. All is perfect until Pinky, at Louisa's suggestion, goes on without costume or makeup; he does his number as a ballad and is a sensation. He rapidly becomes a top movie star but he is trampled to death by his adoring fans at a premiere . As Louisa finishes her story, the Internal Revenue Service calls Dr. Stephanson to tell him Louisa's check is good, and he faints, having thought her wealth a fantasy. A janitor who shuffles in as Louisa is trying to revive Stephanson turns out to be Leonard Crawley, her first beau, who never regained his wealth. Louisa marries him, and they go to live on a rundown farm. There they are ecstatically poor until a hole in their field threatens their happiness when it begins to spout oil. To Louisa's relief, they learn it is merely a break in an oil company pipeline. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.