Shirley MacLaine as Louisa May Foster Hopper Flint Anderson Benson Crawley (seriously)
Dick Van Dyke as Edgar Hopper
Paul Newman as Larry Flint (not that one)
Robert Mitchum as Rod Anderson
Gene Kelly as Pinky Benson
Dean Martin as Leonard Crawley
Directed by J. Lee Thompson
Synopsis: Louisa is an unhappily wealthy widow who has always wanted the simple life. The men she meets embody this ideal (especially Flint, the starving artist) until success sneaks up on them and render them richer than anyone should ever rightfully be. Then they die. Louisa just keeps trying to follow Thoreau’s teachings, looking for happiness with the right man, and she gets a more complicated (and wealthier!) life with each husband. The future looks bleak, but she tells her story to a psychiatrist and eventually meets the perfect man in a terribly ironic situation.
Another night, another black comedy. The subject matter isn’t really funny at all—why on earth would a person laugh at a woman whose life gets more financially comfortable as time goes on, at the expense of her deceased husbands? It’s so silly, though, that you really can’t help it.
Some of the silliest (and most amazingly funny) parts:
• Louisa’s imaginary movie scenarios. “When I look back, our life together was like a(n)…” I think the best of the lot was the one with Pinky Benson (husband number four). Teri Garr is in this great song-and-dance routine somewhere, but I’ve never seen her, even after about 15 viewings. Shirley Mac is right up there with Jamie Lee Curtis and Tina Turner in the legs department, and the tap scene with Gene Kelly gives ample viewing opportunities. But it’s SO FUNNY!
• The “starving artist” in-joke. You’ve got to see it to get it.
• The opening scene of Louisa’s life story. Her poor dad is so hen-pecked that he sinks right though his chair. Never says a word, just keeps on sinking.
• The Lush Budgett production. Clearly a commentary on the opulence of Hollywood at that time, trying to out-big the last film. Edith Head is on full display here. Such beautiful work. And some really bad one-liners that you can’t help but chuckle at.
This is a stupid-awesome cast. The only thing missing was a song from Dino, but otherwise it’s a perfect group. Dick is awkward, Robert is bossy, Paul is overacting, Gene dances, and Dean just looks adorable. A great vehicle, though panned by critics, which I feel is unnecessary. Why can’t we just enjoy these movies and have fun with them? I paid $13 to see Pacific Rim and it’s one of the silliest scripts in the history of history, but I still had fun! If nothing else, WAWTG is now a classic (50 years next year…does everyone feel old?), so it’s worth seeing just to watch these actors in their prime. They’re all gone now except Shirley and Dick, which makes it a great look at what Hollywood stars used to be.
Weepy Meter: 0/10 Nope. Sorry. Not even from laughter. Well, maybe the scene where Pinky sees how people respond to his talent for the very first time…Gene’s facial expressions are utterly, utterly fabulous. You can see he’s looking for his moment in the starlight. What an ass.
Man Meter: 2/10 Unless he likes classic film, he’s probably not going to be too terribly interested, even if Shirls is pretty hot (the black bikini in the pink scene is fantastic). It’s a shame that you’re watching movies with an uncultured swine who can’t appreciate the old school. Drop him.
Overall Rating: 7/10 It’s a bit over-the-top at times, but so much fun! It’s nice to see the classy guys in roles that are atypical to their stereotypes.