Furs on Film – What a Way to Go! (1964)

Back this week to fill in a bit more of that rather great-fur anemic decade, the . At least, the ’60s still have the charm of not being the 90s. This one is able to row against the prevailing fashion tide primarily thanks to the liberal use of fantasy sequences and parody of Hollywood “excess.” Let’s get going on What a Way to Go!


Shirley MacLaine in a Pink Dyed Fox Fur Cape - What A Way to Go, 1964

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What a Way to Go [Blu-ray]

Genre: Comedy/Classic Comedies
Format: NTSC, Widescreen, Anamorphic


What a Way to Go – The Film

In her current life, Shirley MacLaine stars as Louisa May Foster, a wealthy, very unhappy woman who finds herself on a psychiatrist’s couch, retelling the various stories of how she tried to marry for love, not money. In each case, her poor, loveable husband of choice ends up striking it rich, neglecting her, and then dying, leaving her increasingly well off but still unhappy. The film is an anthology of sorts, with Lousia’s time on the couch as the story’s framing device. Surprising no one, the process starts to repeat itself just before the credits roll.

What a Way to Go – The Furs

Shirley wears pretty much all the furs in the film. Part of the film’s charm is the framing sequences at the psychiatrist’s office, featuring Miss MacLaine wearing a hat. The remainder all occur in the flashbacks to her various relationships, culminating in one of the best uses of dyed fox in film history.

Here’s the mink hat in question. Granted, if you’re not impressed, you’re going to be bored pretty quickly since she never takes it off the entire time she’s “in therapy.”

Shirley MacLaine in a Mink Hat - What A Way to Go, 1964

Due to the length of time it appears, there are many nice close-ups of Miss MacLaine capped by the mink. As should be a surprise to no regular reader, I’m not a mink fan, but I do like the hat. Sure, it should be a fox, but, well, split milk and all.

Shirley MacLaine in a Mink Hat - What A Way to Go, 1964

More mink from Husband One’s story. This conservative mink fringe is hooded, at least.

Shirley MacLaine in Mink Trim - What A Way to Go, 1964

After suffering through Husband Two with nary a fur in sight, things pick up with Husband Three. Already wealthy, Lousia meets Rod Anderson at the airport. She’s wearing a raccoon or maybe fox hat and a matching trimmed coat with a cape.

Shirley MacLaine in a Fur Hat and Trim - What A Way to Go, 1964

This is a long sequence, as Lousia goes aboard Rod’s private jet and chats, all while keeping the furs firmly in place. Sadly unlike many of the furs in the film, this is a pretty conservative fur by any standards.

Shirley MacLaine in a Fur Hat and Trim - What A Way to Go, 1964

She flips that around in the film’s fantasy sequence, as Louisa imagines life with Rod and their money combined. She wears a series of outfits by Edith Head in the sequence, intentionally “over the top.” The first is more feathery than fur, obviously.

Shirley MacLaine in a Feather Outfit - What A Way to Go, 1964

Things quickly pick up when the -trimmed outfit with the rather large muff appears.

Shirley MacLaine in a White Fur Outfit - What A Way to Go, 1964

While mink isn’t particularly my favorite, this is undoubtedly one of my favorite minks.

Shirley MacLaine in a White Fur Outfit - What A Way to Go, 1964

Finally, there’s the first of two dyed foxes in the film. Would have picked something other than yellow, myself (like the color of the film’s second, dyed fox), but still, not too bad overall.

Shirley MacLaine in a Yellow Dyed Fox Outfit - What A Way to Go, 1964

Each element of the fantasy sequence is relatively brief, so individual pieces do not get a lot of mileage, but the whole thing is about a minute and some change.

Shirley MacLaine in a Yellow Dyed Fox Outfit - What A Way to Go, 1964

Finally, Husband Four’s story provides the marquee fur. Lousia meets and marries Pinky Benson, a stage performer who, after they’re married, becomes an overnight Hollywood success. Pinky “embraces” his name, surrounding himself with his namesake color, including Louisa’s wardrobe.

Shirley MacLaine in a Pink Dyed Fox Fur Cape - What A Way to Go, 1964

The dyed is spectacular. It’s supposed to be, and the dyed hair to match is, well, “the cherry on top” is, yes, very, very cliché, but I’m going there.

Shirley MacLaine in a Pink Dyed Fox Fur Cape - What A Way to Go, 1964

Finally, one close-up of Miss MacLaine in her pink wig and giant pink fox. While the point of this was to lampoon Hollywood excess (and is the only reason it even appeared in a film shot in 1964), I would suggest to any lovely lady they can consider a cape like this for the average trip to the grocery store or cinema. Just think about it; that’s all I’m saying.

Shirley MacLaine in a Pink Dyed Fox Fur Cape - What A Way to Go, 1964

The entire fur runtime of What a Way to Go! clocks in around 23 minutes. Now, all of that isn’t the sizeable pink fox cape, sadly. Miss MacLaine wears her mink hat through pretty much all of the framing story, and while I don’t want to say that “pads” the runtime a bit, others may not be so kind. The raccoon hat and trim from the third story consume the other big chunk. The best parts, her fantasy sequence, and the pink fox are about four minutes combined. Still, for the ’60s, this is a unique little gem.

Fur Runtime: 23 minutes
Film Runtime: 111 minutes
Onscreen Fur Ratio: 20%

Find-A-Fur: What A Way to Go, 1964

(all times are approximate)

  • 00:20 – mink hat
  • 03:35 – 09:40 – ”
  • 28:30 – mink trim
  • 34:40 – 36:32 – mink hat
  • 56:20 – 1:03:40 – raccoon/fox? hat + trim
  • 1:06:50 – 1:08:45 – “lush budget”
  • 1:16:50 – hat
  • 1:38:45 – 1:47:45 – pink fox cape back to mink hat

6 thoughts on “Furs on Film – What a Way to Go! (1964)

  1. I absolutely love all that stunningly beautiful drop dead gorgeous super hot sexy and super feminine blindingly bright pink she’s wearing and that beautiful hot sexy pink hair and those beautiful slutty pink gloves she’s wearing. She looks so incredibly beautiful drop dead gorgeous sexy hot and extremely feminine in all that beautiful hot sexy blindingly bright beautiful pink

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