A lavish, frantic comedy with Shirley MacLaine as serial wife Louisa, marrying one of the best casts ever assembled: Dick Van Dyke’s humble storekeeper turned billionaire, Edgar Hopper; Paul Newman’s American artist in Paris, Larry Flint, who invents a painting machine to create his canvasses for him; Robert Mitchum’s Howard Hughes-type tycoon Rod Anderson; and Gene Kelly’s matinée idol, Jerry Benson.
Louisa’s problem with men is that they’re always dying on her, leaving her with astronomical amounts of money in their wills when all she wants is to settle down and live a simple life.
Much of the movie falls flat and it always tries too hard but Betty Comden and Adolph Green’s script – they also wrote Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and The Band Wagon (1953) – comes up with some clever demises for the husbands (Mitchum is kicked by the bull he is trying to milk) and mercilessly satirises the egotism of Kelly.
In 1964 the visual style was a knockout. Today you might need to watch it through sunglasses.
Dick Van Dyke
J Lee Thompson