When this movie is made in 1956, one can circumnavigate the globe in a little less than two days. When Jules Verne wrote the story "Around the World in Eighty Days" in 1872, he predicted that one day man could accomplish the task in eighty hours, but which most considered folly to do in eighty days in current times... that is except for people like Englishman Phileas Fogg, a regimented man who believed all it would take is exacting work, the skills he possesses. He just has to make sure a train's schedule meets the required sailing schedule which meets the required coach schedule and so on. As such, he takes up what ends up being the highly publicized £20,000 wager from his fellow members at the London Reform Club to do so, losing the bet which would ruin him financially. Along for the ride is Fogg's new, loyal and devoted valet, the recently arrived Latin immigrant, Passepartout, who possesses unusual skills which could be major assets, but whose all consuming thoughts on the ... Written by
(Mag-optical) (35 mm prints) (1956)|Mono
(optical) (35 mm prints) (re-release prints)|70 mm 6-Track
(70 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)|4-Track Stereo
(Perspecta Sound encoding) (35 mm magnetic prints) (1956)
In order to make the film really stand out from the crowd of epic films, producer Michael Todd implored theater owners to promote the film "exactly as you would a Broadway show": organize reserved seats, pass out playbills before the movie, remove clocks from the theater and ban the sale of popcorn. See more »
The scenes which supposedly take place in Yokohama, Japan, were in fact shot in Kamakura, west of Yokohama, and in Kyoto, far southwest of Yokohama. The film visually links Kamakura's Great Buddha with Kyoto's Heian Shrine (making it appear as if they are within walking distance of one another), though in reality the two locations are in separate regions of Japan. See more »
The last line of dialogue is "This is the end". The closing credits then begin with the words WHO WAS SEEN IN WHAT SCENE ... AND WHO DID WHAT. The story is then recapped in 6 minutes of simple, minimally animated cartoon images, allowing the names of the many cast members who each appeared in just one scene to be shown in relation to that scene. Some of the crew credits (WHO DID WHAT) are interspersed with the cast credits. The very last thing shown is the film's title. See more »
Well, this film simply is a world wind balloon ride, nothing like your modern day whilrwind baloney rides and that's what I enjoyed most about it: it's simplicity and quiet elegant charm. It's more like a travelogue that treks the globe highlighting the wonders of the world and the stereotypical elements and characters. But then, right there you have to check yourself when you critique it like that, because if you're going to fail to place it in context and in its time, one could even fault Jules Verne's original work for being banal.
So, let's just say that the film through no fault of its own, but rather because of the whole conceptualisation of stereotypes and expected ideas pertaining to the world we live in (e.g. no surprises regarding bisons in America, circus troupes in japan, bullfights in Spain, etc.) that we have now kind of inevitably render a sense of dated backwardness to the film. Yet, let's contextualise it, for technical aspects of the film were superb, the use of set design was phenomenal for one. To recreate on an epic scale the junks of China, the bullrings of Spain and to pat down even the costumes of the 19th Century Colonial era took great effort.
Sure the film was considered big budget material with a $6 million budget but hey, they had to pay for Frank Sinatra, Buster Keaton, a made-up Shirley Maclaine (spray tans didn't even exist then...) and all the celebrity cameos didn't they! Also, even though I was watching a poor quality transfer version (not quite the 1992 Disney re-transfer so hyped about), I found myself gripped by the way in which the script stayed relatively true to the concept of Phileas Fogg (the pedantic timekeeper in true colonial gentleman form), Passpertout (of whom Cantinflas the actor really stole the scenes in this film) and really brought some engaging scenes and panoramic views (not literally for me of course) unseen in film at the time.
The film also serves as quite the time machine-like portal for me now that I've watched it in 2005, where just analysing how films were made and structured (the naievete of it all, etc) in 1956 is as intriguing as watching the content itself. Truly, its main flaw is that it watches as much like a modern day travelogue, simply glossing over the intrinsic sense of adventure and threat or thrills even in the most parts, that really glued the Verne original. There was the sense that the storyline could have better been adapted to screenplay such as in the scene where they rescued the Indian Princess. It could have been filmed to be more exciting, as was the part where Fogg too easily uses deduction to merely relink with Passpertout when it could have been done much more accurately and with twists.
Nonetheless, the best part of this film is that inasmuch as it may not be the perfect adaptation or as entertaining, or even worthy of being compared flawlessly with the original book, it still retains the fundamental touch. What is that? Well, as a fan of the classic, I've always felt Around the World in 80 Days was the definitive guide to being a traveller, whether a universal one, a comfortable one, a backpacker or a thrill-seeker. No matter how one strayed away or lacked story elements, or over dramatised it (i.e. the Pierce Brosnan Mini-Series version), it could never be badly done because it is a story that is based on the universal fact of travel and adventure.
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