When Phileas Fogg is challenged to prove his contention that a man can go around the world in 80 days, he bets his entire fortune and leaves with a new butler on a world tour. This Victorian adventure has a kicker, the bank of England has been robbed. Is this Fogg's way of avoiding arrest? The detective following him believes so, and his butler is becoming unsure. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
(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)
Some sources list Ava Gardner as one of the cameo performers in this film. It is unclear whether or not she may have contributed to the film with her performance being cut, or whether this is simply an error. See more »
When Passepartout is trying to escape the Sioux Indians on horseback, his horse leaves a trail of dust. At one point, it is obvious that two scenes were filmed and spliced together as the dust pattern changes instantly. A large rock in the background provides a shadow to fully observe this. See more »
Around the World in 80 Days is part comedy and part demonstration of a new wide-screen process. I saw it in its original run at the old Rivoli Theater in New York, where the screen ran from 48th St. to 49th St. People gasped at the size of the screen when the curtains opened, before the film even got underway.
If you watch the new 16x9 DVD on anything less than a 50-inch television, the visual composition and the pacing are absolutely incomprehensible, and you're on your own to seize on the many little things that are there to entertain you. But as a whole, the film loses its reason for being when viewed on a conventional TV.
David Niven is unbeatable as Phileas Fogg, Shirley Maclaine is implausible but slyly humorous as the Princess, Robert Newton appears sober most of the time and hammy all of it as Inspector Fix.
Cantinflas is inexplicable as Passepartout, except perhaps as Mike Todd's attempt to corral the entire Latin American market. The Mexican comedian's English is very shaky; it slows him down, and his clarity comes and goes and makes me wonder if Paul Frees didn't replace a lot of his lines. At any rate, only in the seemingly improvised encounter with Red Skelton at a buffet does Cantinflas do anything remotely humorous, and there he's the straight man.
The cameos are fun, and if you're too young to know who all these geezers are, it's worth it to find out, and use the IMDb to track down the work that made them famous. I remember the shriek the original audience let out when the piano player was revealed to be Frank Sinatra.
Viewing the film now, I was most moved to see Edmund Lowe and Victor McLaglan reunited in the engine room of the Henrietta, thirty years after they riveted the industry in "What Price Glory?" Buster Keaton concentrates really hard in his appearance as the train conductor, to excellent effect. A. E. Matthews gives a terrific acting lesson in saying "no" a half a dozen times in a London sequence.
Among the original bettors, locate Ronald Squire with the drooping mustache, hollow nasal baritone, and a slouching relaxation while performing that was a marvel - Rex Harrison publicly admired Ronald Squire's ease on stage all his life. In fact, Squire is so relaxed he makes someone like Dean Martin seem uptight.
So, this film is an unusual case - requiring patience for lots of little joys on the small screen, but making sense only on a large one.
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