|Page 5 of 11:||          |
|Index||108 reviews in total|
WARNING: These comments may reveal portions of the film's
With David Niven as Phineas Fogg, you will find that this version of the Jules Verne story is almost as broad as the subject of the film -- "around the world."
As is often said, they don't make them like this anymore. According to the brief description in AMC's viewer guide, the film was shot on location in 13 countries with 75,000 costumes and 70,000 extras -- and it shows! Look at the list of credited and uncredited actors in the IMDB and you'll be hard pressed to find a film with more leading and character actors. Just spotting the faces of the classic actors in the film is a game in itself.
Another aspect that will show dramatically is that some sequences are incredibly camp -- they are obviously cut from travelog movies of the day. And in many cases where the footage was shot new, it still has that flair.
Where the film succeeds best is when it goes for the comedic bits. Watch the scene in the saloon out west, where Mr. Fogg's valet, Passepartout runs into Red Skelton as a drunk while listening to Frank Sinatra play the piano!
Overall, most will find the film a bit long. The many scenes that are shot from the point of view of the actors simply "watching the scenery go by" drag the film. Even some of the action scenes run long. When Passepartout must fight a bullfight early in the film, the fight goes on and on and on. Hang on for the funny bits in the film -- and the cameos -- and you can't go wrong. Enjoy the scenery!
This has got to be one of the most delight comedies ever made. I totally
agree with one comment that says "Around the World in 80 Days like a fine
wine, it gets better with age". Featuring fine performances from David
Nivven, Cantinflas, and the rest of the cast in this wonderful movie about a
man and his servant who try and travel around the world in just eighty days.
This movie oddly enough was 175 minutes long and in all honestly I didn't
believe that for second when I first heard because it really only seemed
like 88 minutes. One of the most fun, wittiest, and delightful films of all
time and that's coming from a person who adores film and has seen plenty in
his (my) day. I do not recall the last time I had so much fun while watching
a movie, it's basically just one big fun fest! The cinematography and
photography are unarguably some of the best ever in any film. How anyone
could call this film boring is beyond me. It is fun, witty, delightfully
written, directed, and as I already mentioned acted. The score is also a
work of genius. See this film, then see it again. If you hate it, well, then
you need to lighten up a bit (no offense intended).
Final Grade: ***** (out of 5)
This is a bit dated by now, but still not a bad film to watch. It seems
like more of a travelogue than anything else, at this point. Frankly,
at three hours and being a mid-50s film, I thought it might be too slow
in too many spots but that was not the case. Only the bullfighting
scene went on too long. The rest kept my interest.
David Niven gets top billing but the real star of the show is "Cantinflas," a Spanish actor who, to my knowledge, only made it big in this movie.....at least in this country. He is very likable and entertaining. The only thing is he is not always easy to understand. I used English subtitles a few times when he spoke.
Niven played his normal stiff-neck Brit role. Thank goodness we don't see those, "I say, old bean" characters from GB anymore. However, I have always appreciated the British vocabulary, so much more refined than here in North America. Shirley MacLaine was so young I didn't recognize her. Of course, she made it difficult to spot her playing a brown-skinned Indian princess.
In all, decent entertainment but one that might bore a lot of people today, which is probably why they did a re-make. I haven't seen the re-make, but I'll bet it isn't as good as this movie.
Having previously watched The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze and the Jackie Chan version, I watched this Best Picture Oscar winner recently on a plane from Korean Air. It's very long with some amusing scenes from comic Cantinflas. David Niven is his charming British self and Shirley MacLaine does adequately well in only her third film role. There are lots of Star cameos of which the most disappointing was from Buster Keaton who for some reason doesn't do any stunts with Cantinflas when the latter runs on the running train. Modern film audiences may get bored with the Edward R. Murrow intro which explains the history of some of the original book's premise and shows some early film versions of fantastic air travel stories (like A Trip to the Moon) though I was interested in that segment. Overall, Around the World in Eighty Days was pretty enjoyable if maybe overlong for its own good.
Adaptation of Jules Verne's novel about a Victorian Englishman (David
Niven) who bets that with the new steamships and railways he can do
what the title says.
What is most interesting about this film is that it is science fiction. Today (2015) it seems historical, but at the time the story was written it was quite a feat to circle the earth in 80 days. Now, it can be done in 80 hours (or less).
The film has some down sides, notably the length (over three hours). This could probably be helped by cutting the intermission and the "Trip to the Moon" segment. There is also the strange casting of Peter Lorre as Japanese (though this is far from the first time).
Around the World in 80 Days is the 1956 adaptation of the Jules Verne
novel of the same name. We follow the eccentric, particular, and
peculiar Victorian gentleman, Phileas Fogg. By particular, I mean, he
orders that his breakfast be served at 8:37, not 8:36 or 8:38, and that
his toast be precisely 87 degrees. As with most gentlemen around that
time he has a valet to help him with his day to day tasks but because
he is so difficult he's gone through half a dozen in five months. His
latest valet is an earnest, Spanish acrobat named Passepartout. Now,
the journey begins when Fogg bets his fellow Reform Club members that
he can go around the world in 80 days. Hence the name. They visit
places like Madrid, Pakistan, Thailand, Japan and it was filmed on
location in many of these places.
At 167 minutes, this is a long movie and it feels like it. When the group is in Madrid, Passepartout takes part in a really lengthy bull fight. Being from 1956, before I saw it I anticipated a musical. That would explain the length, I thought. That's one of those things about musicals around that time. There is always a song followed by an extended dancing sequence. Not that there is anything wrong with dancing but, you know, after a while, let's just keep the movie going. But Around the World in 80 days is not a musical. Instead of dancing sequences, they have parades which are used to showcase a given culture. This is something interesting about this movie too. It provides an opportunity for the 1950's audience to see cultures around the world. There are lots of very relaxing shots with the camera mounted on the front of a train as it passes through the landscape.
Now, this is 1956 after all, and being 1956 you have the problematic racism and sexism that you'd expect. For example, when the group goes through the jungle somewhere in India, they come across a group of cannibals who are sacrificing an Indian Princess, played by the ever so Indian Shirley McClaine. When the groups goes through America, they encountered a group of the Sioux or as the movie calls them "violent red skins." It was one of those movies that I just had to say "it was a different time."
Something that struck me as odd was the massive number of cameos. If you look at the wikipedia page for this movie there is a whole section devoted to just the cameos. Frank Sinatra for example is a piano player in a Wild West saloon. He's on screen for maybe a second and has no lines. He just turns around and smiles. I only recognized a couple of people but I'm sure it would be fun if I knew more of them.
The acting overall is good. I liked David Niven as Fogg. He is persnickety but at the same time endearing. Passepartout is a really nice character too. He's like a Spanish acrobatic Charlie Chaplin. The whole tone of this movie is that of a lighthearted adventure.
Would I recommend Around the World in 80 days? Because it is colorful and long, I can see it projected on a wall to be a backdrop for a party. I once went to a club where Rapmania the Roots of Rap was projected over the bar. Rapmania is a hip hop concert from the mid-nineties. While it was projected on the wall, current music was being played over the speakers. Nobody was really watching the movie unless they were using as a break from conversation or if they were sitting at the bar. It served as a sort of visual stimulation. On it's own though, because it is rather racist and sexist and very long, I wouldn't really recommend it.
Time has dulled my memory of this film. Bought the restored DVD a few weeks ago and began watching it last night. And it is one of those odd films that was great in 1956 when travel was new and the audience unsophisticated. What struck me today is now simple it really is. Some locations, London, Paris and Spain are gorgeous, plus local to Europe. The music is grand, and it works like a charm. As soon as the film departs Spain, we enter (a) Hollywood backlot sets and (b) traveloge territory where all too long we are treated to gorgeous, and dull, camera shots of distant countries while Niven and Company are off screen. Only Europe and America are really used in real-time sets. The rest is amazingly artificial. Now, I love Cantinflas who is a wonderful clone of Chaplin in this film - blood cousin to the Tramp. Niven is precise and perfect. MacClaine is rather wasted and dear Robert Newton is a treasure. Victor Young's score is ideal. BUT SINCE WE ARE on Verne in 1956, turn the page to 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA and we have Verne done RIGHT!!! Disney's best action film ever, and far superior to Todd's globe trotting epic. So watch this 1956 memory with some careful planning. Be prepared, your memory may be better off to keep without spoiling it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Lots of money, effort, and publicity on display in this story of an
fastidious British gentleman, David Niven, who manages to use the
technology of the Victorian era to travel, well, around the world in 80
days, with sidekick Cantinflas, and picking up Princess Shirley
MacLaine along the way. Producer Michael Todd put everything he had
It was a tremendous splash at the time using a special projective technique, plenty of music that went into a best-selling album, and the face of every recognizable actor of every nationality imaginable. There are theatrical knights in abundance. Let's see. There's Sir John Gielgud, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Sir John Mills, and Sir Frank Sinatra.
Now, fifty-six years after its release, it's hard to see what all the fuss was about. It's BIG of course, but it more or less had to be. What was happening in 1955 to the movie industry? It was being replaced by television and studios were desperate for novelty, something the audience couldn't find on their small black and white sets at home -- in this case, a MAGNIFICOLOR extravaganza in TODD-A-OMG-VISION! Look -- there's Marlene Dietrich! And that's the guy, what's his name, the sergeant from that John Ford cavalry movie! Gosh! The problem with the flick is that it's really designed to elicit gasps from a family audience. Not laughs, not thrills, not clenched teeth. You're supposed to sit back as at a travelogue and marvel at the sights of a Spanish bullfight, in which a clumsy Cantinflas taunts a bull while trying to hold his pants up (ha ha), and a painted elephant in India, and all kinds of definitely retrograde stereotypes -- bullfights, flamenco dancers (good ones), thugee, suttee, jabbering Chinese, bowing Japanese, a steamboat that has to destroy itself to provide its own fuel, hostile American Indians attacking a train, a rescue by the cavalry. It all must have been thrilling if you'd never seen it before, but in order not to have seen it before you'd have to be no more than fifteen years old.
There are some smiles. Here's the one that got to me. The opening scene is in one of those stuffy, tradition-ridden English gentleman's clubs. The figures are mostly motionless. The gentlemen sit playing whist or reading newspapers. No one is speaking. A cat pads through the room. And one gentleman complains to a steward, "Can't you stop that animal from stomping around?" I wish there had been more jokes or physical gags. I wish it wouldn't depend so heavily on a viewer's ability to be astounded by all the production values and the innumerable cameos. Want to see a more entertaining movie along the same lines? See "The Great Race."
When this film was first released, it had publicity galore. It got
everyone talking about it, and its p/r campaign was full of flashy
marketing. It's flamboyant producer, Mike Todd, dominated the
spotlight, and his then marriage to Elizabeth Taylor helped to buoy
this massive enterprise.
Unfortunately, the picture hasn't aged very well. When first viewed on the huge, pristine Tood A-O screen (specially set up in key cinemas) the overall visual effect was really quite thrilling. Now that the original screening technology is gone, the film is revealed to be more of an elaborate travelogue with added dramatic touches.
Cantinflas doesn't come off all that well, probably due to the language barrier. What foreign audiences saw in him may be based on their knowledge and appreciation of his foreign films.
I'll never forget the brazen quality of the film's Oscar celebration, with Todd renting out Madison Square Garden. A particular episode with Mike and Liz on a carriage-go-round, tossing out cake to the worshipful attendees, tends to stick in my memory bank of absurd past moments.
Still, all these are side line items; the real thing is the film, and on that score it now rates a grade of B-.
On a bet, 19th century British gentleman David Niven (as Phileas Fogg)
and his Mexican servant Cantinflas (as Passepartout) circumnavigate the
globe in eighty days. During the interminable running time, they rescue
Indian impersonator Shirley MacLaine (as Princess Aouda) from a deadly
traditional rite; and, they defend themselves against Robert Newton (as
Mr. Fix), who thinks Niven stole some money.
Michael Todd definitely makes this film a TODD-AO spectacle. The expense shows. But, there is no strong, sustaining story or comedy. The main interest could be cameo-spotting. Don't pass the bar scene, with Marlene Dietrich, George Raft, Red Skeleton, and Frank Sinatra. Alas, you won't see Bing Crosby, Greta Garbo, or Elizabeth Taylor. The award-winning Victor Young soundtrack music is a major strength.
***** Around the World in Eighty Days (10/17/56) Michael Todd : Cantinflas, David Niven, Robert Newton, Shirley MacLaine
|Page 5 of 11:||          |
|External reviews||Parents Guide||Plot keywords|
|Main details||Your user reviews||Your vote history|