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"Around the World in 80 Days" is a nice globetrotting romp, but it loses its excitement in a world where now people can travel the globe in mere hours. David Niven plays an excellent Phileas Fogg and Cantinflas is a refreshing new face showing off his Chaplin-esque abilities as Passepartout. As with many films of the 50's, "Around the World in 80 Days" is more of a spectacle than a film. Producer Todd and director Mike Anderson seem more focused on extravagance rather than plot. However, how much can be done when the goal is to follow Mr. Fogg through his wager-instigated journey? Overall, the film is a good one to save for a rainy day. Some aspects of the film are just unnecessary, such as Passepartout's seemingly unending bullfight or the Spanish flamenco dance. But these scenes are hardly a bother, especially with the neverending list of cameo appearances. Just playing "spot the star" is worth a viewing of the film.
Mike Todd created the movie cameo -- a big star in a bit part. But recognizing the stars in the little parts is just one element of the fun in the film, and even if the viewer doesn't recognize the stars, the film is still enjoyable. Jules Verne's classic is given royal treatment here, and we viewers are taken along for one of the most entertaining quick tours ever conceived. Even the closing credits, which are done as a cartoon retelling of the whole movie, are entertaining.
If you have a chance to read the Jules Verne novel, do so. It's a great story. It is so much more than this glitzy piece of hash. Because Cinerama was such a big deal (the literally put you inside the movie), scenes that were chosen were chosen for their size and excessiveness. Phileas Fogg and Passeportout find themselves in one tough situation after another. The science be damned. It's an Indian tribe or a train or a balloon. Everything is big and colorful. This is fine if there is a really nicely thought out story. Yes, I know he had to get around the world, but each step becomes an excuse for the camera. David Niven is a nice screen presence; he excludes sophistication. Of course, there is a raft of big stars along the way. Some of them work, some just do the cameo thing with very little to do. I'm sure that at the time many were dazzled by this new cinematic technique (which never really caught on). Like the I-max thing, at times it becomes really distracting. Seeing it on the small screen is even more ineffective. The only thing that has this going for it is that it is better than the abomination that features Jackie Chan.
The thing that surprised me about this movie was how big this
production was. Thousands of extras and costumes and dozens of cameo's
in a trip around the world.
Unfortunately the movie has lost some of its power throughout the years. It is beginning to get outdated and it almost seems like a miracle these days that this movie has won 5 Oscar's including the one for best picture in 1957. Especially the pace is outdated, there are some endless long scene's that just don't seem to end and go on and on.
The movie is filled with cameo's (the first movie ever). But I'm ashamed to say that I hardly recognized anyone. We are talking about 1956 here, those who were big stars back then are now long since gone. The only one I recognized was Sir John Gielgud, no I even didn't recognized Frank Sinatra or Marlene Dietrich.
David Niven was in his element and was a great leading man. I can't say that I'm completely happy with the casting choice of Cantinflas as Passepartout but fortunately it doesn't ruin the movie in any way.
The story is great and adventurous, there are countless fun and entertaining moments in this epic production.
It only seems fit that they got Buster Keaton to conduct the train in Around the World in 80 Days. The little General rides again as Buster Keaton is honored with a cameo as his famous role as the train conductor in his early silent film THE GENERAL.
I came into this film with quite high expectations, having read the book and
having a high regard for Niven's abilities on screen...however I was highly
The film is a contradiction in itself - it is too shallow and Fogg appears to leap from one place to the next without really invoking any feeling for where he's at; but it is also too slow and unfocused on what it does include (like that Spanish Flamenco dance that seems to go on for sooooo long).
There is very little character development (and in a film that is three hours long you really do need it), so much so I was hoping that by the time Fogg got to America he would sell Princess and his annoying little Butler to the Indians in return for a script.
True, the photography is outstanding, but a high budget and pretty pictures does not a good film make, as they say. And the bizarre psychadelic credits at the end? How does that conjure up a nice image of Victoriana? Which leads me to conclude that the whole film was an utter mess, not knowing where it wanted to go, how long to stay there and how to communicate it, despite the pots of money that must have been thrown its way. Even trying to place this picture in its original context, I still cannot see why it ended up quite like this.
Spotting the stars was fun, spotting the script was not.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Most Dated: The fact that a 19yr old girl is paired with a 46yr old man
as his future wife was laughable. This is from the days when men could
be the hero well into their 50's and still be paired with a girl about
20, whereas women were past it at 30. The intended humor was not funny
in the least and there really was no urgency or feeling that he was
never going to make it in 80 days- he was the hero after all and "they"
were not. Boring = the length and lack of drama. This film is from the
days when people found a man dressed as a woman hilarious and 3hr+
plot-less films with pictures of "exotic locations" innovative.
If you don't mind being patronized to while watching a very long holiday film, believe that men can get any girl they want who is 30yrs younger than them (just because her husband died and she 'needs' a new man), and don't mind knowing that he makes it in the end feel free to watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Saw this as a kid in school. Really liked it but really thought that
David Niven was way too cold as a fish. And that Niven's Phileas Fogg
though he is that way in the novel. Until Fogg showed some emotion when
he and his valet Passepartout, rescued Shirley McClaine's Auoda from
But still despite Niven IMHO who was the weak link in the movie. Loved Catlinflas as Passepartout. In the novel, he is French but in the movie, he is Spanish. He was big in Mexico until his death but wished he made it in America. Oh well! Still the movie had great scenery and really great all-star cast. This is where the term "cameo appearance" was coined.
Michael Todd the producer of the film would die in a plane crash a year or so after the movie won the Oscar for best pic for 1956. He also was married to Liz Taylor at the time.
This is movie that goes on for 2 hours and keeps you wanting more, for
the journey had beautiful scenery and nice international cast. The
movie stared David Niven as Fogg and Cantinflas as Passepartout.
Both characters being contradictory, Fogg is a gentleman, well-dressed, well-spoken, and extremely punctual, whereas Passepartout was the comic relief in the movie, he loved women and was a jack of all trade, their union boasted of talents and wits that saw them through the entire journey.
This adventure film was produced by Michael Todd and is based on a novel of the same name by Jules Verne.
Well comparing this to the 2004 remake that had Jackie Chan and Steve Coogan is going to be difficult as some of the attributes of Passepartout were given to Fogg making you lose respect for Fogg himself and the 1956 version is far different in the adventures embarked upon by the two compared to those in the 2004 version.
The movie was actually filmed in 75 days and the cast including extras totaled 68,894 people and 7,959 animals. The wardrobe department spent $410,000 to provide 74,685 costumes and 36,092 trinkets.
This movie packed a punch as the producers visited every country that Fogg and Passepartout passed through. The plot is about an English man in 1872 who is a member of the Reform Club, his name is Phileas Fogg (David Niven) he claims he can circumnavigate the world in eighty days.
This made the other member of the Club view his claim as a bogus statement so he makes a £20,000 wager (equal to over £1,000,000 today) with several members of the Reform Club. The wager states that he will arrive back within 80 days before 8:45 pm.
Together with his resourceful valet, Passepartout (Cantinflas), Fogg sets out on his journey which saw him save a princess, battle Indians, and as he was on his journey was named the chief suspect of stolen £55,000 (equal to over £3,000,000 today) from the Bank of England.
This movie's wonderful cinematography was done by Lionel Lindon who won an Academy award for his work and he was involved in the photography of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
The movie won five Academy awards, beating out critically acclaimed films like Friendly Persuasion, The Ten Commandments, Giant, and The King and I. The wins were Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Music and Best Writing, Best Screenplay, Adapted.
This is a movie that is fun to watch and captivating to see.
First, I saw the Spanish cartoon adaptation in the mid-1980s, which can
be quite nice for a kid's first introduction to Verne's legendary tale.
Then I read the novel when I was ten years old, and later I saw this
movie on TV on a Saturday afternoon.I loved it. Years later, I bought a
VHS copy, and only two years ago I got the restored DVD edition, which
comes with a lot of material some of which is interesting and the rest
is a load of nonsense they added up just to have an excuse to produce a
two-disc set. The restored movie runs for 174 minutes against the 160
or so of the old VHS. The newly added sequences are the intermission
and exit music segments and some action shots previously edited that
have been put back. I have to say that I find the film quite slow at
times, with some sequences (the Melies "Journey to the Moon", the
balloon voyage, the Spanish episode and the attack of the Sioux
unnecessarily overlong and quite boring. Still, I also have to say that
the film shines as to production values and its faithfulness to Verne's
novel except for the balloon and the Spanish adventures. And some
members of the cast are just right for their roles; I can not imagine
anyone else but David Niven as Phileas Fogg, and Bobby Newton is
likable as inspector Fix. But then Cantinflas, with all his natural
skills for mimicry and his ability to talk like a gun-machine without
saying anything solid, is a bit out of place here, since he talks
Spanish at times instead of French, which is the nationality his
character is supposed to be. And Shirley MacLaine,fresh from "The
Trouble with Harry", seems to have been passing by when Mike Todd
spotted her and immediately pulled out his chequebook and signed her in
on the spot. But then, as a consolation, some of the cameos are a real
delight: Coward, Gielgud,Boyer, Dietrich, Gingold, Mills... And it is
John Carradine the one who stills every scene he is in, as the
bullying, cigar-smoker, vulgarian Yank. He is very funny, and brings
the best laughs in the film.
Anyway, despite of its flaws and of being unnecessarily overlong, this film still is one of my favourite adventure epics of all time. I haven't seen the Jackie Chan - Steve Coogan remake, nor I intend to. Call me old-fashioned if you like, but I believe that in the old days movies looked much nicer and less fake than they do today courtesy of the CGI rubbish.
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