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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Based on Jules Verne's classic novel, Phileas Fogg bets that he can travel around the world in 80 days during the Victorian Era. People have complained over the years over the fact that this film won the Oscar for Best Picture, beating out films like The Ten Commandments, Giant, and The King and I, and while I would have given the award to Ten Commandments, I will gladly admit that I can see why the Academy would give this the big winner. It's got what the Academy loves in a movie; sweeping cinematography and a wonderful adventure story. It's amazing seeing how this film was made in the Todd-AO techniques, as it was amazingly filmed. There were some amazing performances along the way, like David Niven as Fogg, Shirley Maclaine as the Indian princess, Cantinflas as Fogg's assistant, and Robert Newton as Inspector Fix. Plus there's a ton of massive celebrity cameos along the way, like Charles Coburn, Frank Sinatra, Hermione Gingold, and Buster Keaton. It may not have the best reputation in the modern era, but as for me, I was really impressed with this motion picture.
Around the World in 80 days is a comical adaptation of one of the
classic works by Julio Verne, which was great and is a universally
acclaimed writer for being one of the most important personalities in
the literature history. So, making an adaptation of a classic by such
an artist is better be good, right? Yes. I can imagine how great and
kinda groundbreaking this film was in its release time, back in 1956.
But nowadays, it is irrelevant. Firstly, this film is very outdated.
Not because of the visual effects, that are outdated, but not that
much, I mean, comparing with other films made in the time, this one
aged very well, but the kind of humor used in there
come on. I doubt
if even the people that lived in the 50s would find this film any
funny. It's so dull, and childish, it challenges both the patience and
the intelligence of the viewer. You know that kind of childish jokes
used in that cartoon named 'wood-pecker'? Right. The jokes in this film
looks exactly like that. The kind of jokes that you laugh your ass off
when you are in the age of 6. This is the kind of humor in the film.
For an allegedly comedy film, that is very bad, I must say. I know,
comedy is subjective and etc. but I really doubt if anyone will find
funny the humor in this film nowadays, since the standards are
completely different. The story still interesting to a certain extent,
it has some intelligent points, like the critic against the modern man,
and about the English way in general. I really liked that part. It's an
important redeem value. And say whatever you want, but I liked a lot
the main character and I thought that the acting was good. The guy was
funny, but he never lost the serious essence of his character. A great
work, in my opinion. The rest, meh. I can live without them.
One thing that was also ruined due the time was the traveling and the nature appreciation presented in the film. It's so outdated. Nothing on it is spectacular or wonderful like is intended to be. The cinematography on this film, by nowadays standard, is average at best. Some of the scenes were clearly made into a studio, is obvious the presence of a painted background in most scenes which are supposed to be passing on other countries. The music was cheesy and annoying. Being said, the visual effect's weren't at all that bad, again, I'm taking in consideration the fact that most films at the time couldn't accomplish the technical level reached in this film.
Anyway, it's not a boring film, despite being very long,and for those who are fans of cameos, certainly won't be disappointed with the film.It don't requires any kind of concentration or whats or ever from the viewer. But I'm certainly not spending my time to watch it again. After all, it's a popcorn flick. And I generally hate popcorn flicks, specifically if they are as outdated as that one. 6.2/10
*** 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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First I saw the Spanish cartoon adaptation in 1984, which can be quite nice for a kid's first introduction to Verne's legendary tale. Then I read the novel, and later I saw this movie on TV on a Saturday afternoon, and 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 restored film quite slow at times, with some sequences like 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 sequence and the Spanish adventure. 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, Hardwick, Gingold, Lorre, Mills... But it is John Carradine the one who stills the movie as the cigar smoker, vulgarian Yank. Anyway, despite its flaws this film still is one of my favourite adventure epics of all time. In the old days movies looked much nicer and less fake than they do today courtesy of CGI crap.
This is one of those movies that suffers when viewed on a small screen.
Made during a time when television posed a huge threat to the film
industry, "Around the World in 80 Days" is a spectacle if there ever
was one, a showcase of gorgeous cinematography and production values
which can be appreciated nowhere else but in the theater.
The acting and story were obviously of lesser importance than all the visuals. David Niven does a good job playing the quintessential British gentleman, and Cantinflas gives the most memorable performance as his comedic servant. The only lacking performance is given by Shirley MacLaine as Aouda, not only because she looks nothing like she's from India, but because she's uninteresting and never brings her character to life. There's also dozens of cameos sprinkled throughout, which are fun to look for if you're familiar with classic Hollywood personalities.
For those who don't mind style over substance, "Around the World in 80 Days" is a treat indeed. If you're not one of those people, then hold off unless you ever get to see it on the big screen, where one can most appreciate all the film has to offer.
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.
As I watched "Around the World in Eighty Days" tonight, I noticde that
it is a beautiful and spectacular film. The first time I tried seeing
it was on a 25" TV--this time it's on a 58" one and the beauty is much
more obvious. Too bad I couldn't have seen this on the big screen using
the amazing 70mm cameras. And, if they brought it back to the theaters,
I might be tempted to see it that way--even though the film does have
I've got to be honest here, I tried watching this film years ago and gave up on it. The only reason I am watching it through to the end now is that I would like to eventually see all the Best Picture winners--even the incredibly overblown ones. This brings me to a pet peeve I have. I HATE films that feature a bazillion cameos. I find that often the plethora of stars tend to get in the way of the story and often soak up a huge portion of the budget--leaving precious little for writing. Some of the stars in the film are very international in flavor and I never would have recognized them the first time I tried to see this movie 25 years ago. Now, after having seen and reviewed a ridiculous number of films, I was actually excited by some of these casting decisions. Catinflas, though completely unknown in America did some marvelous little comedies in Mexico--and he is the other reason I chose to try watching the movie again. I was to see Fernandel (who also made many wonderful films--in France and Italy). But, I was also maddened because his cameo as a hack driver was so short and unfunny--completely wasting his wonderful comedic talents. And this trend continued for several more of the cameo--wonderful actors who really have nothing to do and are pretty much wasted.
At least 30 minutes could have and should have been cut from the film. I am NOT against long films...if they are well-paced. Too many times in this movie, however, scenes just unfold way too slowly--such as when the balloon is going over the Alps. A VERY LONG period of nice music and shots of the balloon are shown--when it really seemed interminably long. This reminded me of the major problem with "Star Trek: The Motion Picture"--too many unnecessarily long shots which killed the film's momentum. The bullfighting scene is also one that goes on and on and on and could have been 1/3 as long. Many other such examples followed.
So is it a great film? No. I agree with another reviewer who felt the movie got an Oscar for Best Picture simply because it was such a spectacle--not because it was especially good. It's one of the weaker Best Picture films of the era, in my opinion. However, I must give the film its due. The movie is beautiful in every way--great costumes, amazing locations and sets, breathtaking cinematography and a scope that cannot really be matched. But, it is also very, very , very long with poor pacing, suffers from an overuse and wasting of cameos and just isn't that interesting. Catinflas was a very gifted and funny man--here you don't get a great sense of that at all. Likewise, David Niven was a very fine actor--but here he's more like set dressing and you don't get to see him at his best.
Before I conclude, let's talk about the cameos. With all the many cameos, why did they pick Shirley MacLaine to play an Indian princess?! Talk about bizarre casting! And why have Frank Sinatra in a cameo that takes two seconds and he just turns and smiles at the camera?! I don't get it. And what was with John Carradine?! Even for him he over-acted horribly.
*** 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."
I have to admit I kind of liked this movie. The book is better of course, but this version is better than the 2004 film. There may be those who say it is overlong. The film is long admittedly, but I think a film adaptation of the book needs to be long to do any kind of justice to it. I do agree with those who complain about the pace, when I first saw this film, I admit I found it hard to get into initially as it goes by at a snail's pace. Most of the film is entertaining and colourful, but some scenes are dull or overlong, the bull-fighting scene is the perfect example of both. That said, the direction is fine, and despite complaints of it being dated the film does look great with great cinematography and colourful sets and costumes. The music is terrific, the script has its good moments and the story is interesting. Another notable strong asset is the cast. David Niven a likable lead, but the real joys are in the cameos, Robert Newton is especially good here. Overall, maybe not best picture winner for me, but I actually found this film interesting. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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