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Around the World in 80 Days
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Around the World in 80 Days More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Mike Todd's big gamble paid off, and includes a timeless theme song.

8/10
Author: weezeralfalfa from United States
3 February 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I clearly remember when this was released. The exotic locales and numerous frustrating impediments to achieving the goal of circumnavigating the world in 80 days, in 1872, by various conventional and unconventional means, climaxed by the unexpected ending, provided a generally exciting drama for a kid of those times. The cameo appearances of various very well known or somewhat familiar actors added to the appeal, as did the very memorable theme song. You have to remember that nearly all TVs were B&W then, and travelogue programs weren't that numerous.

This film was the baby of the innovative, compulsive gambling, Mike Todd: his only conventional feature film that he produced, which needed to be a big financial success to wipe out his massive debts from gambling and lavish lifestyle. Having previously financed a stage version of the subject, which was a big financial flop, he nearly went bankrupt before finishing this promising version. Having previously been involved in the commercialization of the 3-camera Cinerama film process, Todd had joined with American Optical Company to develop a single camera wide angle version, which included 6 sound tracts, dubbed Todd-AO, which was first used in the production of the spectacularly successful musical "Oklahoma". It's second use was for the present film. We can readily see the influence of Todd's experience with Cinerama in the splendid travelogue visuals.

In recent times, TCM has shown this film occasionally. I stopped to rewatch it in it's entirety. David Niven was, of course, perfect for the role of the unbelievably stiff, robotic, Fogg, who represents an extreme version of the time, speed, and money-obsessed modern man. Inexplicably, he hires his virtual opposite in the happy-go-lucky Latino Passepartout(Cantinflas) as his valet and traveling companion., who provides a window into various adventures in various exotic lands that the ever robotic Fogg couldn't provide....Robert Newton has a typical villain role, as a detective, who is sure Fogg was the mastermind behind a large Bank of London heist, the day before Fogg left on the journey. This clearly non-aristocratic sleuth is bent on foiling Fogg's attempt to circle the globe on time to win the prize, as well as arresting him at a convenient time. By forcing Fogg to spend a night in jail in London at the terminus of the journey, before learning that he was not the guilty party, Newton's Mr. Fix is finally clearly fingered as the chief villain of the tale, saved only by Cantinflas's subsequent discovery that it's a day earlier than Fogg assumed. This was Newton's last film role, after establishing himself as the archetypical pirate of the Golden Age of Piracy, in several pirate films. It was clear that his liver wouldn't hold out much longer. Too bad, as he was such a charismatic heavy.

As she later admitted, Shirley MacLaine was miscast as the very young Indian widow rescued by Fogg from being forced to burn to death atop her deceased husband's funeral pyre. She didn't look or speak anything like a typical Indian, and she contributed virtually nothing to the interest of the film, after her rescue by Continflas. True, her part was underwritten. The suggestion of a marriage with Fogg , at the end, looks problematic. She is grateful for his? rescue and addition to the traveling group. He seems agreeable, perhaps out of pity. I just wonder if a middle-aged man of his extreme type could alter his persona sufficiently to make an appealing mate, aside from his obvious wealth(of undetermined origin). Just what he normally did with his time is left unexplored.

Like the subsequent "Moon River", the theme song "Around the World" is a very memorable soothing inspirational waltz, which was played ad nauseam throughout the film as background, including multiple arrangements during the intermission. Unlike "Moon River", it very surprisingly wasn't nominated for Best Original Film Song. I suspect this is partly because no lyrics were sung during the film, although they soon appeared in various single recordings released. However, Victor Young did receive the Oscar for best original score in a non-musical, and since this was the only original song in the film, this serves as sort of a consolation award for the song. I consider it more addictive than "Moon River", and I'm sure it added significantly to the case for voting this as the best film of the year.

The section where the party is trying to make their way across the western US comes across as sort of a western, including several encounters with Native Americans while on a train, a loudmouthed trigger-happy pest in John Carridine, a near train wreck while crossing a rickety trestle being destroyed by flood waters, and an improvised sail--powered(supposedly) rail maintenance hand car, when no train was available in the near term. Incidentally, sail-powered rail cars were tried in the early days of rails, but proved impractical. Fogg's bunch presumably lucked out in having a steady prairie wind in the desired direction.

Incidentally, the aristocratic Reform Club, of which Fogg was a member, and which was the initiator of the prize for achieving his goal, is based upon a real London club, whose original purpose was to promote reform of the House of Commons, later to become a bastion of the Liberal Party.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful Cinematic Adventure!

9/10
Author: martinjacob49 from United States
12 February 2014

*** 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.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great but All Awesome!

8/10
Author: ShelbyTMItchell from Seymour Tennessee
10 March 2013

*** 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 the fire.

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.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Interesting

7/10
Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
11 January 2011

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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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Around the World in Eighty Days

7/10
Author: Jackson Booth-Millard from United Kingdom
8 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I will admit I saw the Disney/Jackie Chan remake before seeing this original, but this one feels completely different, and much more extravagant, from Oscar and Golden Globe nominated director Michael Anderson (Logan's Run). Basically not very emotional Phileas Fogg (David Niven) has a bet for his entire fortune with the Gentlemen's Club that he get around the world in 80 days. So with his faithful butler Passepartout (Golden Globe nominated Cantinflas), they begin their journey by hot air balloon to reach Paris, given to them by Thomas cook after missing their train to Marseilles. This balloon actually takes them to Spain, and they get their new transport on a ship with Passepartout's bullfighting skills. On their journey, they keep bumping into Mr. Fix (Robert Newton) who is trying to slow them down, or better yet stop the from succeeding. Next is the Indian jungles, where the butler's skills are needed again to rescue beautiful Princess Aouda (Shirley MacLaine) from being burned alive. Going on to Hong Kong, getting involved with a few drugs, and then to the United States of America, where the wild wild west kicks in with cowboys and Indians. Along the journey Fogg is keeping an eye on the schedule, and slowly he and the Princess are falling for each other, an emotion he wouldn't have expected. There is the point where they think they have reached day 80 and failed, but Fogg forgets the time changing from country to country, and manges to win the bet in the end, just in time. Also starring and with cameos from Noël Coward as Hesketh-Baggott, Trevor Howard as Denis Fallentin, Robert Morley as Gauthier Ralph, Charles Boyer as Monsieur Gasse, Marlene Dietrich as Saloon Hostess, Peter Lorre as Steward, Sir John Mills as Carriage Driver, Frank Sinatra as Saloon Pianist, John Carradine as Colonel Proctor Stamp, Buster Keaton as Train Conductor, Sir John Gielgud as Foster/Fosdyke, Batman's Cesar Romero as Achmed Abdullah's Henchman, Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Sir Francis Cromarty, Red Skelton as Drunk in Saloon and Mary Poppins' Glynis Johns as Sporting Lady's Companion, with prologue narration by Edward R. Murrow. It may be a little too long, but Niven and Cantinflas make a good travelling duo, the many cameo appearances make for good viewing, but the it is the location filming that ultimately dominates this adventure, with a vast array of countries and colours lighting up the screen. It won the Oscars for Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Music for Victor Young, Best Writing, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture, and it was nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Costume Design, and it won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Drama. Very good!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The fascination of the railway age

8/10
Author: L. Denis Brown (ldbrown1@shaw.ca) from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
14 July 2009

In 1954, now more than half a century ago, Mike Todd produced and directed this very fine film of the novel written by Jules Verne in 1872. It won many awards including five Oscars, and remains an outstanding work of art, but unfortunately it is not widely known to film enthusiasts today. At the time it was created the film industry felt itself threatened by colour television leading to film studio bosses launching wide-screen cinema, hopefully to differentiate 'artistic' cinema from 'plebeian' television. Progressively more exotic 'improved' wide-screen presentations became increasingly de rigeur for new films, and Mike himself was largely responsible for developing one of these, called Todd AO. This film was the second of only two that were released in this new format in its originally designed 30 f.p.s. mode. A small number of major cities had cinemas built to show such films in all their glory, but most of those who saw them when first released watched them in cinemas that, although adapted, seldom showed them as intended.

Quite spectacular at first sight, any letterbox format can unfortunately prove distressing when used for extended viewing.. Artists, who have more sensitivity to the acceptability of visual presentations than most people, probably create a majority of their images in portrait format. Works in landscape format come in a variety of aspect ratios, but these are never extreme. Only panoramic murals usually have aspect ratios comparable with wide-screen cinema images, and whilst they may be great art who would want to visit an art gallery simply to view murals? There is a reason for this - the work of the vast majority of artists is designed to occupy acceptance angles similar to those of the human eye because our brain has evolved to process the information in such images in a balanced way. We can handle an exceptional aspect ratio image once in a while without mental distress, but the continued presentation of extreme aspect ratio images causes mental stress that is quite incompatible with an entertainment medium. This has led to the creation of many very fine movies we do not want to view at home in their original 'letterbox' format, that only adapt with considerable difficulty for effective display on home video systems. Unfortunately "Around the World in 80 days" is one of these films.

We can easily understand what happened to this great film during the half century since it made its first dramatic impact on the entertainment scene of its day. TV is now struggling to develop its own near wide-screen presentations, whilst the true large screen cinema has given way to several small more intimate auditoria in which different films appealing to different audiences can be presented simultaneously, usually in formats just meeting bread and butter standards. It is quite amusing to look back on these changes, but unfortunately they were not kind to what was one of the great films of its decade. I am not interested in triviata, such as the fact that Mike Todd did not have modern computers to create his special effects. Regardless of such concerns, if properly presented, this remains a great film that can still 'knock the socks off' most of the junk we are invited to watch today, but for a considerable time it almost disappeared from circulation. Finally in 2004 Warner released a DVD version for home viewing, formatted with its original aspect ratio of 2.2 : 1. Whilst quite kindly received by critics, this DVD suffers severely from the original decision to use such an extreme visual presentation. DVD's can be viewed on a wide range of domestic equipment, but computer monitors usually provide better definition than standard TV receivers in small rooms, and my preferred choice at home is a wide-screen computer monitor with a 1.6 : 1 aspect ratio. Remembering watching the film when first released with something akin to awe, I bought a copy of this DVD, but found it very disappointing to watch. Its letterbox format is not designed to be viewed as a small image a few feet from where one is sitting, the composition of the image is far too complex - I finally concluded that my awed recollections must have been due to lower expectations when relatively young, - it could not be such a great film after all.

I did not watched the film again for a very long time, but this week I noticed there was a TV showing coming up on Encore Avenue. Initially I paid little attention, after all even my DVD had been a disappointment........... At the last minute I just wondered - perhaps this showing was based on the modified version which had been properly formatted for TV viewing. I turned it on with 2 minutes to spare - expecting to turn it off again almost immediately. Then joy of joys, I had a really good picture on the 1.6 : 1 computer monitor I use for TV viewing. I quickly turned the recorder on, and now at last I have a disk of this film to treasure. It is even better than I actually remembered, I was quite frankly amazed by how many clever little sequences I now remember savouring 50 years ago, which never even caught my eye when I was watching the DVD, again became clearly evident during this TV presentation.

If you have not seen this film delay no longer, the DVD is still obtainable at a cost of about $25; but unless you have a very expensive widescreen TV in a very large living room or home theatre, my advice is to steer well clear of it and buy one of the old VHS tapes that are still widely listed by mail order suppliers, often at prices as low as a buck.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

What a Great Trip!

9/10
Author: grandpagbm from United States
3 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a superb movie. From the introduction by Edward R. Murrow, to the animated credits at the end, it is one continuous fabulous film. The cameo appearances in the film are fantastic, including almost everyone who was anyone in movies at the time (slight exaggeration, but it includes such stars as Frank Sinatra, Gilbert Roland, Andy Devine, John Carradine, George Raft, and Marlene Dietrich, among many others). The music is excellent, and the photography is outstanding. It is sort of a high-class travelogue, and even includes many scenes using the Durango & Silverton Railroad (a train I have ridden a couple of times). Based on the book by Jules Verne, it is a great adventure story, although quite fanciful. The stars, David Niven, Cantinflas, and Shirley MacLaine, were perfectly cast. I will watch this film again many times.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good in DVD, but hypnotic in 70 mm!

10/10
Author: garyrcamp@aol.com
2 April 2008

Around the World in 80 Days (1956) may seem good on DVD, particularly if you have a home theater, great sound, and sit close, BUT it was HYPNOTIC when projected from a 70 mm print in Todd-AO. I saw it many times that way during its long run (well over a year) in San Francisco in 1956-1957. It was one of the few films (along with 2001: A Space Odyssey) that used 70mm, and a huge deeply curved screen suggesting the arc of vision in a way that produced a truly mesmerising effect. At the time, people discussed whether the screen filling spinning world globe near the end of Edward R. Murrow's prologue could have produced true hypnotism, but, no it was just the magnificent photography, the engulfing nature of Todd-AO, the extremely powerful, involving sound (a 114 piece orchestra and 6 channel stereo, warmer and probably better than today's digital), and the high level of audience involvement.

If a fully restored 70 mm print is ever shown in one of the few remaining 70 mm theaters (e.g., in Seattle, Wash), I urge you to go!

See http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/ and http://in70mm.com/

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

must see for all ages

9/10
Author: raj sub from India
10 July 2007

What a lovely movie if you consider the year of production... certainly one of the top 100 movies of all time. music,dance,acting,adventure,comedy,performance,costumes,production value all in one movie... particularly the DVD collector's version is marvelously . This movie crosses the time barrier and provides entertainment to all. Particularly I enjoyed the music and colour cinematography of this movie. It is watchable across generations. The Spanish comedian and supporting actor appears to have lots of skills avoiding dupE IN BULL FIGHT SCENES. What a great producer TODD is. I understand he has produced only one movie but his contribution to the film world is huge.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

My comments on the Accuracy of this Production

8/10
Author: durrant4145@rogers.com from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
23 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This production hews very closely to the original novel on which it is based, except for three things: (SPOILER! SPOILER! SPOILER!) 1. There is no balloon flight in the original novel - the characters have to make their way around the world by boat and train.

2. The trial scene - where Fogg and Passepartout are put on trial for sacrilege - is entirely missing from the film.

3. Princess Aouda is dressed in Hindu garb all throughout the movie, while in the novel it is specifically said that she is wearing "a dress of Scotch material, a large cloak, and a magnificent otter-skin coat, for which (Passepartout) did not hesitate to pay seventy-five pounds." She only appears in Hindi garb when she is first introduced during the processional to the place where she is to be sacrificed to Kali, the Goddess of love and death, which was her husband's deity.

These three problems cause me to award the movie a score of eight out of ten points.

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