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|Index||108 reviews in total|
This leisurely paced epic is jocular and is a cameo-appearance-watcher's
heaven. It's all a bit too top-heavy to support a rather simple story. But
Cantinflas is a lot of fun as Passepartout, and Robert Newton is marvelous
as Niven's nemesis, Fix. Shirley MacLaine lends her beauty and wit to the
proceedings as Princess Aouda. The film seems to stop for spectacular
cinematography and the cameos at times. But, it is still beautiful and
But, speaking of Newton and MacLaine, I must take IMDB to task for this one although I recognize they are merely copying from the film's cast list. Still, when one transforms from one medium to another, some judgment must be exercised. In order for the uninitiated to find out that Newton and MacLaine (two of the film's four major characters) are even in the film, one must click on the blue more button for additional cast members, One normally does not bother to do this because all one normally sees are credits for the likes of Jennifer Baliniczewski, Haley Tiresius, Forrest J. Ackerman, Zvi Frischman, and Skip Jackson.
Please IMDB, bring Newton and MacLaine up front with Niven and Cantinflas. The movie's top stars should be featured at the top. Then the rest can be listed alphabetically.
It's really amazing how so many critics and reviewers are stupid in underrating this movie.. If those morons have not found out yet that the main element of it is fun, they never will.. Much better an adventure movie than even so called classics like The Wizard Of Oz .. As a child watching the movie was exhilarating and it's like a 2 hour trip through history.. a great movie
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.
Mike Todd was a promoter. He was a man with the talent for carrying out
the colossal hype, someone who could sell the proverbial refrigerator
to an Eskimo. He certainly displayed his genius in this glut of
scenery, costumes and extras, selling this mess of a movie to the
public in 1956. This film is so charmless, so humorless, such a
depiction of stereotypes and clichés, and not less egregious, a
squandering and misappropriation of acting talent. David Niven holds
his own, but he single-handedly can't sustain the whole show. The
talented Shirley MacLaine stands around wondering what she's doing and
how she got roped into agreeing to be part of the cast. As to how Todd
could have lured name stars to take on cameos, is a mystery to me.
Maybe people such as Frank Sinatra and Marlene Dieterich had nothing
better to do that day? Possibly the wide screen Todd A-O process
engulfed viewers and glued them into their theatre seats where they
watched like spellbound captives back in 1956, but today, there is
absolutely nothing to recommend this movie.
If nothing else, this movie stands as a testimonial to Hollywood's desperate bid to lure 1950s audiences away from their TV sets and back into the movie theatre.
I recently re-read the book, "Around the World In Eighty Days," and was
surprised at how few liberties were taken with the plot of this movie
(the largest being the famous ascent in a balloon which never occurred
in the book). S.J. Perleman, one of my favorite authors, wrote the
screenplay, which won an academy award, and he certainly deserved it,
for he hit the tone of the novel dead on.
The casting, in most cases, was dead-on, David Niven making a perfect Fogg. Cantinflas was also excellent as Passepartout, even though they had to change his nationality from French to Spanish. The only really big problem came from casting Shirley MacLaine as an Indian princess.
As stated before, the tone of the movie (if not the entire plot) was very true to the book. The jokes were understated and had an earnest gentility about them which was very common in movies from the fifties and early sixties.
I think the biggest problems of this movie were the movie's two principle gimmicks. The first were the guest stars. A sampling of some of the most famous actors of the day made cameos in the movie. To get some of the "in" jokes, you had to really know who these people were (which would be the case with most audiences from 1956), however these days, either the actors have faded into obscurity, or we have become so used to seeing these people aged forty or fifty years, that its hard to recognize their younger selves (like Frank Sinatra's cameo, for example).
The second big problem was that the movie was filmed in cinemascope, which meant letterbox format, as opposed to the square format in which more of the less expensive movies were filmed. I suspect, in order to get their money's worth out of this technique, and to make this movie more of a "spectactle," the movie has been crammed with tons of shots of nothing more than the picturesque scenery of the countries through which Fogg and Passepartout are passing. This was probably a big deal at the time, but today seeing scenery shots of foreign countries is nothing new. On many of the versions of the movie that have been circulating, these have been edited out, however they have been restored to the DVD version. I have to say that the first time I saw the unedited version, I found them kind of boring. This shouldn't keep you from watching the DVD though, since its easy enough to skip past the scenery.
All in all, one of my favorite movies.
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.
Okay. Everyone's either heard of the story or has actually read it, but if
not, here it is: Phineas Fogg makes a wager with his bridge buddies that he
can make it around the world in 80 days (hence, the title.) So he and his
servant, Passparetout, set out around the world, save a princess, get chased
by a detective who thinks Fogg is a bank robber, and end up flying in a
balloon (Well, maybe not in that order.)
The first time I saw this film was when I was in 2nd grade. Even then, I knew how great it was, and I still remember it fondly. Films like this were meant to appear in widescreen format. It starts off with an introduction by the very informative Edward R. Murrow, telling the audience about how Jules Verne was very prophetic, and they show the dlightful little film by George Melies of "From the Earth to the Moon". The acting is some of the best ever. David Niven, the quintessential gentleman, was born to play the role of Phineas Fogg (he later even said he would have played the role for nothing!) Cantiflas, an award-winner for his role of Passparetout, is equally good, although a flash in the pan. Where are you, Cantiflas? Shirley McLaine makes an early appearance in her career as Princess Auoda, and she still shows her pixie-like charm she has in "The Apartment". And Robert Newton, who played Detective Fix, is wonderfully sinister, but like Cantiflas, he never did anything else memorable besides playing Captain Hook in "Treasure Island". Oh, and there's lots of cameos (Frank Sinatra, Andy Devine, John Carradine, Cesar Romero to name a few) but too many to count. (This was the first film to have cameos, by the way.) Other award winners include the writing, which owes it humor to the fact that one of the writers (James Poe, John Farrow, and J.S. Perelman) wrote for the Marx brothers. The music by Victor Young is bright, maginifcent, beautiful . . . all good adjectives come to mind. And Lionel Lindon ("The Manchurian Candidate") has some of the best cinematography ever to be shown on the screen (this was before the days of computer generation, of course, when they actually went to 11 countries to film on location.) And the credits, by Saul Bass, are, like many people who have commented on this have said, are extremely entertaining in their re-telling of the movie.
This has got to be one of the best Oscar-Winners of all time. It's right up there with Casablanca and Gone with the Wind. It's a shame that this was showman Michael Todd's only film. Lord knows what he would have brought us if it weren't for that fatal plane crash.
How this movie rated any Academy awards, let alone five, has always amazed me. The story is a faint shadow of Jules Verne's excellent book and ends up being a wide screen travelogue with no redeeming features. The only thing that temporarily piqued my interest was spotting the veritable plethora of stars in cameo roles. Even the great photography eventually became tiresome. The numerous delays Fogg experienced during his travels were oh so predictable and the assortment of characters he encountered were nothing more than hackneyed clichés. If you have yet to see this film, do yourself a favour and spend your time and money on a movie with real quality.
What astounds me is how things change. Here's a film that was
celebrated in its day.
In fact, I remember my third grade class taking the day off to go to this. (The year previously, we had gone to see a Cinerama movie in the same theater.) We had reserved seats and popcorn was disallowed. We sat through maybe 20 minutes of overture, three hours of movie and 20 minutes of intermission.
And I loved it. This was a lifealtering experience, so grand, so exotic. And yes, for a seven year old, romantic.
Everyone loved it. In its day, most everyone got caught up in the sheer audacity of thing, the cinematic scope, the number of stars and extras, the locales (which we thought were genuine). The introduction by Ed Murrow seemed apt for something so newsworthy.
I haven't seen it in 50 years. And now, even in the full ToddAO experience it is dull except for the wonderfully bombastic score. There's really nothing to it except that it exists.
It reminds that many films I see, new and old, depend on context. The new ones are simple. Things we get excited about now will seem juvenile in just a short time. "Die Hard" was eclipsed on its own terms in short order. "Speed" even more so.
But the old ones...
Sometimes they are so strongly evocative of an era that watching them pulls us into that era, giving us a whole world by association. Others cannot pull us, or aren't set up to, but are so weak they fall apart. Its a slippery game, watching old movies.
But in this case, it is simple. Big bowl thin soup. But a grandly shaped bowl.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was movie making at it's best. Unlike the movies of today. Fine
Acting, Photography, Costumes, Filming, Script and especially the who's
who in the movie world doing their cameos. In my view the finest
performance came from Robert Newton, who in my view stole the picture.
It was reminiscent of his performance as Long John Silver in Treasure
Island. Just as devious. Young children of today enjoy this version,
even though they have been brought up on the Jackie Chan version, which
is far inferior. David Niven himself stated that this was his favorite
film and i can see why. I would also imagine that the participants all
had a great time.
A true masterpiece.
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