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Around the World in Eighty Days (1956) Poster

Trivia

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The role of Passepartout was greatly expanded from the novel to accommodate Mexican star Cantinflas. In the mid-1950s he was the wealthiest movie star in the world, and got top billing in Latin countries.
The film created the idea of "cameo roles" as a way to invite established stars to participate in a production.
The film is generally considered the single largest film project ever undertaken in Hollywood. Filming was completed in 75 shooting days.
David Niven always said that Phileas Fogg was his favorite role.
The bullfighting sequence was added because Cantinflas had bullfighting experience. He was actually in the ring with the bull, eschewing the use of a stunt double. It was one of the first sequences shot.
After winning the Oscar, Michael Todd rented Madison Square Garden and threw a huge party. Over 18,000 guests attended, and the celebration frequently threatened to degenerate into all-out chaos. Todd himself called the party a disaster.
The film used 140 sets built at six Hollywood studios, as well as sets in England, Hong Kong and Japan. It also set several records. The cast and crew flew over 4,000,000 miles. Casting included 68,894 extras in 13 countries, and 74,685 costumes were designed, made or rented for the film. The 1,243 extras listed on the IMDb page (and in the original program book) were only the extras who worked on the film in Hollywood. Ninety animal handlers managed 8,552 animals (3,800 sheep, 2,448 buffalo, 950 donkeys, 800 horses, 512 monkeys, 17 bulls, 15 elephants, six skunks and four ostriches).
The barge used in Bangkok belonged to the King of Thailand, who lent it to producer Michael Todd.
The film features the longest closing credits sequence at the time, 6 minutes and 21 seconds. All of the film's credits are shown at the end. The film's title is the very last credit .
Orson Welles was upset he did not get a cameo in the film. Before Michael Todd produced this film, he produced a stage version by Welles. The play flopped, but Todd turned the project into a film and it enjoyed great success. Welles felt he gave Todd the idea.
According to David Niven's agent, Michael Todd originally wanted Cary Grant to play Phileas Fogg, but gave up after trying for six months.
In French, Passepartout (or Passe-partout) means "passkey" or "all-purpose". Passepartout helps Fogg in numerous situations.
The Western Costume Co. in Hollywood provided most of the costumes. Wardrobe storehouses in London, Japan, Hong Kong and Spain also provided costumes for the 1,243 extras.
The original novel had no gas balloon, yet the balloon has remained an iconic image of the film.
For the Spanish-dubbed version of the film, Cantinflas himself provided the voice of his character Passepartout.
In a magazine article published shortly after the film was released, Cantinflas said that one of the hardest things he had to do in the movie was to learn to ride the "penny-farthing" (high wheeled) bicycle at the beginning of the film.
Screenwriter S.J. Perelman didn't attend the Academy Awards ceremony. He sent Hermione Gingold to accept it if he won. He wrote a note for her to read when she accepted. She said the following: "I'm very proud to receive this object d'art on behalf of Mr. Perelman, who writes . . . "--she reads from the note--"...he cannot be here for a variety of reasons, all of them spicy. He's dumbfounded, absolutely flummoxed. He never expected any recognition for writing 'Around the World in Eighty Days'. And, in fact, only did so on the expressed understanding . . . "--flips note over--" . . . that the film would never be shown."
Michael Todd fired original director John Farrow after about a week. Todd realized quickly that only one person could run a Michael Todd production, and it wasn't going to be Farrow. Farrow got a screenplay credit, however, and won an Oscar for his troubles.
To make the film really stand out from the crowd of epic films, producer Michael Todd implored theater owners to promote the film "exactly as you would a Broadway show": organize reserved seats, pass out playbills before the movie, remove clocks from the theater and ban the sale of popcorn.
Shirley MacLaine wrote that filming a scene with thousands of extras ground to a halt because the prop man forgot to put the bottle of champagne in the balloon with David Niven and Cantinflas.
Gregory Peck was originally cast as the U.S. cavalry officer. Producer Michael Todd felt Peck wasn't taking the role seriously enough and fired him.
Michael Todd got permission to shoot a rocket launch, which appears at the start of the film. Todd directed the sequence himself.
Tied with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) for the longest title of an Oscar winner for Best Motion Picture until 2004, when The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) won. Winners with the shortest title are Gigi (1958) and Argo (2012).
Contrary to popular belief, production reports show that most of the film was shot in Hollywood. A lot of exterior second-unit locations were used, but most scenes were shot on sound stages in Hollywood, on the back lots of over seven major studios, including: RKO-Pathe, RKO, Universal-International, Warner Bros., Columbia and 20th Century-Fox.
Only two or three visual effects shots appear in the entire film. They're early shots of David Niven and Cantinflas in the balloon, looking out over the Pyrenees.
Ronald Colman came out of a five-year retirement to do his cameo.
Two separate lawsuits were filed against the producer, claiming that the title song had been plagiarized.
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In the original novel, Princess Aouda's Eastern garb is removed when Phileas Fogg and Passepartout rescue her from the sacrifice. They dress her in a dress, an otterskin jacket and a large cloak. She wears that outfit for the rest of the journey around the world.
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The locomotive used on the American train was not operational. The train was actually powered by a diesel-electric locomotive disguised as a baggage car. The tunnel was a cutting in the rocks covered over for filming.
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Michael Todd, the ultimate controlling producer, forbade the sale of popcorn in theaters where the film was playing.
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Shirley MacLaine's third film. She continues to claim she was miscast.
Producer Michael Todd had a reputation for being tight-fisted. Reportedly, S.J. Perelman required payment in cash before handing over pages of the script.
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Noël Coward was the first star in England to sign for the project.
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The film played for three years straight--1956-59--at the Rivoli Theatre in New York in Todd AO. In 1959 it was sent out on general release in regular widescreen format.
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Two major episodes in the film that do not appear in the novel are the arrival in Spain by gas balloon and the bullfighting scene.
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Though it wasn't nominated for Best Original Song, the theme "Around the World" by Victor Young and Harold Adamson became a huge international hit for Bing Crosby.
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Only nine Todd AO cameras existed at the time of shooting, and all of them were used to make this film.
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Michael Todd was concerned about the differences in skin color between the various Native Americans hired for the film. He ordered a liquid dye that made them all look uniform.
Over a dozen airlines provided service to the actors and technicians on this film, including Pan Am, TWA, Middle Eastern and Pakistan Air. Private pilot Paul Mantz provided airline accommodations for producer Michael Todd.
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Contrary to popular belief, Marlene Dietrich's gown cost $3900, not $300,000.
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According to Farley Granger in his autobiography "Include Me Out," Michael Todd filmed him as a gondolier on the Grand Canal while shooting on location in Venice, Italy, but it was never used in the film.
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Some sources list Ava Gardner as having a cameo, but it's unclear if she did and it was cut out, or if the report is simply in error.
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Donna Reed was offered the part of Princess Aouda, and rejected it. She had just played another "exotic" role as Sacajawea in The Far Horizons (1955).
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The film is the second Todd-AO production shot at 24 fps (to produce the 35mm general-release version) and 30 fps (to produce the 70mm roadshow version). Both versions were shot on 65mm negative with Todd-AO lenses. Sometimes two cameras operated side-by-side filming the same take, other times the same camera was used with the speed changed for the second take. In some non-dialogue scenes, the same shot was used. The 35mm version is presented in conventional 2:1 squeeze anamorphic process; the 70mm version is presented in Todd-AO.
Some of the ship scenes were completed in the Sersen tank at 20th Century-Fox studios under the supervision of Fox visual effects supervisor Fred Sersen. The visual effects team worked on the boat props as well. The Sersen tank was used for a number of independent productions, including Walt Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954).
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Michael Todd's original estimate for the film's budget was $3 million. The final cost was nearly double that, largely due to Todd's demands for verisimilitude and location shooting.
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Fernandel was initially stunned at being offered such a tiny part.
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The film did not go into general release until 1958. Much of the original movie paper, such as lobby cards, are dated 1958.
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The film begins in then-standard square frame format before expanding into much wider Todd AO format. This was done solely to showcase the size of the screen.
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When the film was initially released, only S.J. Perelman got screenplay credit. That changed after James Poe and John Farrow sued.
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Alexander Korda had tried, and failed, to make a movie out of the same novel. His advice to Michael Todd was, "Back away from it, Mike. I've been trying to lick it for years. Total loss."
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Victor Young's Oscar-winning score was recorded in July 1956 at the former Charlie Chaplin Studio on La Brea Avenue in Hollywood. At the time, Charles Chaplin had sold it to an independent outfit that had renamed it Kling Studios. Michael Todd was leasing space there during production. A sound stage normally used for filming was converted into a music scoring stage. Six Neumann U-47 condenser microphones were placed over the orchestra and fed to a 35mm magnetic six-track recorder. The entire set-up was only used once for this film. It was later torn down, and the stage reverted to filming.
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Michael Todd invited Maurice Chevalier to do a cameo. Chevalier asked to be billed at the foot of the cast list. Todd refused, so Chevalier declined the offer.
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John Wayne was considered for the role of the cavalry officer, but he turned it down.
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This was the third Best Picture Oscar winner shot in a widescreen format. Wings (1927), the first Best Picture winner in history, contained some widescreen sequences.
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Final film of Harcourt Williams.
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Michael Todd had extreme difficulties financing the film. After completing the large western sequence, the production was almost broke. Arthur Krim and Max E. Youngstein of United Artists looked at the existing footage, declared it a winner and agreed to bankroll the rest of the film.
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For its premiere run in London, the film was presented in 34mm. The UK had no 70mm-equipped theatres at the time, and cinema operators did not like the roadshow format. Eventually, Rank agreed to use its peripheral Astoria, Charing Cross Road for a roadshow run. The film played in an anamorphic 35mm format (not the same squeeze as CinemaScope) which gave a 2.2:1 aspect ration on screen. At the time, the British government imposed a film quota on UK cinemas which required 30% of the year's films to be British. However, the law only applied to 35mm, so special prints were produced with 1mm shaved off, producing unique 34mm prints which sidestepped the quota rules and enabled the Astoria to play the film for almost two years. The success of that roadshow presentation persuaded Rank and other cinema operators to install 70mm (which also avoided the quota) and get on the roadshow bandwagon.
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In 1971 the film was re-released as a double feature with West Side Story (1961). Both films made their television debuts the following year; this film in September on CBS, and West Side Story (1961) in March on NBC.
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John Farrow directed about a week of the Spanish scenes.
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Peter Ustinov auditioned for the role of Detective Wilbur Fix. He later played Fix in the television remake, Around the World in 80 Days (1989).
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When filming began, John Farrow was director and Emmett Emerson was the first assistant director in London.
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Kevin McClory, who had been an assistant director on The African Queen (1951) and who helped create Thunderball (1965), also worked as an assistant director on this film.
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Evelyn Keyes, one of the 50 cameo stars, was living with Michael Todd at the time.
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Final film of Robert Newton.
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Shirley MacLaine became pregnant with her daughter, Sachi Parker, whilst shooting on location in Japan. She suffered terrible bouts of morning sickness during the shooting of this film, becoming strangely nauseated even at the sight of the colour green.
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Although Columbia Pictures originally had an agreement with Michael Todd about finance and distribution, studio head Harry Cohn pulled out of the partnership. Just before Cohn died, he agreed to finance and distribute Cantinflas' only other American film, Pepe (1960), which turned out to be a financial disaster.
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One might be puzzled by Cantiflas' oddly-shaped mustache, but of course to anyone now are clearly seen as tracing the shape of bull's horns, for he was a real bull-fighter, and among whose risks include being the first scenes shot in this epic adventure, for a gored Cantiflas would have shattered the time allotted to producing this fine work, which of course, is all about Time.
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Final film of Joe Aughtry.
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Cameo 

John Gielgud: The manservant who Phileas Fogg discharges at the beginning of the film. The role was offered to Laurence Olivier, who turned it down.
Imanos Williams: a Japanese circus performer when Cantinflas joins up with a Japanese circus.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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