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  • I really enjoyed this film, and was shocked to see all the negative comments about it on IMDB. Yes it's long, yes it's a fantasy rather than true-to-life, yes it's spectacular rather than deep drama. But what the hell, it's also (like the book) a hilarious send-up of Englishness as seen by a Frenchman. The millions of cameo roles (actually I'm HOPELESS at recognising faces, so identified none of them) camp it all up splendidly. This film is one of those, like the Ealing comedies or the Carry-On films, that define the British Myth.

    OK, so it won't work on TV, unless you have a widescreen TV and can shut yourself away from all distractions for several hours. But I just dare anyone to be bored by the film in a cinema. They don't make them like that any more, because these days films are "made for TV" . . .
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Mike Todd's version of Jules Verne tale offers a refined English comedy, giant-screen travel landscapes, dazzling brilliant color, famous actors in small roles... as Phileas Fogg and his comical valet made the tour of the world beginning in England, going to Europe, the Middle East, India, and Asia...

    It begins in (1872) Victorian London as the wealthy, supremely confident Phileas Fogg sets out a wager that he can traverse the globe in precisely eighty days... The other club members at the Reform Club think Fogg is a fool, and challenge his claim and wager £20,000 that he is wrong...

    The snags begin almost immediately, as the true gentleman misses a train and has to travel by balloon... The wild journey takes Fogg and his new servant into a series of incredible adventures in every land they pass through...

    David Niven plays the true impassive Englishman Phileas Fogg... A polished man of the world, who makes no superfluous gestures, and is never seen to be moved or agitated... A puzzling personage, who believes in progress, science, and intellectual deduction... An eccentric quiet gentleman who talks very little and lives by a precise schedule of tea, whist games, fish and chips... He lives alone in a big house, and a single domestic sufficed to serve him...

    Mexican screen legend Cantinflas known as the comic genius of the Spanish-speaking world, plays Passepartout, the most faithful of domestics...

    Passepartout is a multi-skilled honest Frenchman with a pleasant oval face, slender and slight, soft-mannered and serviceable...

    Robert Newton plays Mr. Fix, the mysterious detective who had been dispatched from England in search of the bank robber... He is a slight-built personage, with a nervous, intelligent face, and bright eyes peering out from under eyebrows which he is incessantly twitching...

    Shirley MacLaine plays the charming young Indian princess, Aouda, who was married against her will at age seven... She speaks English with great purity...

    One of the main interests of the film is the various cameos played by stars of the time who give minute but exquisite characterizations:

    • Finlay Currie, Mr. Fogg's usual partner at whist...

    • Robert Morley, one of the directors of the Bank of England...

    • John Gielgud, the dismissed servant who relates that his master wears two watches, and every available surface in his house is covered with so many clocks...

    • Trevor Howard, the club's member who rejects the news that the English gentleman has robbed the Bank of England...

    • Charles Boyer, the educated travel agent who proposes to the couple to travel with a hot-air balloon...

    • Martine Carol, the offended lady who slaps the new butler just for saying: 'Mademoiselle!'

    • Fernandel, the French coachman who was not so content with the tip...

    • Gilbert Roland, the Arab who offers his ship to Marseilles just on one condition...

    • Cesar Romero, the henchman who sadistically insists Passepartout must fight a bull even if he doesn't know how...

    • Ronald Colman, the Railway Official who announces (No more railway!) all passengers know that they must provide means of transportation for themselves from Kholby to Allahabad...

    • Cedric Hardwicke, the officer who finds happily a means of conveyance : to cross the deep jungle on an elephant!

    • Charles Coburn, the Steamship Company clerk who makes the observation that the 'Carnatic' had sailed the evening before...and he doesn't expect any vessel to Yokohama one week from now...

    • Peter Lorre, the smiling Japanese steward who informs Passepartout that being broke without money in Yokohama... is catastrophic!

    • Glynis Johns, the sporting lady who bets with her companion on Fogg's outcome...

    • George Raft, the suspicious mob who chases everyone who stands near his glamorous woman...

    • Marlene Dietrich, the Barbary Coast saloon hostess who looks for a way to be free...

    • Frank Sinatra, the honky-tonk pianist...

    • Red Skelton, the drunken with great appetite...

    • John Carradine, the insolent colonel hit by an arrow...

    • Buster Keaton, the American train conductor who announces some delay...

    • Andy Devine, the first mate who refuses 'Henrietta' to be burn...

    • Victor McLaglen, the helmsman who is ordered ('Full steam!') to feed all the fires until the coal is exhausted...

    • John Mills, the sleepy carriage driver at the delicate moment...

    The other scenes that were actually outrageous and delightful are:

    Passepartout scooping some snow off an alp to chill a bottle of champagne; his funny and graceful way of bullfighting; his burlesque dance with a troupe of Spanish dancers; his venture to ride an ostrich through a back-lot Hong Kong; his anxiety when he is captured by savage Sioux; his courage when he is almost burned to death with an Indian widow; his fault when he clears the 'human' pyramid; his ignorance when he breaks Hindus religious beliefs and his absurdity when he constantly tries to hit on anything in skirts...

    With terrific music, this Academy Award winner for Best Picture of 1956 is nice for the family to watch...
  • I read the book first and then saw the movie as an 11-year-old in 1957, in the theater in the original Todd-A-O format (ie., an alternative to Cinerama). Saw it again on TV last night as a geezer. In both instances, I though it was too long and boring. As a kid, I thought it was way too long between action sequences as featured in the book, to focus on extensive and incredibly long "travelog" scenes around the world. I guess the writers and director also thought it would be a "pull" to cram in as many cameos as they could of actors of the past and the then present. This also slowed down the plot in many instances. In the 1950s, most folks couldn't afford the high cost of foreign travel, and that might have been a reason for showing so many, and so long, just plain scenery scenes. But kids like me at the time probably couldn't care less. In the 2000's, adults interested in foreign travel have "been there, done that;" get on with the plot, please! And kids today still probably couldn't care less. In both instances, though, I thought the animated closing credits were fantastic! In 1957, before they started the movie, the theater manager came on stage and recommended that everyone stay for the closing credits. He was right!
  • Michael Todd's screen adaptation of Jules Verne's classic novel is a masterpiece.

    Beautifully shot in over 100 different locations around the world, it is one of the few novels which actually benefits from big screen treatment. No longer do we have to imagine these fine exotic places in our minds, they are presented here in full cinematic and Technicolour brilliance.

    The great David Niven plays the quintessential English gentleman to the hilt as Philias Fogg, the well to do bachelor who after calmly announcing that it was possible, accepts a £20,000 wager from his fellow Reform Club members to travel round the world in 80 days.

    In tow on this mammoth voyage are newly appointed man servant Passepartout played by Mexican entertainer Cantinflas, a rather miscast Shirley MacLaine as Aouda a recently rescued Indian Princess and the lovable and ever watchable Robert Newton as Mr. Fix the detective who is convinced Fogg is a master criminal who left Britain having just robbed the Bank of England.

    Yet what adds flavour to an already wonderful story and fascinating movie, is that no matter what corner of the globe our intrepid Fogg appears, he is helped, hindered, slowed down, befriended and attacked by a myriad of world renowned movie stars. Never before or since has a film boasted so many top named stars in cameo appearances.

    Robert Morley, Ronald Squire, Finlay Currie, Basil Sydney, Noel Coward, John Gielgud, Trevor Howard, Harcourt Williams, Martine Carol, Fernandel, Charles Boyer, Evelyn Keyes, Gilbert Roland, Cesar Romero, Alan Mowbray, Cedric Hardwicke, Melville Cooper, Reginald Denny, Ronald Colman, Charles Coburn, Peter Lorre, George Raft, Red Skelton, Marlene Dietrich, John Carradine, Frank Sinatra, Buster Keaton, Tim McCoy, Joe E. Brown, Andy Devine, Edmund Lowe, Victor McLaglen, Jack Oakie, Beatrice Lillie, John Mills, Glynis Johns and Hermione Gingold all come along for this bizarre journey.

    Now thats what I call a cast list.

    Niven is as always a joy to watch as the seemingly unstoppable and resourceful Fogg, so much so that the film can be forgiven its epic length.

    However, I do feel as though a good half an hour could have been trimmed had Todd decided to tone down some of Cantinflas' over long routines. We know what a fantastic and talented performer he was, there was no real need to hammer the point home with a nigh on 15 minute bull fight sequence, Japanese circus tricks and stunt horse riding.

    However despite this one criticism, the film is legend, the story is legend and was fully deserving of the five Oscar's it was awarded, including Best Picture of 1956.

    In fact I feel certain that if Philias Fogg had a film like this on DVD, he would have much preferred to stay at home and watch it. I know I certainly would.
  • Except for the horrible miscasting of Shirley MacLaine as a Hindu princess, Around the World in 80 Days comes close to being a perfect film. The rest of the cast paints to perfection the portrait of Jules Verne's odyssey about a very anal retentive man driven by a wager to complete a global circumnavigation in 80 days in the mid nineteenth century.

    Jules Verne unlike in a lot of his other stories makes one of his main characters here a Frenchman. Normally the international minded Mr. Verne never had any of his protagonists come from his native France. In this case the valet Passepartout accompanies English gentleman Phileas Fogg on the journey and comes close to wrecking it a couple of times.

    Michael Todd had to settle for second choices for both of his leads. The part was originally offered to Cary Grant who turned it down and Todd settled happily for David Niven. And even though Fernandel offered to learn English to play Passepartout, the process would have taken too long so the Mexican comic star Cantinfas got the part. Fernandel did have a small role as a Parisian hansom cab driver.

    It's still a mystery to me as to why Cantinflas on the strength of this and Pepe did not break out of the Latin American market where he was nothing short of a demi-god of the cinema. Certainly his presence in this film opened up a huge market of viewers in the Spanish speaking parts of the world.

    Also consider that the probably no other performer in the history of the cinema ever got as good supporting casts as Cantinflas did in both Around the World in 80 Days and Pepe. Maybe he didn't break into the English speaking cinema fan world, but it was no accident that all the stars who appeared in both wanted to be associated with him.

    Shirley MacLaine would have to wait until Some Came Running for a real break out role. She's just not the type to play a Hindu princess. Someone like Jean Simmons who played one in Black Narcissus would have been far better.

    David Niven however got on the crest of a big career wave that wouldn't reach maximum until his Oscar two years later in Separate Tables. This was one of his best career roles and nice that for once he would not have to carry a mediocre picture on the strength of his considerable charm.

    Mr. Niven sadly recalls in his memoirs that Robert Newton was already dying when he made Around the World in 80 Days. The doctors had told the screen's most celebrated alcoholic that he had only a short time left when he did this film, his liver was failing. Newton does a grand job as the unctuous conniving detective Fix who gets it into his head that Niven robbed the Bank of England.

    Around the World in 80 Days won for Best Picture in 1956 and four other Oscars including best musical score. Oddly enough the song Around the World was not nominated in that category even though it was a big hit that year. Bing Crosby for Decca and Eddie Fisher for RCA Victor had the big hit records of it, Frank Sinatra also did it for Capitol. It was a great tribute to its composer Victor Young and lyricist Harold Adamson. Young died in 1956 and the Oscar for Best Scoring was given to him posthumously.

    Producer Michael Todd and Director Michael Anderson did a first rate job in casting all the small bit roles with major players. A lot of these names are unfamiliar to today's generation, but if they see the film it's a chance to see a lot of great cinema names at one time doing real characters instead of just walking on as themselves.

    The film holds up well today and can still be enjoyed. Maybe someone will actually try to make it in the transportation mode of the Victorian era. Can it be done in 80 Days?
  • 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 many shortcomings.

    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.
  • Around the World in 80 Days is part comedy and part demonstration of a new wide-screen process. I saw it in its original run at the old Rivoli Theater in New York, where the screen ran from 48th St. to 49th St. People gasped at the size of the screen when the curtains opened, before the film even got underway.

    If you watch the new 16x9 DVD on anything less than a 50-inch television, the visual composition and the pacing are absolutely incomprehensible, and you're on your own to seize on the many little things that are there to entertain you. But as a whole, the film loses its reason for being when viewed on a conventional TV.

    David Niven is unbeatable as Phileas Fogg, Shirley Maclaine is implausible but slyly humorous as the Princess, Robert Newton appears sober most of the time and hammy all of it as Inspector Fix.

    Cantinflas is inexplicable as Passepartout, except perhaps as Mike Todd's attempt to corral the entire Latin American market. The Mexican comedian's English is very shaky; it slows him down, and his clarity comes and goes and makes me wonder if Paul Frees didn't replace a lot of his lines. At any rate, only in the seemingly improvised encounter with Red Skelton at a buffet does Cantinflas do anything remotely humorous, and there he's the straight man.

    The cameos are fun, and if you're too young to know who all these geezers are, it's worth it to find out, and use the IMDb to track down the work that made them famous. I remember the shriek the original audience let out when the piano player was revealed to be Frank Sinatra.

    Viewing the film now, I was most moved to see Edmund Lowe and Victor McLaglan reunited in the engine room of the Henrietta, thirty years after they riveted the industry in "What Price Glory?" Buster Keaton concentrates really hard in his appearance as the train conductor, to excellent effect. A. E. Matthews gives a terrific acting lesson in saying "no" a half a dozen times in a London sequence.

    Among the original bettors, locate Ronald Squire with the drooping mustache, hollow nasal baritone, and a slouching relaxation while performing that was a marvel - Rex Harrison publicly admired Ronald Squire's ease on stage all his life. In fact, Squire is so relaxed he makes someone like Dean Martin seem uptight.

    So, this film is an unusual case - requiring patience for lots of little joys on the small screen, but making sense only on a large one.
  • This fun picture deals with known story about gentleman Phineas Fogg wagers he can circumnavigate the earth and he sets off on spectacular journey . Lavish rendition with all-star cast , it finds Victorian gentleman wagering that he can circle the globe in 80 days . Classic adaptation based on Jules Verne novel with a marvelous duo , David Niven and his faithful butler well played by Cantinflas who confront much excitement and a lot of adventures along the way . The film provides ample amusement and entertainment , it concerns about a Victorian English gentleman named Phileas Fogg (David Niven always professed that Phileas Fogg was his favorite role) and his manservant named Passapart (Cantinflas, in the mid-50s, he was the wealthiest movie star in the world, and was given top billing in Latin countries) . He takes a wager with various gentlemen from 'The Reform Club' that he can circle the globe around the world in 80 days . Just before the time they leave , a valuable lot of money is robbed and the authorities and president of Bank of England believe that unflappable Fogg is the guilty and a Detective set out after him . Later on , they save a damsel in distress, a gorgeous Indian girl (Shirley MacLaine to this day contends that she was miscast in this, her third film) . Using various means of transport as balloon , trains , steamer , flying machine and following a way , Fogg along with Passepart go to Dover , Paris , Spain , Calcuta , Burma jungle , Hong Kong , Yokohama , Forbidden city of Pekin , San Francisco , Omaha and New York , as they are trying back to London . Meanwhile , they are chased by an Inspector named Fix (Robert Newton) who suspects him of a daring bank theft .

    This funny picture is plenty of adventures , humor , action , rip-roaring and spectacular outdoors . From start to finish the entertainment and amusement is continued . The bullfighting sequence filmed in Chinchon , Spain , was added because Cantinflas had bullfighting experience , he actually was in the ring with the bull, eschewing the use of a stunt doublé ; this was one of the first sequences to be shot. The film features the longest closing credits sequence up to that time and for many years afterward - six minutes and twenty-one seconds , splendidly realized by Saul Bass ; all of the film's credits are shown only at the end, and the very last credit to be shown is the film's title . Big-budgeted take on by two great producers , Michael Todd and William Cameron Menzies , as the film used 140 sets built at six Hollywood studios, as well as in England, Hong Kong and Japan , 74,685 costumes were designed, made or rented for use ; the cast and crew flew over 4,000,000 miles ; 68,894 extras were used while shooting the film in 13 countries ; 90 animal handlers managed the record 8,552 animals used . Michael Todd's original estimate for the film's budget was $3 million ; the film ended up costing nearly double that, largely thanks to Todd's demands for verisimilitude and location shooting. There appears a variety of cameos , the star-gazers will particularly enjoy several known actors by many Hollywood's biggest names with more than thirty cameos for buffs such as Marlene Dietrich , Robert Newton , John Carradine , Noel Coward , Ronald Colman, Ronald Squire, Cedric Hardwicke, John Gielgud, Trevor Howard , Victor McLaglen and John Mills , Robert Morley who repeat in a 1989 TV version , among others ; in fact , the term "cameo", meaning in this case a small part by a famous person, was popularized by the many "cameo appearances" in this film. The colorfully cinematography by Lionel Lindon is well showed on sensational landscapes ; being second Todd-AO production , the first was Oklahoma!. Unforgettable and lively music by Victor Young including catching leitmotif .

    This classic ¨Mike Todd's Around the world in 80 days¨ that hasn't lost its charm over the years was compellingly directed by Michael Anderson and generally considered the single largest film project ever undertaken in Hollywood . However , the movie began shooting with John Farrow as director, and Emmett Emerson as the first assistant director in London ; both were replaced. Filming was completed in 75 shooting days . Other versions are the followings : , Australian retelling titled ¨Around the world in 89 days (1986)¨ by Stephen MacLean and recent adaptation (2004) offering full of entertainment directed by Frank Coraci with Jackie Chan , Steve Coogan , Cecile De France , Mark Addy , Owen Wilson , Luke Wilson and many others . And a TV version (1989) with by Buzz Kulik with Pierce Brosnan , Eric Idle , Julia Nickson , John Mills, Robert Morley , among others .
  • Well before ditching in this movie I had a glimpse of the book and I feel very delighted about the extraordinary vision of Jules Verne. He had predicted many inventions and innovations before the time, but I felt more delighted after seeing this movie. The true essence of Jules Verne's literal work is flawlessly captured by director Michael Anderson. This movie is true extravaganza with some special acting by veteran actor David Niven. His portrayal of arrogant, time-table stricken rich innovator was immaculate. This movie also has handful of cameos played by great actors like Frank Sinatra and others. Only one thing that can bother viewers is its immense length where some scenes are monotonous and make you feel loitered. Over all it's a great movie and best motional version of Jules Verne's finest work. The movie won five Oscars including best picture of 1956.
  • Based on the famous novel of the same name Around The World In Eighty Days,is an undeniable classic,Despite a forgettable 'remake'it has never been bettered, David Niven star's as The eponymous Phileas Fogg, an Eccentric gentleman who wages a bet with his chums at the reform club, that he can attempt the impossible travel Around the globe in a record time,His epic journey takes Fogg to Paris Spain, India,Hong Kong,Japan,San Francisco, Mexican personality Cantinflas,plays Fogg's loyal Man servant Passpartout,who attends to Mr Foggs every whim, Shirley McClaine,in an early role is Aouda the Indian girl Whom Fogg rescues from a fiery death atop a funeral pyre, and subsequently falls in love with,This Classic was probably the first film to feature 'Cameo roles' the roles are an impressive list of who's who of stage and screen,the film's budget is certainly well spent every cent is up there on screen, lavishly lensed in Todd-AO which of course must be viewed in Widescreen,as it's totally unwatchable in 'Pan And Scan'
  • tedg4 January 2006
    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.
  • 'Around the World in Eighty Days' stars David Niven,Cantinflas, and Robert Newton (in his final role) but is mainly known for featuring zillions of people in cameo parts as Niven moves round his world trip.

    You can spot ... Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra, Buster Keaton, Ronald Colman, Gilbert Roland, Shirley MacLaine, Tim McCoy, Hermoine Gingold, Charles Boyer, Finlay Currie, Trevor Howard ...

    Is it any good? Well, it is too long but gives a good attempt to present countries and travelling on a big scale. Niven is as charming as ever, while Cantinflas manages to stay irritating for three hours. Robert Newton as the obsessed Inspector Fix is entertaining but he'd done better.

    One to watch at least once (and no doubt better than the recent remake). And the end credits by Saul Bass are superb.
  • 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.
  • 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 disappointed.

    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.

  • HotToastyRag26 June 2017
    Michael Todd, Hollywood and Broadway producer and one-time husband to Elizabeth Taylor, put up six million dollars in his quest to make Around the World in Eighty Days the greatest film of all time. And in 1956, that was an unheard of amount of money to spend on a movie. It won the Oscar for Best Picture, but nowadays, it's kind of looked at as "that balloon movie with a hundred people in it".

    If you ask someone about the plot, he'll probably hesitate and basically repeat the title. The plot is not the focus of the film; the cameos are. Todd recruited forty Hollywood stars, in addition to David Niven in the lead and Shirley MacLaine in a smaller role, to wave at the camera and make the audience squeal with delight as they say, "Oo! There's Frank Sinatra/Charles Boyer/Marlene Dietrich/Cesar Romero/Buster Keaton/Charles Coburn/George Raft/John Gielgud/Glynis Johns!" If you want to see forty Hollywood stars turned into glorified extras, and a story about a man in a hot air balloon appeals to you, go ahead and see it. It is a classic, and it did win Best Picture.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Everyone enjoys taking a cheap shot at the Academy Awards, and this movie offers a great chance to do just that - Around the World in Eighty Days won Best Picture, while in the same year John Ford's The Searchers, one of the most iconic classics in the history of American cinema, didn't receive a single nomination.

    Around the World is three hours long, and feels like it. Every few minutes the movie stops to gawk at its exotic locations and smugly chuckle at its endless celebrity cameos ("Look, isn't it funny that the saloon pianist is Frank Sinatra?"). It has certainly aged badly. I remember enjoying it as a kid thirty years ago; rewatching it recently, I was surprised by how overlong it feels. I had a similar reaction to another on-the-road adventure/comedy of the same era, The Great Race, except the latter is propelled even today by Jack Lemmon's villainous glee as Professor Fate and by the sight of the adorable Natalie Wood in her lingerie. Around the World features also-adorable Shirley MacLaine - but, distractingly, she is unlikely cast as an Indian princess.

    Overall, though, this Jules Verne adaptation isn't a bad movie - a mildly entertaining travelogue with luscious vistas and a tone-perfect David Niven as a British gentleman so prim and fastidious that, if you tossed a couple of eggs in his luggage, two minutes later he would produce from it still immaculate clothes and a perfectly cooked omelet on a silver platter. In fact, Around the World is at its best when it focuses on Niven's Phileas Fogg dryly dealing with annoyances, obstacles and threats, and at its worst when it pauses to showcase the physical skills of co-star Cantinflas as Passepartout - so we have a dancing number, a bullfighting number, a circus number, and so on.

    The result is drawn-out; we complain that Peter Jackson added at least a whole hour of bloat in each Hobbit movie, but Hollywood was already doing that sixty years ago.

  • This monstrously overblown 'entertainment' didn't just win the Oscar as the year's Best Picture but was also chosen by that august body, The New York Film Critic's Circle; it was hardly their finest hour. It's a producer's movie rather than a director's, (the producer was that showman Mike Todd), and he assembled a massive cast of 'stars' to appear in cameo roles to boost the film's box-office appeal and he made it in his own spectacular widescreen format, Todd-AO. Certainly everything about it was big and you felt like you were taking 80 days to watch it. The main parts of Phileas Fogg, the intrepid gentleman-adventurer, and his man-servant, Passepartout, went to David Niven and the Mexican actor, Cantinflas. Niven was actually very good considering his role never really amounted to more than being host in a large-scale travelogue, while Cantinflas was as annoying as foreign actors can be when cast as comic foils in large-scale 'international' productions. Perhaps the worst piece of casting was that of Shirley MacLaine as an Indian Princess, a performance just marginally less insulting than those of Peter Sellers in "The Millionairess" and Alec Guiness in "A Passage to India". Lionel Lindon's photography ensures that it's consistently easy on the eye; otherwise all it proves is that the world's a big place and who would want to spend 80 days in this company going round it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In 1946 Orson Welles decided to return to his Broadway roots and produce a dramatic version of the 1872 Jules Verne novel "Around The World In 80 Days". It was to be a big production - with a musical score by Cole Porter, and Mike Todd as producer. Welles, besides directing it, was playing the part of the Detective (in the musical he was "Dick Fix" = presumably called that because of the slang term for a detective). It was an extravaganza, and Welles had plenty of gags in it including one where he brought out a kitchen sink (i.e. "everything and the kitchen sink": get it?). The show had a big opening night - and sank in a couple of months. It also had no song of any worth by Porter, whose normal abilities were finally shown not to be limitless (a typical song in the show was "There goes Phileas Fogg" - hardly sounds interesting from a man who created "Night and Day" or "Begin the Beguine" or "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" or "Anything Goes"). Welles had to declare bankruptcy, and had tax problems for years (which explains why after 1949 he did much of his work in Europe). He also sold his interest in the musical to Todd.

    That is why Michael Todd is given full credit for "Around The World In 80 Days" (the 1956 movie) rather than an angry Welles. He really had no leg to stand on in this case.

    "Around The World In Eighty Days" is really the odd duck among the major novels of Verne. If you read it, except for the use of a "wind wagon" in the Western United States portion of the novel, there are no odd devices or inventions or methods of travel in the story. In fact, the best known image of the movie (David Niven and Cantaflas flying in a balloon over the Pyranees) is not from the novel - Verne's balloon novel was "Five Weeks In A Balloon" (and he came out against balloons in "Robur The Conqueror").

    "Around The World" was Verne's fun novel about English stuffiness (he disliked the English), wherein the phlegmatic and punctual Phileas Fogg makes a bet of his whole fortune to prove that he can get around the world in under three months. As such, the novel enabled Verne to show how travel was not very broadening to Fogg (a perfect name for the hero) and yet fascinating to his French valet Jean Passepartout (pronounced "Pass - par - too"). It is Passepartout who examines all the foreign peoples and lands he and Fogg travel through. Fogg only shows spirit twice: in rescuing the Indian princess Aouda from being burned alive, and in getting into a duel with the obnoxious American Colonel Seth Proctor.

    When he wrote the novel, Verne was aware of an actual "Fogg" - but an American one. The eccentric American millionaire, George Francis Train (great name for a traveler) traveled around the world, in 90 days in 1870. Train would be so impressed by his effect on Verne, he did a second world tour in 72 days. And in 1889 the American journalist Nelly Bly did it in 69 days (when she stopped off in Nantes to meet Verne, he asked her where Aouda was). Verne made fun of the story himself in 1893 when in another novel he had a German aristocrat try to beat Fogg's record, but so botches up his schedule that he ended up taking twice as long.

    David Niven is good as Fogg in one of his "comeback" roles that led to his Oscar winner in "Separate Tables". Shirley Maclaine seems good as Aouda, but she really is not eastern enough (maybe Merle Oberon could have handled the role twenty years earlier). Cantaflas rarely did English speaking films, and it is this one that gives non-Spanish audiences an idea of his abilities as a comic performer (but his Mexican films are better). Robert Newton was in his final performance as Fix - and he is very good. He comes across as conniving but witless at the same time. However I find that Peter Ustinov's performance in the 1989 miniseries was funnier.

    Then there are all those stars in cameo parts. A clever selling idea by Todd to ensure the public's attention in the film. As a result this is the only film where Ronald Colman and Frank Sinatra and Col. Tim McCoy and Red Skelton and Edmund Lowe all appear - though not necessarily together. As many of these stars of the 1930s - 1950s are no longer remembered too well, it is difficult to see if the cameo idea was such a hot one in the long term. But the film is still enjoyable, and should lead one back to reading the Verne original.
  • This is a bit dated by now, but still not a bad film to watch. It seems like more of a travelogue than anything else, at this point. Frankly, at three hours and being a mid-50s film, I thought it might be too slow in too many spots but that was not the case. Only the bullfighting scene went on too long. The rest kept my interest.

    David Niven gets top billing but the real star of the show is "Cantinflas," a Spanish actor who, to my knowledge, only made it big in this least in this country. He is very likable and entertaining. The only thing is he is not always easy to understand. I used English subtitles a few times when he spoke.

    Niven played his normal stiff-neck Brit role. Thank goodness we don't see those, "I say, old bean" characters from GB anymore. However, I have always appreciated the British vocabulary, so much more refined than here in North America. Shirley MacLaine was so young I didn't recognize her. Of course, she made it difficult to spot her playing a brown-skinned Indian princess.

    In all, decent entertainment but one that might bore a lot of people today, which is probably why they did a re-make. I haven't seen the re-make, but I'll bet it isn't as good as this movie.
  • At a time where the standards for good movie making was apparently a lot lower than it is today, Michael Anderson's "Around the world in 80 days" was the biggest stinker I've seen since "Shaft in Africa."

    Im just kidding. I NEVER saw "Shaft in Africa." When I was watching this movie all I could picture was the director saying "Wow, what a great location! This will look great on film! Now.... the actors have to do something don't they..... oh hell why don't they just dance or fight or something for a while. The cameras have an auto pilot right? Man! I just cant get over this location!" A perfect example is the pointless cameo by Frank Sinatra. He's playing the piano in the saloon and he turns to look towards the camera and gives it a kinda sad face. And thats it for Frank. Done. No explanation, no reason. Just an excuse to put a big name in the cast. Its obvious that all the budget was used on traveling to and securing locations, and not on such things as "acting lessons" or "props NOT made of rubber." You can watch this movie if you want to waste about 3 hours of your time. But personally, I think you'll learn just as much about other cultures if you go to the Taco Bell drive through.
  • For a big, bloated Hollywood excuse to show 50 or 60 cameos it's not the worst thing on film. I enjoyed spotting all the stars, but the overall purpose for this movie escapes me.

    This movie is in need of some serious editing. There was no reason to show five minutes of a flamenco dancer or six minutes of bullfighting or eight minutes of the French countryside from above, etc. No doubt the footage is impressive in and of itself, but these scenes as they are do not belong in this movie. It's shocking, actually, how terribly put together it is.

    It has its moments, like the cargo ship sequence, and Shirley MacLaine is beautiful, and Cantinflas is sometimes amazing as the non-specific European sidekick (is he Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese?). But it is way too long and there are too many tedious sequences.
  • "Around the World in 80 Days" recreates the sensation of looking through someone else's vacation pictures. Some of them may be pretty, but by the time you've seen your fifth picture of palm trees and sand, you're ready to move on.

    This movie existed solely as a big F*** YOU to the television industry and the threat it was making to film box office in the mid-50s. Hollywood wanted to show what film could do that T.V. couldn't, which meant BIG films in exotic locations on enormous screens. Unfortunately, these added "benefits" came at the expense of just about everything else that makes films good -- pacing, character development, dramatic tension, etc.

    David Niven sleepwalks through this film, Cantinflas is only slightly less irritating that Roberto Benigni, and spotting celebrity cameos may keep you interested for the first half hour, but they're not the hook on which to hang a three-hour movie.

    Think of all the things you could do in three hours and do any of them instead of watching this film.

    Grade: D
  • 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.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    After viewing two movies with this title, I seriously wonder what the book is about. Because there's no way a successful 19th century novel could be this bereft of ideas. The version is a wide-screen travelogue, and the most developed theme the movie offers is an "anti-racism" message, while the movie somehow still manages to be racist. Niven plays uptight, Anglocentric prig Phileas Fogg. Cantinflas, with no discernible talent whatsoever, either triumphs in various int'l tasks, in a way Fogg could never (anti-racist), or wreaks havoc on each new place (because he's also an ignorant stereotype).

    It a movie with a lot of problems. The first half hour is bogged down in what must be the world's most inert setup dialog, so that the rest of the movie can go silent for long stretches. The movie cheaps out too much - preferring to stick its stars in front of a flat wall in a Hollywood studio, and cut to location vistas they're seeing, to keep costs down. This is pretty shabby-looking. When we arrive in Suez we're on an interior set of an exterior (a harbor). Who wants to see that in wide screen with Todd-AO? Cantinflas' Passepartout is intended to provide comic relief, but his bits are lazy and undeveloped, and he plays his buffoon with a flat affect. He has zero screen presence. The movie eats up more than 90 minutes, before in desperation it switches to "cameo overload" mode in an effort to liven things up. Everything ever filmed moves quicker than 80 Days.

    If you had to pick one of the two movie versions to watch, it's a toss-up. They're both bad. This one at least offers a lesson about film history. Every Best Picture winner flatters viewers ideas about themselves in some way; in this case voters rewarded a movie that suggested they were cosmopolitan.
  • With a project this ambitious, it probably should not be much of a surprise if some of it works very well while other portions are less effective. It's the kind of grand-scale movie that is so often highly acclaimed in its own day, regardless of what weaknesses it might have. It does have some very satisfying and entertaining sequences, yet overall the quality is uneven.

    There's no question that much of Jules Verne's story readily lends itself to the screen, and a somewhat less indulgent production might have made for a pretty good movie. A number of the sequences just go on a little too long, neither advancing the story nor providing much in the way of entertainment or thematic content. The story in itself is an interesting one, and the film works best when it stays on track.

    It's fun, of course, just to watch and try to catch all the cameo appearances. A few of them seem to have been forced into the script just to boost the total, but others work well. It's also enjoyable to see the footage from Méliès's "Trip to the Moon", although after that the prologue ends up dragging on a little too long.

    There's more than enough here to make it worth seeing, and it is usually enjoyable - it's just that it's too long and sometimes a little too much, and a less lavish approach would probably have made it better.
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