Literature: Around the World in Eighty Days aka: Aroundthe World In Eighty Days
One of the all time great adventure novels and certainly the most famous non-science fiction one by Jules Verne.In 1872 London, UK, the very proper English gentleman Phileas Fogg finds himself in a wager at his social club that he can travel around the world in eighty days, a seemingly impossible feat to Fogg's doubters. Thus committed, Fogg begins his trip at once, bringing along his new manservant, Jean Passepartout, who ironically wanted a nice sedate job after years traveling about in various jobs such as an acrobat or fireman.Along the way, Fogg and Passepartout have numerous adventures as they struggle to keep to a strict schedule. The most notable one in the first half is rescuing the beautiful Indian woman, Aouda, from being forced into a ceremonial self-immolation in India. Although Fogg tries to help her reach relatives in another safe British colony, this proves impossible and she becomes their fast companion for keeps who herself becomes more and more attracted to the dashing and intriguing Fogg.Unfortunately, there is a bank robbery in London and although Fogg is completely innocent, his trip abroad seems too coincidental by Detective Fix's reckoning. So, as Fogg begins his race, Fix follows him, unsuccessfully trying to keep his quarry stationary and initially unaware of how far he is going until it becomes more worthwhile to help Fogg complete his journey back to England where Fix can arrest him.As the gang continues their race through more adventures, it comes to a screeching halt when they reach Britain where Fix arrests Fogg. Although Fix later lets Fogg out of jail upon realizing he made a mistake, they are apparently too late as they arrive in London.However, Aouda inadvertently saves the day, both in love with Fogg and feeling guilty that she may have cost him his bet, when she proposes to the now ruined Phileas and he joyously accepts. Passepartout is sent to get a vicar to arrange the wedding, only to learn that the gang forgot they gained a day due to traveling east and actually arrived early. With only moments left to the deadline, Fogg and company race to the Club and make it just in time.The book has numerous adaptations, first on stage and then on film and TV. The more noted works are:
A major 1956 film starring David Niven and Shirley MacLaine which includes the travelers taking a balloon ride part of the way, a travel option which the original Fogg dismissed as impractical. This version won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1956.
A 1972 animated version in which Fogg's bet is motivated more out of love (for Lord Maze's niece Belinda) than money; notable as the first Australian cartoon to be networked in the US.
A 1989 TV mini-series starring Pierce Brosnan, and Eric Idle of Monty Python fame, which critics complained went at far too leisurely a pace for a story about a race against time.
A famous 1989 TV travel documentary starring Michael Palin of Monty Python fame where he takes the challenge to travel around the world without using aircraft, following Fogg's route as closely as possible. It turned Palin's career toward starring in a whole slew of travel series.
A Comic Relief series featured a celebrity relay version of this trip.
House of Mouse released a Compressed Adaptation, casting Mickey, Goofy and Minnie as Phileas Fogg, Passportout, and Auoda respectively. The basic story outline remains pretty much the same, but changes Fogg from an incredibly wealthy English gentleman to the caretaker of a financially struggling orphanage, and rather than as a wager, he goes on the journey as a test of punctuality in order to prove he's worthy of inhering his uncle's fortune to save his orphanage from foreclosure. Also, the robbery of the bank of England subplot is omitted.
The Bet: Circumnavigate the globe in just eighty days. Keep in mind that the book is set during the nineteenth century, before the invention and use of commercial aircraft for traveling.
The Big Guy: Passepartout, one of whose odd jobs was a fireman. Keep in mind the story is set in an age when firemen needed to pull the burning houses apart by hand, and thus invariably were recruited from men built like brick outhouses.
Passepartout's immense physical strength (and agility) is mentioned several times in the book: when he is forced to join a Japanese circus run by an American when he is temporarily stranded in Yokohama, during the Indian attack on the train in United States, and when Fogg is forced to buy and burn a steamship when crossing the Atlantic back to England.
The British Empire: "There is thus, so to speak, a trail of English towns all round the world."
But Not Too Black: Verne makes his mixed marriage easier to swallow for 19th century readers by describing Aouda as having "skin as white as a European's" and expressing herself "in perfect English".
Chekhov's Gun / Chekhov's Gag / Foreshadowing: Multiple references to Passepartout's watch falling further behind as they travel east, complete with an explanation in Chapter 11 regarding how the days are shorter when one travels eastbound.
Clock Discrepancy: At first it looks like Phileas Fogg came a day late and lost the bet, but then he notices the date in the newspaper and realizes that, since they crossed the International Date Line, they had gained a day and still on time.
Clock King: Phileas Fogg until the end, when he breaks his usual habits to win his bet. Phileas Fogg is the Unbuilt Trope for the Clock King: published at 1872, is the Trope Maker, but also explores all the ramifications about that trope: Being a Mysterious Stranger, the readers never know any of his Back Story, and only in the very last chapters the reader realizes that Fogg’s extreme reserve was not an Evil Brit case, but only a severe case of British Stuffiness. Unlike all his imitators, Fogg is very good at Xanatos Speed Chess and the Indy Ploy, because that’s the only way he can win The Bet. Fogg’s plan didn’t work, but it didn’t work in his favor: the Universe rewards him granting him almost an extra day. And the one obsessed with his clock was not him, but his employee, Jean Passepartout.
Cooperation Gambit: The valet and the police inspector come to an agreement to help each other as long as Fogg is out of British territory - the inspector wants to arrest Fogg for a bank robbery, the valet is trying to help his boss finish his world trip.
"Friends, no, allies, yes, but at the slightest sign of treachery I'll wring your neck."
Cosmic Plaything: Passepartout, whom Verne seems to delight in embarrassing by seemingly out-of-nowhere situations.
Criminal Doppelgänger: Phileas Fogg is wrongly pursued around the globe by Detective Fix because, in addition to the suspicious circumstances surrounding his sudden departure, he answers to the description of the gentleman who robbed the Bank of England.
Damsel in Distress: Aouda in her debut in the book. However after her rescue, Aouda more than pulls her own weight in the story. For examples, when their train is attacked by Indians, Aouda immediately gets a gun and starts shooting along with her companions and of course, she saves Fogg's future at the climax of the story.
Dub Name Change: Early English translations sometimes changed Fogg's first name to Phineas.
Funny Foreigner: Passepartout plays this role more than once. Vernes is playing with the trope since, as a Frenchman, Passepartout is not a foreigner from the author's perspective. This trope is deconstructed when the American circus master in Japan offers Passepartout job as a clown on his troupe, "In France, they hire foreign jesters. Abroad, they hire French buffoons."
Going to See the Elephant: Literally inverted. At one point, Fogg goes to see an actual elephant, but only to hurry up and get past a gap in the train routes.
Holy Ground: Passepartout gets in trouble for wearing shoes into a Hindu temple.
Idiot Ball: Passepartout does not tell his master about Fix or the fact that Fogg is suspected of bank robbery because...uh... However: he barely knows anything about Fogg, since he basically was hired the day before the the trip around the world, so there is enough reasonable doubt in his mind Fix might actually be right, hence the delay.
Leaving Audience: Happens to the lecturer on Mormonism. Ultimately Passepartout is the only one left listening.
Meaningful Name: Passepartout is French for "a key that open all locks". Furthermore, the name sounds a mighty lot like "Passport", which is inseparable from the modern traveller, and the literal translation of the name is "Goes Everywhere. He admits himself the name is fitting, as he went through several jobs in his past.
Phileas Fogg's background is mysterious and obscure, or foggy.
Inspector Fix is fixated on the belief that Fogg is the robber (an idée fixe, fixed idea).
Aouda fears that her presence with the travelers cost Fogg his bet by delaying him. Fogg firmly denies she was any problem and any concerns she may still have are dispelled by the fact that she is then instrumental instead in saving the day.
Passepartout at times as well. Several large delays were caused by him, even if mostly indirectly — like being lured into opium den in Shanghai by Fix, or being kidnapped by Sioux in America. Blundering into Hindu temple in Bombay and being dragged to court for this was totally his own doing, though.
Mysterious Past: Nothing about Fogg's Back Story is explained in the book: he's simply a wealthy gentleman living off the rent on his capital, doing nothing except reading papers and playing cards at his club. However during his journey we witness firsthand that he's able to handle a gun, to navigate a boat and a ship, knows a lot about engineering, etc. How We Got Here, though, remains a mystery even in the finale.
Not So Stoic: Fogg only loses his cool once in the entire story, when Fix comes up to apologise to him for his Wrongfully Accused business, and sets him free. Phileas Fogg, quintessential Gentleman Adventurer and completely in control of his emotions and passions throughout his voyage, decks Fix so hard the inspector collapses like a sack of potatoes.
Opium Den: Passepartout wanders into one of them in Shanghai, at Fix's instigation, and in a drug-fueled stupor forgets to tell Fogg about their ship's schedule change, ending up in Yokohama alone, until Fogg gets there on a different ship.
Plot Hole: OK, so the International Date Line didn't exist, so Fogg might not have noticed that he was gaining a few minutes every day if he was counting off days as he went. But he should have noticed the calendar date as he transited the United States, studing train tables and ship schedules.
Quintessential British Gentleman: Phileas Fogg. He's very proper and extremely stiff, and takes his routine seriously. He's also described as a very handsome man. One of his travelling companion thinks his scheme nonsensical and not what a proper gentleman should devote his time to, but he wins him over when he's determined to help Aouda.
Race Against the Clock: One of the most triumphant examples of this trope. Travel around the world in eighty days. It was extremely exciting for the writer who said he was studying ships' schedules as if it had been the most adventurous and exciting reading ever.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Phileas Fogg (Blue) is pratically an automaton. Passepartout (Red) is a much more excitable fellow.
Schedule Fanatic: Phileas Fogg until the end, where he misses a key detail and decides to heck with schedule fanaticism.
Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: How Fogg solves most of his travel difficulties. His luggage comprises one very oversized carpetbag stuffed with cash. Whenever a problem occurs, he buys the solution. In fact, Fogg bets half his fortune (20,000 pounds) and takes the other half with him. So, as Verne himself notesin a chapter heading, he's just about even afterwards. Note that 40,000 quid at the time is equivalent to roughly US$13 million as of now, on a gold price alone. The purchase power parity would yield even higher amount. Spending 6 megabucks in just 80 days would smooth the things up quite a bit. Even though he stands to make an incredible amount of money or lose everything, it's not about the money. It's about the adventure, and Fogg's honour: for at the outset, he notes that "a gentleman never jokes about a bet".
Stealth Insult: to Colonel Proctor. Given what proctology is (study of rectal diseases and infections), Verne is basically saying that the character is an ass.
Stiff Upper Lip: Phileas Fogg's basic personality until Aouda's heartfelt proposal at his darkest hour finally makes let himself go with love.
Super OCD: Phileas Fogg to the extreme. He fired a previous servant because of a very slight variation in the temperature of his shaving water. He stops having this in the ending. Fogg's Mysterious Past and narration hinting that his super-ordered lifestyle stems from his chaotic early life may suggest that it's actually a form of PTSD.
Wacky Americans Have Wacky Names: Col. Stamp W. Proctor who forced Phileas Fogg to duel. Fogg didn't want to do anything with him at first due to wanting to keep his timetable, but the American man would have none of it.
That's not it yet. It featured about fifty cameos, all listed on Wikipedia. It includes Charles Boyer, Ronald Colman, Marlene Dietrich, Red Skelton, and the list just keeps going from there.
Canon Immigrant: Phileas Fogg's balloon ride happens not in the Verne novel, but in this film. The balloon ride has since become such an iconic part of the story that Michael Palin took a balloon ride in his 1989 travelogue, and modern printings of Verne's novel are sometimes published along with another Verne novel, Five Weeks in a Balloon, with a balloonon the cover.
Epic Movie: Oh yes. Three hours long, shot on exotic locations, with a horde of cameos.
Follow That Car: Or "Follow that ostrich", as Fix says when getting in his own ostrich-driven transport in Hong Kong.
Large Ham: There might not have been any scenery left in Hollywood after John Carradine, playing Col. Proctor, chewed it all.
Pragmatic Adaptation: Not so much necessary, but desired in that the book had Aouda soon changing her clothes to a typical European dress. However for most adapters, having this beautiful Indian woman deemphasizing her exoticness by losing her Sari is unthinkable. Also, nowadays not having her accompany Fogg and Passepartout in the final sprint to the Reform Club makes the sequence feel incomplete.
Also, balancing a Indian attack on the train by first having the train stop so the Engineer can share a peace pipe with a different Native American nation, who have no interest in attacking since they are satisfied by this gesture.