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Film / Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

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Around the World in 80 Days (sometimes spelled as Around the World in Eighty Days) is a 1956 film based on Jules Verne's 1873 novel, produced by the Michael Todd Company and released by United Artists. The film stars David Niven, Cantinflas, Shirley MacLaine, Robert Newton, and an All-Star Cast of cameo actors.

The film is directed by Michael Anderson and produced by Michael Todd, with the screenplay by James Poe, John Farrow, and S. J. Perelman. The music score was composed by Victor Young, and the Todd-AO 70 mm cinematography was by Lionel Lindon. The seven-minute-long animated title sequence, shown at the end of the film, was created by award-winning designer Saul Bass.

The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It was also one of the last films scored by Young while he was alive, as he died less than one month after the film's release.

The 1956 film adaptation provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Nationality: Maybe? Jean Passepartout in the novel is a Frenchman, but is played by Mexican actor-comedian Cantinflas. On one hand he's surprisingly fluent in Spanish in the film, on the other he retains his original French name.
  • Annoying Arrows: Taken to an embarrassing extreme when arrows can be seen bouncing off of Passepartout during the Indian attack on the train.
  • Beastly Bloodsports: The film includes scenes of Cantinflas bullfighting in Chinchón.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In: Or at least it does when an American flings it at Passepartout's table after Passepartout gets a little too cozy with Marlene Dietrich.
  • Brits Love Tea:
    • Fix may regard Fogg's imminent escape from India as a "crisis", but the local British police chief isn't going to let that interrupt his tea or anything.
    • Fogg having his tea served on a liner deck in the middle of a storm.
  • Cameo Cluster: Peter Lorre! Buster Keaton! Frank Sinatra? And Noël Coward, John Gielgud, Trevor Howard, Charles Boyer, Cesar Romero, Cedric Hardwicke, Ronald Colman, Charles Coburn, George Raft, Marlene Dietrich, Red Skelton, John Carradine, Andy Devine, and the list just keeps going from there. Part of the film's gimmick was its long parade of brief cameo appearances by familiar faces, keeping audiences wondering who would show up next.
  • 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 balloon on the cover.
  • Creative Closing Credits: A six-minute Saul Bass reconstruction of the events of the film. It can be seen here.
  • Dry Crusader: The final obstacle that very, but just barely nearly gets Fogg to lose the bet is Fogg running into a group of these who ask him for money, ask him to stay and pray in thanks when he gives them his final hundred-pound note, and try to make him stay and pray for his soul when he says he has to go because of a bet.
  • Epic Movie: Oh yes. Three hours long, shot on exotic locations, with a horde of cameos.
  • Fake Shemp: David Niven was afraid of heights, so Tom Burges, who was shorter than Niven, stood in for him for scenes where the balloon is seen from a distance.
  • Follow That Car: Or "Follow that ostrich", as Fix says when getting in his own ostrich-driven transport in Hong Kong.
  • Intermission: This occurs when the trio sail on a ship to the United States, to an instrumental of “Rue Britannia” switching to “Yankee Doodle.”
  • Invisible President: In one of the film's many tongue-in-cheek scenes (S. J. Perelman was in charge of the screenplay, after all), there's a big buildup in which a newspaper is delivered to Queen Victoria... of whom all we see is one hand.
  • Large Ham: There might not have been any scenery left in Hollywood after John Carradine, playing Col. Proctor, chewed it all.
  • Leitmotif: "Rule, Britannia" which plays several times throughout the film, symbolizing Fogg's unstoppable determination. Passepartout has his own theme as well.
  • Mid-Battle Tea Break: "Crisis or no, nothing should interfere with tea!"
  • One-Book Author: This was the only film produced by Mike Todd, who primarily produced Broadway shows. He was killed in a plane crash eighteen months after the film opened.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • The original story has Phileas Fogg travel in the autumn and winter of the year. This especially comes into play when he crosses the US, and uses a sledge. Evidently it proved necessary or more appropriate to film the movie in the summer; the date of the trip is changed accordingly. The journey by sledge on the prairies is turned into a journey on a handcar propelled by sail.
    • 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.
    • Balancing an 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.
  • Scenery Porn: And lots of it.
  • Time Title: Film adaptation of the book, Around the World in Eighty Days.
  • Widescreen Shot: A "spread to widescreen" shot.