|Around the World in 80 Days (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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A fabulous adventure which takes place in over 100 locations. Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 04/05/2005 Starring: David Niven Shirley Maclaine Run time: 178 minutes Rating: Nr
This Mike Todd production was a star-studded, multi-million dollar extravaganza when first released in 1956. It remains enjoyable family fare, but time has somewhat dulled its shine. Still, it compares favorably to the overly long, TV mini-series starring Pierce Brosnan and Eric Idle.
Elegant David Niven plays the neurotically punctual Phileas Fogg, a British gent who is spurned on by a wager to prove he can travel around the world in 80 days. He is accompanied by his valet, played with persnickety humor by Cantinflas.
Nominated for several Academy Awards, this was written by John Farrow (Mia's dad) and S.J. Perelman, based on Jules Verne's 1873 classic. The fun part is the razzle-dazzle. Todd knew what he was doing with all those exotic locales and over 40 cameo appearances, including Charles Boyer, Ronald Colman, Marlene Dietrich, Jos®¶ Greco, Peter Lorre, Buster Keaton, Frank Sinatra, and Red Skelton. A very young Shirley MacLaine was painted and dyed to play a lively Indian Princess. --Rochelle O'Gorman
- Mike Todd Chases Phileas Fogg Around the World
There's a famous old saying to the effect that "It's a difference of opinion that makes horse races." Present-day critics often look askance at "Around the World...," yet when it came out, it earned the plaudits of almost every critic then in existence, and was nominated for eight Oscars (including Best Director), winning five, including Best Picture. This may simply indicate a change in movie tastes on the part of critics over nearly 40 years, but I still consider it to be one of the most purely enjoyable examples of family viewing yet to appear on video.
Of course, everyone knows the basic premise of the film: Phileas Fogg (Niven), "the most punctual man alive," bets a group of fellow clubmen (staking his entire fortune) that he can circle the world in 80 days, and then, accompanied by his valet Passepartout (Cantinflas in his first U. S. film), sets out to do just that, along the way rescuing an English-educated Parsee girl, Aouda (MacLaine), from forced suttee and attracting the attention of Scotland Yard's Insp. Fix (Newton in his final role), who is convinced he is the man who robbed the Bank of England on the day before his departure. This was the first and last film produced by Mike Todd (then married to Elizabeth Taylor), who was killed two years later, and for a first effort--indeed, for any effort!--it's astounding. Todd believed in going all out, and he surrounded himself with the best talent he could find, even going so far as to cast major film figures in minor parts, inventing along the way the now-familiar term "cameo role." The film was actually shot in large part on location, requiring a huge crew and many cast members to travel untold thousands of miles and using what was literally "a cast of thousands." (Of all the exterior scenes, only two were observably shot on indoor sets.) To be sure, it loses something through translation to the small screen, but the scenery is still beautiful and the actors still strut their stuff to good effect.
In a movie of this length, pacing is everything, and the pace of "Around the World..." is consistent and steady. True, it's a little slow getting started, as it introduces Fogg and his Club, but after a few minutes it cuts to Passepartout on a "pennyfarthing" bicycle, and from then on there's always something going on or something interesting to look at: Cantinflas's bullfight in Spain, the balloon trip over the French countryside, the drugging of Passepartout in Hong Kong, the Japanese circus, and the stripping at sea of the sidewheeler Henrietta, to say nothing of the mere presence of Cantinflas, who adds a touch of comic lightness to what might otherwise be a rather taut film; the costumes, the vehicles, and the incidental characters, especially Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Gen. Sir Francis Cromarty, Red Skelton as the gluttonous drunk in San Francisco, John Carradine as Col. Proctor, and Joe E. Brown as the Fort Kearney stationmaster. The credits at the end are difficult to read unless you have a giant-screen TV, though the imaginitive treatment is worth sitting through. And viewers of all ages will enjoy the sheer suspense of "What-will-happen-next?"--which is, of course, what makes a story a story. The more penetrating viewer may also find it interesting to watch how Fogg develops: though he maintains almost to the end that he is a man of the most precise habits and has no human warmth to speak of, there are cracks in his armor--a moment's appreciation of a sunset over the Arabian Sea, his compassionate resolve to rescue Aouda (and his nervous lick of the lips when she seems unsaveable), his reassuring pats to Passepartout's shoulder as their journey passes midpoint and things pile up in their path. You will probably prefer to fast-forward through the prologue, featuring Edward R. Murrow giving an introductory talk, but once the movie itself gets under way, S. J. Perelman's inspired mix of action, humor, and suspense should hold everyone's interest.
After all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. This video has been in my collection for over 15 years (it was one of the first I acquired after buying my first VCR), and in that time, even with literally hundreds of other films in competition, I've taken time to run it a total of eight times to date--and enjoyed it just as much each time as I did when I first saw it. Modern critics to the contrary, I maintain that it well deserves a place in the pantheon of classics--and a look by families seeking simple enjoyment for all ages....more info
- David Niven's around the world
Very happy & satisfied. This is super for older ages...we know the cameo stars....more info
- The worst Best Picture winner ever???
First off, let me explain why I purchased the AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS DVD in the first place, sight unseen. One, I was trying to collect as many notable films of the 1950's as I could on DVD, to add to my personal library. Two, it was the winner of the 1956 Best Picture Oscar (how bad could it be, right?). And third, it was on sale at my local wholesaler. So I figured, what the hey, I'll take a chance.
Talk about a COLOSSAL disappointment. I'm a huge movie buff. I'm only 32 years old, but I love all sorts of films and genres from different periods and countries. I love old black & white and silent films, and I don't shy away from foreign films either. I'm also a huge fan of Warner Brothers' 2-Disc Special Edition DVDs. I try to keep an open mind about all the films I see, but I just can't come up with any convincing arguments to either buy or watch this film/DVD.
To start, there is NO GOOD REASON why this film should be 3 hours long. It could have very easily been edited down to 2, if not 90 minutes. There is almost no script to speak of, and what little there is consists of trite exchanges and banter with barely 2 memorable lines of dialogue. There are endless shots of open seas or country, followed by about 30 seconds of dialogue, followed by EVEN MORE endless footage of different locales. There is no real drama or comedy going on to drive the film, and the pacing is absolutely DREADFUL... I found myself hitting the "fast-foward" button on my remote on more than a few occasions, simply because I knew I wasn't missing any dialogue and the establishing shots would go on for 1 or 2 minutes STRAIGHT!
Secondly, the entire cast is virtually wasted. David Niven is always a delight to watch, but is never given a chance to make Fogg truly shine. He has one demeanor that he holds throughout: stiff and mannered, with little or no variation. Cantinflas, who supposedly was one of the highest paid comedians in the world at the time 80 DAYS was produced, gives us little reason to believe how or why he was such a sensation (other than doing his own stunt work). He's mildly amusing at best, and his accent is so thick and mumbled that I had to rewind and replay some scenes with the "subtitle" button on. As for the "noted" cameos... again, the actors/comedians are given little to do and barely play to their strengths and familiarity. The only cameo actor who stuck out as having any real performance or impact was the great John Carradine (can't miss that voice!).
It's hard to believe it took THREE different writers to come up with such a frustratingly bland, lifeless and unfunny script (not to mention headscratchingly illogical... when Cantinflas rescues the Shirley MacLaine Princess character, wouldn't she fall in love with HIM, her actual rescuer, rather than the cool and distant Fogg, who only ordered the rescue? Talk about a missed opportunity for some genuine comedy!).
Although this film obviously has some fans, I wonder if it's only because of some overriding nostalgia factor, whether it was seeing it for the first time back in 1956 or on TV as a child. Other than that, I can't understand how anyone could seriously recommend this film. Yes, it's beautifully photographed, and the costumes are great, but THAT'S IT. I can't believe that 80 DAYS won the Best Picture Oscar of 1956, a year that also gave us GIANT, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, THE KING AND I, THE SEARCHERS... hell, even FORBIDDEN PLANET or INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS should have won before this overblown moving postcard.
I'm sorry to say that I probably won't bother watching this film again and will most likely end up reselling my DVD copy (if anyone will take it!). Certainly my most disappointing DVD purchase EVER. Don't say you weren't warned!
- Too Much Padding and Not Enough Substance
When you go to the movies today, what movies you go see may force you to ask yourself "Where's the beef?" Today there are movies with wonderful special effects, grand stars, and no heart. Movies that are visual feasts that wow you, but leave you feeling empty on the inside. While people may consider this a recent trend with all the advances in technology, the truth is these sort of movies have been around for years, and the 1956 Best Picture winner "Around The World In 80 Days" is living proof of this. The story for "Around The World In 80 Days" takes up a whole twenty minutes of the movie. Several gentlemen hear of a bank being robbed by a thief who has fled the country, which leads to a discussion on whether or not he could successfully get away from the law. Phileas Fogg says that technology has advanced so much that if the thief were resourceful enough he could circle the world in exactly 80 days. The other gentlemen laugh and say it can't be done, so Fogg bets them 20,000 pounds that he personally could travel around the world in 80 days.
The gentlemen accept his bet, and with his assistant Passepartout sets out to circle the globe using whatever means necessary . A subplot involving a police man chasing Fogg due to a suspicion that he might have stolen some money, as well as a subplot where Fogg and Passepartout save an Indian princess (played by a young Shirley MacLaine in makeup) take place during this movie, but they are all second nature to what the movie is really about: Exotic locations and wondrous sights to see. Now, before we get into the meat (or lack therefor) of the movie, it should be noted that "Around The World In 80 Days" was not made with the intention of being good. Oh I'm sure producer Michael Todd (who gets his name above the title over the director) was pleased that people thought it was good, but the intention was not to make something that would be digested slowly. Michael Todd was tired of movies that were all talk and no action, and he wanted people to feel like a participant in the movie.
Therefore he created a new camera called Todd-AO, which would later be known as 70mm Cinescope. "Around The World In 80 Days" was not the first widescreen film (that was "The Robe") but made the biggest impression on the world. Ingeniously, the movie's opening (with a prolog by Edward R. Murrow) begins in the standard 35mm full screen mode, which was the shape of a TV screen. After a lengthy history of science and travel, the screen widens up to reveal the 70mm Todd-AO format. If you saw this movie in the theaters in 1956, this is where the curtain would pull open to cover the whole wall of the theater, therefor making the movie as immersive as possible. But making the picture bigger was only the beginning. Now Todd was going to make it so that audiences would be taken where they never went before. In a hot air balloon ride. To Spain to watch a bull fight. On a train where savage Indians are raiding the train, which results in a epic gun fight with the main characters fighting for their lives.
Everything that could thrill audiences were thrown into this movie, as well as a bunch of cameo appearances from famous stars such as Buster Keaton, Frank Sinatra, and Trevor Howard. In fact, this is the first movie where the term "cameo appearance" was coined in the first place. There are more then twenty cameo appearances in "Around The World In 80 Days," though most of the people don't say anything, and where there just to get a reaction from the audience (Example: A salon player looks up from his piano long enough for us to see it's Frank Sinatra and then puts his head back down). Considering this film pioneered so many techniques we take for granted now, I can't say I completely hate this film. That said, "Around The World In 80 Days" is the dullest Best Picture winner you are most likely ever going to see. Not bad, dull. For all the techniques this film created, it is a shame the story itself is not more interesting.
I don't know whether or not this is the fault of the source material, the film makers, or both. Certainly science has evolved so much in the past few years, that the idea you would need 80 days to circle the globe is absurd, you could travel it in less then a few days (and that's if you're being lazy). Even at the time of this films release it was easy to travel the world in half the time of this film, so the novelty of the story is long gone. So yes, the source material doesn't provide much suspense or imagination anymore, but worse was the film makers insistence of being too much in love with their own techniques. So intent are the film makers to make the audiences feel like they are viewing the world, the movie stalls several times in the movie, becoming tedious along the way. I mentioned that the storyline takes up about twenty minutes of the time in this movie, but the movie itself is more then three hours long. So what is it you are actually watching for those three hours?
Well, everything but story. The prolog with Edward R. Murrow is a good example of how much time the film wastes. Aside from the introduction to the Todd-AO format, this introduction has a documentary feel that has nothing to do with the movie. Then there's the fact that when you consider that Fogg and Passepartout are in a race it's very odd that they spend so much time lounging around. They go to Spain and spend almost a half hour fighting a bull. A balloon flight takes fifteen minutes. Indians chase the train for twenty. Shots of the sky and sea easily amount to more then an hours worth of film. And it just goes on and on, with these characters saying absolutely nothing of interest. During a boat scene there is about ten minutes of crew members throwing wood into the steam engine to make a boat go faster. It helps that Fogg has enough money to buy boats, trains, and whatever else he needs to win the race. I'm not exactly sure how much 20,000 pounds was worth back in 1956, but it seems like the cost of the race far outweighs the reward for winning it.
This movie won five Academy Awards. It's saying something that film did not win Best Director or was even nominated for any acting awards. This is a technical film through and through. The problem with technical films winning Oscars for Best Picture is that the excitement of them wear down pretty fast. While movies like "Ben-Hur," "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," and "Amadeus" were all very technical movies, they also had the story and characters to back up the movie when the visuals became outdated. "Around The World In 80 Days" is easily one of the worst Best Picture winners. It's not terrible, but it's painfully dull, it's so long it's maddening, and you don't ever really feel like your joining a race considering how many side trips are taken that wastes time. If there's a Best Picture winner you have to chose to not see, "Around The World In 80 Days" should be high on the list of considerations.
Rating: ** Stars...more info
- Excellent condition
The video was delivered very quickly and is in excellent condition. The price was great also....more info
- A real classic film
I hope the studio responsible for this magnificent production puts it out on DVD (hopefully widescreen). I know some complain of the pace of the film. If it was any faster it would be hard to enjoy the great scenery and become absorbed into the travel and adventure inherent in this film as the characters advance in this Jules Verne classic saga. This film picks you up and carries you along with it. I enjoy this film immensely and am surprised that there is no sign of it yet coming out on DVD....more info
- NO WONDER THIS PICTURE WON BEST PICTURE!!!
This film was made by legendary producer Mike Todd and newcomer director Mike Anderson(The Wreck of the Mary Deare - Authentic Region 1 DVD from Warner Brothers starring Gary Cooper, Charlton Heston)
The film stars many great stars and is renowned as the film that gave birth to the "cameo" appearence. It has David Niven as Phileas Fogg (The Sea Wolves (Keep Case)) and Catinflas in his first English speaking film as the French manservant Passpartout.
Shirley MacLaine makes her second film as Princess Auida (her first being Alfred Hitchcock'sThe Trouble with Harry) and Robert Newton makes his last film as Inspector Fix (Return to Treasure Island).
If those weren't enough stars it has Sir John Gielgud, Charles Coburn, Cesar Romero, Gilbert Roland, George Raft, Marlene Dietrich, Red Skelton, Charles Boyer, Ronald Coleman, Peter Lorre, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, John Carradine, Buster Keaton, Robert Morely and a plethora of many other great Character Actors and Silver Screen Legends.
Anyone who enjoys classic films will love this beautifully restored film with many vintage documentaries, trailers, interviews and a introduction by TCM host Robert Osbourne as well as A Trip To The Moon (1902) which appears early in the film during a narration about Mans vast expansions in the field of science.
If you don't like the film, I am sure you will still enjoy looking out for your favourite actor, like a Hitchcock film searching for the Master of Suspense. But I'm sure you will like the film as it has many twists, excitement and it is a classic story by Jules Verne. The great actors are just the icing on the cake.
Overall this is a thouroughly enjoyable story with great acting, great fun and great special features and restoration! Have fun searching for the numerous cameos!!...more info
- AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
I BELIEVE HOLLYWOOD SHOULD RE-START THE MAKING OF SUCH WONDERFUL FILMS AS AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS. THERE WAS NATURAL BRIGHT LIGHT, IT MADE ANYONE FEEL LIKE TRAVELING, THE MUSIC WAS THE PERFECT RELAXER, THE SUDDEN APPEARANCE OF MANY FAMOUS ACTORS, THE ACTOR'S PERFORMANCE,THE TRAVELLING SCENERY, IN FACT, THE WHOLE PRODUTION WAS AMAZING. THANK YOU FOR BRINGING IT BACK ON DVD.IT BRINGS WONDERFUL MEMORIES....more info
- Approaching 50, but Entertaining as Ever
If you're looking for a steely-eyed, completely objective review of Mike Todd's 1956 blockbuster "Around the World in 80 Days," don't look here! As a very unsophisticated boy of 12 I saw this film in its first release, and though I'm long past being an innocent 12-year-old, its spell over me has never faded. I loved the story, and I thought the "twist" at the ending was wonderfully clever (it still is!), but in 1957 it was the technical aspects of this movie that really blew me away--it was the first movie I ever saw in a super-wide-screen format, and the first I ever heard that was in stereophonic sound. Today, however, as I see ATWIED through adult eyes, the acting and the production values are what make it a great film for me.
The story is about Phileas Fogg (David Niven), a wealthy Englishman of compulsively punctual habits who wagers a staggering sum that he can complete a journey around the world in 80 days--quite a feat for 1872. Accompanied by his somewhat seedy gentleman's gentleman Passepartout (Cantinflas), Fogg sets off on his journey, unaware that Scotland Yard suspects him of masterminding a recent robbery of the Bank of England. Fueled by the bumbling and thick-headed Inspector Fixx (portrayed by Robert Newton, who died shortly after this film was completed), this subplot helps move the action along very smartly.
For movie buffs, the best feature of this film is the profusion of cameo roles, often delightfully tongue-in-cheek, that punctuates the action. (In fact, the term "cameo role" originated with this movie!) In some films--"The Longest Day" comes immediately to mind--cameo roles are often hokey, and an annoying distraction. In this one, they work beautifully because the casting is so good: Evelyn Keyes as a snooty Parisian girl, John Carradine as a blustering denizen of the American West, George Raft as a sinister saloon owner--every role is perfectly filled. And if you're not the type of viewer who immediately recognizes classic film actors at first glimpse, don't worry about it. You won't miss a thing. The good-natured cameos are so skillfully worked into the fabric of the film that they never intrude upon the plot.
Is "Around the World in 80 Days" flawless? Of course not. Parts of it, like the opening monologue by famous, cigarette-in-hand newscaster Edward R. Murrow, are certainly dated--but in a way, this gosh-gee-whiz segment showing a relatively tiny rocket being fired into the stratosphere is a nostalgic reminder of what life was like mere days before the first artificial satellite orbited a planet that would never be the same again.
Now, after a seemingly endless wait, nostalgia buffs can see this wonderfully good-natured film on DVD. The restoration is virtually flawless (there are a few places where the print could have been cleaned up a bit), but compared with the faded VHS copies that have been floating around for years, this release of ATWIED is absolutely stunning, its color and sound brilliantly restored, and well worth the modest investment to obtain it. The special added features are generally worthwhile, too. Highly recommended!...more info
- A great 1950's film
If you want a good light hearted comedy to watch tonite with a great cast and a great script then I think that you will fall in love with this movie. I most certainly did. ...more info
- Special Fetures for "AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS" 2-Disc DVD
Here are the special features:
-Introductions by Turner Classic Movies host and film historian Robert Osborne
-Feature-length commentary by Brian Sibley of BBC Radio
Georges Melies' A Trip to the Moon (1902)
-1956 original and 1983 reissue theatrical trailers
-DVD-ROM link to Michael Todd's Around the World in 80 Days
-Introductions by Turner Classic Movies host and film historian Robert Osborne
-Around the World of Mike Todd (1968): narrated by Orson Welles, this profile of the film's producer features reminiscences by Elizabeth Taylor, Gypsy Rose Lee, Ethel Merman, Lowell Thomas and others
-Playhouse 90: Around the World in 90 Minutes (excerpts): Elizabeth Taylor hosts this live October 17, 1957 telecast of the a star-studded gala from Madison Square Garden celebrating the one-year anniversary of Around the World in 80 Days' world premiere.
-March 27, 1957 Academy Awards? ceremony highlights
-Newsreels: the Los Angeles premiere and the opening in Spain
Sounds great! Also can't wait for the "Cary Grant Signature Collection" from Warner Bros. on June 1, 2004. That collection features: "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House", "The Bachelor and The Bobby-Soxer", "My Favorite Wife", "Destination Tokyo", "Night and Day". They're having a great DVD year!...more info
- In the grand tradition of Hollywood
Around the World in 80 Days is a movie in the grand tradition of Hollywood. The transfer to DVD is excellent as are the supplemental materials included in the set. ...more info
- A traveloguethat hasn't aged as well as it might.
This movie is a mixed bag. Where the actors are actually doing something, it is very entertaining. The many cameos of long-gone stars are delightful. But in-between are many minutes of beautiful scenery.
Don't get me wrong. I love travelogues, but the long, loving shots of nothing but exotic countryside tends to wear thin after awhile....more info
- A film treasure to be enjoyed no matter what the years is ..
One of the 1950's best films ever this classic books in at a solid 3 hours in length .. Not bad when today's films barely hit 90 minutes and then they do it begrudgingly ...
I don't know if you have to be over 50 to enjoy this film since it certainly does have a lot of the hottest stars of the time like Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Jose Greco and so on .. The main start, David Niven and Cantinflas are incredible and of course the number of Oscars won by this film still put's it up there as the best ....
The DVD is excellent both the Dolby tacks and the colour video ....
- A real snoozer!!!
This movie flat out stunk! There was hardly any dialogue. And really no action. And it was slow. Don't see it!...more info
- great widescreen, boring little screen
This was a great movie when seen the first time in the the Todd-AO widescreen process, which was meant as competition for Cinerama. And the star appearances are interesting as a side fillip. However, too much time is wasted on scenes that were primarily meant to give the audience sensations of motion. If you are really interested in the story, get a copy of the Pierce Brosnan - Eric Idle mini series - much more of the plot is covered, and less of the surround-screen effects that don't translate to a TV screen....more info
- Good News for all of you!
According to the Digital Bits, Warner Brothers will be releasing AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS in a 2-disc SE. The exact date is not known, but Warner representatives have said it is coming soon, with the prologue, intermission, etc. I will try to give you more details when I can!
- Around the World in 80 Days (Two-Disc Special Edition)
excellent...cantinflas y david niven just only excellent...more info
- Lots of fun
This wonderfully comic, beautifully photographed mini epic is one of my favorite films of all time. The plot sticks pretty close to the Jules Verne novel of the same name as it relates the unlikely Victorian tale of Phileas Fogg, a mysterious millionaire played with panache by David Niven. (Was there ever a more perfect stiff English gentleman type?) Fogg bets his snooty London club that he can travel around the world in eighty days, and sets off immediately with his new servant Passepartout (played by Cantinflas, the Charlie Chaplin of Mexico.) In beautiful travelogue photography we follow the pair through many adventures in Spain, India (where they rescue an Indian princess, played by Shirley McClean, which may seem absurd today but heck it was made in the fifties), Japan, and the wild west of America. Along the way they take balloons, trains, boats, handcars, etc. all the while playing whist, having four o'clock tea, and encountering as many Hollywood cameos as are found in the other great comic epic of this film era, "It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World." Dogging their every step is the detective Mr. Fix, who suspects Fogg is really a bank robber. Is he? Will they make it around the world in time? And has there ever been such a winning cast in such a splendid story?...more info
- DVD Edition Brings New Luster to Todd Classic!
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS is more a triumph of spectacle than of storytelling, with an extraordinary backstory of a master entrepreneur's decade-long dream to create the biggest, most extravagant entertainment ever made. That the film was ever produced at all was miraculous; that it succeeded so well (earning the "Best Picture" Academy Award, along with a raftload of other prizes), and remains the most enjoyable version of Verne's novel (far superior to the Pierce Brosnan and Jackie Chan remakes) is a living testament to it's nearly forgotten guiding spirit, Michael Todd.
The film itself is basically a series of 'set pieces' (most involving the brilliant Mexican comedian, Cantinflas, and a wide variety of guest stars, appearing in 'cameos', to use the term coined by Todd), built around the framework of an aristocrat's wager that, using available transportation, he could circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. While David Niven is perfect as the supercilious Phileas Fogg, and Robert Newton is at his hammy best as detective Mr. Fix, it is Cantinflas, as Passepartout, manservant and sweet Everyman, who steals the movie.
While the years has lessened the novelty of many of the cameos, as performers have faded from memory, a few legendary actors still bring a smile, in their brief appearances (particularly an over-long but still amusing barroom sequence with Marlene Dietrich, George Raft, Red Skelton, and, as a 'capper', Frank Sinatra).
Included as 'extras' offered in the two-disc set are a revealing, occasionally tongue-in-cheek 1968 biography, "Around the World of Mike Todd", featuring fascinating and funny insights by his widow, Elizabeth Taylor, a clean-shaven, cape-draped Orson Welles, and many others; "Playhouse 90: Around the World in 90 Minutes", a 'live' look at the ultimately disastrous first anniversary 80 DAYS party at Madison Square Garden, with Garry Moore offering funny vignettes featuring Todd, himself (quite gifted at comedy!), and 'on scene' legendary commentators Walter Cronkite and Jim McKay (long before "Wide World of Sports"); Todd and Taylor, backstage after winning the "Best Picture" Oscar; and MUCH more.
Bravo to Warner Home Video for releasing a new, remastered DVD edition of the film, and including a treasure trove of special features about the film, and the irrepressible Michael Todd!...more info
- An Absolute Classic
If the objective of a film is to entertain, then this one fills the bill admirably, and it works its magic every time that you view it. Based on Jules Verne's tale, Mike Todd produced a sweeping panorama of the world of 1872, as Plileas Fogg (David Niven), a proper British gentleman, claims that progress has been so great that a person can circumnavigate the earth in as little as 80 days. His fellow club members hoot and bet a fortune that he cannot, so Fogg and his servant, Passepartout (the wonderful, Mexican comedian Cantinflas), set off from London to Paris and on around the world by train, ship, elephant, and even balloon, and we are treated to a magnificent spectacle. Along the way, Fogg runs afoul of Mr. Fix (Robert Newton), a detective who mistakenly tries to arrest Fogg for robbing the Bank of England. Fogg also saves the Indian Princess Aouda (Shirley MacLaine) from burning on the funeral pyre of her dead husband, and romance grows in a particularly 19th century, British manner. Tension grows as they struggle to get from Japan to San Francisco, across the American continent and the Atlantic in time to meet the deadline. This is a thoroughly enjoyable film that doesn't grow old....more info
- A STYLISH, STAR-STUDDED TRIP IN A STUNNING NEW TRANSFER!
"Around The World in 80 Days" is producer, Mike Todd's lasting tribute to divine decadence circa 1950's film making. Keeping in mind that the decade produced one lavish, eye popping spectacle after the next in an attempt to win audience away from television, "Around the World in 80 Days" is a star-studded, over produced and overblown retelling of the classic story by visionary author, Jules Verne. Having stated the obvious, this film is also a lot of fun to watch. The story - in brief - concerns a bet made by Phileus Fogg (David Niven)to members of his men's club, that he can circle the world in 80 days and be back in England in time to collect his handsome wager. On this occasion, Fogg is ably aided by his man servant, Passepartout (Cantinflas)to whom Fogg entrusts most of the seemingly benign duties on their journey. Every one from famed Flamango dancer, Jose Greco, to sultry Marlene Dietrich make cameo appearances, which is part of the fun of this gigantic travel log with an attitude. Shirley McClaine plays a key role as an Arabian princess, whom Fogg befriends and brings back with him to England. Over all, good humor, great fun - if a bit stuffy at times - and carried off with overwhelmingly "splendiferous" showmanship.
THE TRANSFER: In a word - marvelous. "Around the World In 80 Days" was filmed in Mike Todd's patented Todd-AO widescreen format. Superior to Cinemascope in just about every way, novices to the process may find the fish eye warping of vertical and horizontal lines a bit problematic to watch but this is as Todd envisioned the film to be seen. Warner Brothers gives us a near pristine print. After some unstable color during the film's overly lengthy introduction (delivered by no less of an M.C. narrator than Edward R. Murrow), and a rather faded montage of a rocket ship blasting into space, the rest of the film exhibits a stunningly pristine, vibrant and solid color scheme that is in keeping with the high resolution of the Todd-AO film process. Colors are rich, well defined and nicely balanced. Shadow, black and contrast levels are magnificently rendered. Several outdoor scenes exhibit a slightly soft characteristic, but this too is in keeping with the original photography. Edge enhancement is rarely present. Pixelization and shimmering of fine details is never an issue. The audio is remixed to 5.1 and offers a marvelous spread - particularly in the music. Dialogue is directionalized in several scenes to good advantage. Truly, this is one heck of a good visual presentation from Warner and it is to be commended on every level.
EXTRAS: The film is divided into two parts across two discs, but, as the original roadshow engagement had an intermission, this break is forgiveable. Both discs contain a very thorough and engaging audio commentary. As well, on disc one we get to see George Melies' A Trip To the Moon (also based on a Jules Verne novel) in its full and uncropped version. The film elements have dated badly but over all, the image quality on this short film is to be expected. On disc two we get several extra features including an hour long documentary on Mike Todd that was produced in 1968 and narrated by Orson Welles. The color balancing on this documentary is POOR, with orange flesh tones and a considerable amount of grain, dirt and scratches throughout. We also get some edited clips from Playhouse 90 and the Academy Award ceremonies that are in poor condition but interesting to view from a historical perspective nevertheless.
BOTTOM LINE: "Around The World in 80 Days" is the sort of grandiose production that became a main staple of the 1950s. It's loaded with kitsch, glamor, exotic locations and appearances by nearly every major star of the day. Although one could argue there were far more deserving candidates for the BEST PICTURE OSCAR, this film continues to live up to all the hype one has come to hear over the years, regarding its lengthy and lavish production. Warner's 2 disc special edition should be on everybody's wish list!...more info
- One of the Most Ambitious and Gorgeous Movies Ever Made!
It's hard to believe a movie this scale ever got made but thank goodness it did! I have a large collection of dvds and this one ranks in the top 10! Beautiful film and sound quality and a treat to watch. Great special features too. A MUST HAVE AT TWICE THE PRICE!!!...more info
- "A Real Trip"
I saw this movie in St. Louis the week it premiered. I was 7 years old and bug-eyed. I still have my hardbound souvineer book that you could purchase for a memento. The scenes and sets are shot beautifully. David Niven and Cantiflas are an eccentric and entertaining pair. To say it is sweeping is an understatement. The best part of the movie besides the colorful visual bombardment is seeing the "over a hundred" established stars make their cameo appearances: Marlene Deitrich, George Raft, Beatrice Lilly, and a very young and beautiful Shirley McClaine. Their sub-stories are woven together beautifully in this film. I think Jules Verne would have really dug it....more info
- The original can't hold a candle to Pierce Brosnan's version
Even though it has been nearly 13 years since I saw this movie and liked it very much, it doesn't hold a candle to the Pierce Brosnan version and it is a bit slow-paced and has color detoriation that needs to be fixed! But other than that, David Niven has always been an excellent actor and they should play on a new game show called "Can you guess this person's face?" of the more than 40 celebrities that were shown! Beautiful locations and scenery. I thought Niven's character was cold as a fish while Brosnan's Fogg showed more emotion and humor!...more info
- Great film - wish it was full frame letterboxed on DVD
I agree. This file demands to be full frame on DVD. And yes it's at a slower pace, but traveling it usually at a slower pace and that's probably part of why I like this film. Regarding that comment about the color. I looked it up and this film is in Technicolor and this color process almost always preserves it's original vibrancy. My guess is that he either got a bad tape or the tape transfer was not good. A DVD should look really good, especially on a HDTV. Come on Warner, when can we have a proper DVD of this film?...more info
- A spectacle in every sense of the world!
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 °Í20,000 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...
- Worth Seeing Once
After the first 45 minutes, I wondered if I'd lost my mind to continue watching a movie so stunningly boring and lacking in plot development. Everybody knows the premise of course. The fabulously wealthy Phineas Fogg wagers he can circumnavigate the globe in an unprecedented 80 days, whereupon he and his manservant Passepartout set off to do it. If you read Jules Verne's book, you would think making a movie of it would be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, this movie was made in just that style. Anyway, in memory of Jules Verne, and because I thought it must have won 5 Oscars for some reason, I just had to see what happened next, and it did begin to pick up after they arrived in India. Or perhaps my expectations by then were lower. The photography is superb. The cast has dozens of cameos, including Buster Keaton as a train conductor. But the flat-footed direction disappointed me. I'm glad I watched it, but I don't intend to watch it again....more info
- At last! The original roadshow version in Widescreen format!
I have been fortunate enough to get an early look at AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS via a friend who is a local DVD critic.
Fans of this film who have eagerly awaited its DVD release will be truly thrilled. It's finally been restored to its original full-length roadshow version, and it looks and sounds marvelous.
For a film that is nearly 50 years old, I think the folks at Warner have done a terrific job with the mastering. The images are clear and sharp, and the colors are about as good as you can expect from anything photographed in the Eastmancolor process during the mid-1950s. The colors are as satisfying as those found on other landmark films of the era, such as REAR WINDOW or THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.
Happily, Warner has spread the film over two discs, and each disc is stuffed with extras. Of particular note to fans is a terrific documentary by Sol Zimmer (sp?) all about the film's producer, the inimitable Mike Todd. It's as fascinating as the film itself.
Best of all is the lush Victor Young score, which is done great justice by the lovely 5.1 surround mix.
I'm sure this Oscar-winning Best Picture will find a happy place in every collection of essential DVDs....more info
- Three and a half stars-Still a wonderful trip!
This review is for the new two disc DVD release of Around the World in 80 Days.
The picture was a huge gamble for producer Mike Todd both financially and personally but it is one that paid off handsomely in spades.It won many,many accolades including the best picture OSCAR for 1956(five total).
It is a veritable who's who of film actors from its lead characters of David Niven and Cantinflas to Noel Coward,Ralph Richardson,Ronald Coleman,Evelyn Keyes,John Carradine,Reginald Denny,Marlene Dietrich,George Raft,Victor McLaughlin,Peter Lorre,Buster Keaton(who looks very much at home as a conductor on a train in the old west being pulled by a locomotive of similar style as the 'General'),and many,many more.
David Niven is a very Victorian,very stalwart and stiff-upper-lip Englishman who, immediately after taking on a new "man" played by famous Mexican/Latin American film star Cantinflas,decides to take a bet on that he can 'round the world in less than 80 days and the film takes us on that trip with him.
Along the way we see some very spectacular locations and scenery as the cinemetography is top rate throughout.
The film opens interestingly enough by Edward R.Murrows who introduces us to a replay of George Melies' 1902 film "A Trip to the Moon"(almost complete) then we get to see earth from the camera of a rocket which was sent up especially by Todd for use in this picture.This then all segues into the beginning of the "actual" picture.
The picture I feel has lost a little of the punch it had back in 1956.It is a bit uneven throughout as it has its' weak moments(The Spanish dancing sequence)and strong moments(the rescue of the princess in India).
Also as uneven as the film plays so is the film transfer which could/should have been done MUCH better than it was.The print itself is quite good and clear but there are many places throughout that need "cleaning" of the light streaks and blotches that appear much too often.There are also some scenes with light non-moving dots in them but whether this is a camera lens problem that is permamently on the film or a print/negative problem(which in either scenario could easily be removed digiatlly)is unknown.
In conclusion this is the best transfer of this movie to date onto DVD.The set is filled with many wonderful features including a great bio of the producer and many behind the scenes look at the making of the film.
Although an uneven picture clocking in at about 180 minutes it still manages to satisfy.The cinemtography never fails to impress and it is well supported throughout by a cornocopia of fine actors....more info
- Great Fun to watch!
I watched this video over several days, I didn't want it to end quickly because it is entertaining to say the least. Try making a sandwich, watch the DVD, then turn it off. Later perhaps over dinner, watch the DVD....
Anyway that's how I decided to spend some little amount of time and I smiled a lot and think my digestion was even improved! ...more info
- Top class
A carton box used, yet, in great condition. Wonderful sound and
bright colors. What more?...more info