Around the World in 80 Days 1959 version starring David Niven and Mexican clown Cantinflas, with dozens of cameo appearances by various celebrities
Editorial Review of Around the World in 80 Days (1959), courtesy of Amazon.com
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, Jose 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
Phileas Fogg bet his fellow club members that he can circle the globe in eighty days. That may not be impressive today, but in 1872, it was nearly impossible. Accompanied by his valet, Passepartout, and the wandering Princess Aouda, Fogg crosses Europe, India, Japan, the Pacific and the United States.
Trivia for Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)
- The term cameo, meaning in this case a small part by a famous person, was made popular by the many cameo appearances in this film.
- The barge used in Bangkok belonged to the King of Thailand. He lent it to producer Michael Todd.
- Cantinflas did not use any stunt doubles on the bullfighting scene.
- Orson Welles was a little upset he did not get a cameo in the film. He was upset because before Michael Todd produced this film, he produced a stage version by Welles. The play flopped but Todd turned the project into a film anyway and it enjoyed great success. Welles felt he gave the idea to Todd in the first place.
- For the Spanish-dubbed version of the film, Cantinflas himself provided the voice of his character Passepartout.
- Is generally considered the single largest film project ever undertaken in Hollywood. Filming was completed in 75 shooting days.
- Contrary to popular belief, production reports show that the large majority of this film was shot in Hollywood. An extensive number of exterior second unit locations were used, but most of the scenes were actually shot on sound stages in Hollywood, and on the back lots of over seven major studios including RKO-Pathe, RKO, Universal-International, Warner Bros., Columbia and 20th Century-Fox.
- Imanos Williams, a real Japanese circus performer, appears in the scene where Cantinflas joins up with a Japanese circus as a performer.
- The prologue features most of Georges Melies’ “From the Earth to the Moon”.
- The following famous people appear in small parts in the film, and are credited: A.E. Matthews, Alan Mowbray, Andy Devine, Basil Sydney, Beatrice Lillie, Buster Keaton, Cesar Romero, Charles Boyer, Charles Coburn, Tim McCoy, Edmund Lowe, Edward R. Murrow, Evelyn Keyes, Fernandel, Finlay Currie, Frank Sinatra, George Raft, Gilbert Roland, Glynis Johns, Harcourt Williams, Hermione Gingold, Jack Oakie, Joe E. Brown, John Carradine, John Mills, Jose Greco, Luis Miguel DominguÃn, Martine Carol, Marlene Dietrich, Melville Cooper, Mike Mazurki, Noel Coward, Peter Lorre,Red Skelton, Reginald Denny, Richard Wattis, Robert Morley, Ronald Colman, Ronald Squire, Cedric Hardwicke, John Gielgud, Trevor Howard and Victor McLaglen.