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Around the World in 80 Days

Around the World in 80 Days movie poster
Directed by Michael Anderson
Produced by Kevin McClory
William Cameron Menzies
Michael Todd
Written by Novel:
Jules Verne
Screenplay:
James Poe
John Farrow
S.J. Perelman
Starring David Niven
Mario Moreno "Cantinflas"
Robert Newton
Shirley MacLaine
Music by Victor Young
Cinematography Lionel Lindon
Editing by Howard Epstein
Gene Ruggiero
Paul Weatherwax
Distributed by 1956 - 1976:
United Artists
1983 - present:
Warner Brothers
Release date(s) October 17, 1956
Running time 183 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6,000,000

Around the World in 80 Days is a 1956 adventure film produced by the Michael Todd Company and released by United Artists. It was directed by Michael Anderson. John Farrow, the original director, was replaced by Anderson after a few days of shooting. Produced by Michael Todd with Kevin McClory and William Cameron Menzies as associate producers. The screenplay was written by James Poe, John Farrow and S. J. Perelman based on the classic novel of the same name by Jules Verne. The music score was composed by Victor Young, and the Todd-AO 70 mm cinematography was by Lionel Lindon.

Contents

Production

Around the World in 80 Days was an epic film. It was produced by Michael Todd, a flamboyant Broadway showman who had never before produced a movie. The director he hired, Michael Anderson, had directed the highly acclaimed British war movie The Dam Busters, the 1956 film of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and other classic films.

Filming took place in late 1955, from August 9 to December 20. The crew worked fast (75 actual days of filming), producing 680,000 feet (128 miles) of film, which was edited down to 25,734 feet (7,844 m) of finished film. The picture cost just under $6 million to make, employing 140 locations, 100 sets and over 36,000 costumes. Todd said he and the crew visited every country portrayed in the picture (including England, France, India, Spain, Thailand and Japan).

The film premiered on October 17, 1956 at the Rivoli theater in New York City. Todd claimed that the film got 70 to 80 awards, including five Academy awards. The picture grossed $100 million worldwide, including about $25 million in the USA.

The movie included more than 40 stars besides David Niven, who played the lead, Phileas Fogg. The Mexican actor Cantinflas co-starred as Fogg's valet, Passepartout.

Some 10,000 extras were used in filming the bullfight scene, with Cantinflas as the matador, in Spain; Cantinflas had previously done some bullfighting. They used all 6,500 residents of a small Spanish town called Chinchón, 45 km away from Madrid, but Todd decided there weren't enough spectators. So he found 3,500 more from nearby towns. Todd also used more than 6,000 buffalo for a stampede scene.[citation needed] He used 650 Indians for a fight on a train in the West. Many were indeed Indians, but some were Hollywood extras. All 650 had their skin color altered with dye. Todd used about 50 gallons of orange-colored dye for those extras.

Todd sometimes used models of boats, ships and trains in the film, but he often decided that they didn't look realistic so he switched to the real thing where he could. The scene of a collapsing train bridge is partly without models. The overhead shot of a train crossing a bridge was full scale, but the bridge collapse was indeed a large scale miniature, verifiable by observing the slightly jerky motion of the rear passenger car as the train pulls away, as well as the slowed-down water droplets which are out of scale in the splashing river below. Water is the greatest givaway in a model shot. This helps to verify which ships are models and which are real. All the steamships shown in the first half are miniatures shot in an outdoor studio tank. It is mostly the water which gives the effect away. The exception is the American ship shown at the intermission point, which is real. A tunnel was built for a train sequence out of paper mache. After the train filming was complete, the "tunnel" was pushed over into the gorge.

Many of the balloon scenes with Niven and Cantinflas were filmed using a 160-foot (49 m) crane. Even that height bothered Niven, who was afraid of heights. Tom Burges, who was shorter than Niven, was used as a stand in for scenes where the balloon is seen from a distance. Many of the lots used in the film are now on the land occupied by Century City, an office complex in the L.A. area.

The title credits are shown at the end of the film. They are an animated sequence (created by Saul Bass) that lasts about seven minutes.

The DVDs for “Around the World...” include four hours of supplemental material, in addition to the (apparently restored) three-hour wide-screen color film. The above comments are summarized from the three-hour audio narrative that describes the film. Also included on one of the disks is a documentary film, about 50 minutes long, about Mike Todd.

Famed broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow appeared onscreen in the special prologue that introduces the film. It includes rare footage of an early science fiction fantasy film by Georges Méliès, A Trip to the Moon (1902), and the launching of an unmanned rocket and footage of the receding earth.

Plot

Around 1872, an English gentleman Phileas Fogg (David Niven) claims he can circumnavigate the world in eighty days. He makes a PS£20,000 wager with several skeptical fellow members of his London gentlemen's club, the Reform Club, that he can arrive back within 80 days before exactly 8:45 pm.

Together with his resourceful valet, Passepartout (Mario Moreno "Cantinflas"), Fogg sets out on his journey from Paris via a hot air balloon. Meanwhile, suspicion grows that Fogg has stolen £55,000 from the Bank of England so Police Inspector Fix (Robert Newton) is sent out by Ralph the bank president (Robert Morley) to trail and arrest Fogg. Hopscotching around the globe, Fogg pauses in Spain, where Passepartout engages in a comic bullfight. In India, Fogg and Passepartout rescue young widow Princess Aouda (Shirley MacLaine) from being forced into a funeral pyre with her late husband. The threesome visit Hong Kong, Japan, San Francisco, and the Wild West. Only hours short of winning his wager, Fogg is arrested upon returning to London, by the diligent yet misguided Inspector Fix.

At the jail, the humiliated Fix informs Fogg that the real culprit was caught in Brighton. Though eventually exonerated of the charges, he has lost everything — except the love of the winsome Aouda. But salvation is at hand when Passepartout realizes the next morning that, by crossing the International Date Line, they have gained a day. There is still time to reach the Reform Club and win the bet. To the surprise of all waiting at the club, Fogg arrives just before the clock's chime at 8:45 pm. Aouda and Passepartout then arrive. Noticing Fogg's whole travel party is here, Ralph announces the end of the journey.

One of the most famous sequences in the film, the flight by hot air balloon, is not in the original Jules Verne novel. Because the film was made in Todd AO, the sequence was expressly created to show off the locations seen on the flight, as projected on the giant curved screen used for the process.

Cast

The movie boasts a huge cast, with David Niven and Mario "Cantinflas" Moreno in the lead roles of Fogg and Passepartout. Fogg is the classic Victorian gentleman, well-dressed, well-spoken, and extremely punctual, whereas his servant Passepartout (who has an eye for the ladies) provides much of the comic relief as a "jack of all trades" for the film in contrast to his master's strict formality. Joining them are Shirley MacLaine as Princess Aouda and Robert Newton as the detective Fix, in his last role.

The role of Passepartout was greatly expanded from the novel to accommodate Cantinflas, the most famous Latin-American comedian at the time, and winds up the focus of the film. While Passepartout describes himself as a Parisian in the novel, this is unclear in the film—he has a French name, but speaks Spanish when he and his master arrive in Spain by balloon. There is also a comic bullfighting sequence especially created for Cantinflas that is not in the novel. Indeed, when the film was released in non-English speaking nations, Cantinflas was billed as the lead. According to the guidebook describing the movie, this was done because of an obstacle Todd faced in casting Cantinflas, who had never before appeared in an American movie and had turned down countless offers to do so. Todd allowed Cantinflas to appear in the film as a Latin, "so", the actor said himself, "to my audience in Latin America, I'll still be Cantinflas".

Over 40 famous performers make cameo appearances, including Marlene Dietrich, George Raft, and Frank Sinatra to name a few (a complete list of cameo appearances is listed below.) Indeed, this film is credited with popularizing the term cameo appearance.

The movie holds the record for the highest number of animals ever employed.[citation needed]

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Complete credited cast

(excluded are numerous extras)

Cameo appearances

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

The movie was nominated for eight Oscars, of which it was awarded five, beating out critically and publicly praised films such as The Ten Commandments, Giant, and The King and I:

Although not nominated for best original song, the film's theme song "Around the World" (music by Victor Young, words by Harold Adamson), became very popular. It was a hit for Bing Crosby in 1957, and was a staple of the easy-listening genre for many years: "Around the world I searched for you / I traveled on when hope was gone to keep a rendezvous ... No more will I go all around the world / For I have found my world in you".

Golden Globes

The movie was also nominated for three Golden Globes, of which it was awarded two:

Other awards

Distribution and ownership

The film was originally distributed by United Artists in two Todd-AO 70 mm versions, one for Todd-AO 70 mm release at 30 frames per second, and an alternate 70 mm version at 24 frames per second reduced to 35 mm for general release.

The original Todd-AO 70mm running time without the extra music was 179 minutes. However, after the Chicago showing Todd cut four minutes out of the Western sequence where Cantinflas is pursued by Indians. The 70mm print shown at The Rivoli theater in NYC was 175 minutes. However, the original 35mm Technicolor/anamorphic magnetic stereo and mono optical prints ran the complte 179 minutes with the chase scene intact. Although the leaders on the optical sound prints were labeled for Perspecta directional encoding, the prints do not contain the signal and were standard mono.

In 1968, additional cuts were made including removing most of the prologue with the changing aspect ratios. Only a brief few shots with Edward R. Murrow remained and the entire "Trip to the Moon" clips were cut. Since the opening shot of Murrow was 1.33 window boxed in the wide frame, they had to crop and blow up that shot for the 2.35 ratio which made it very grainy. The intermission was also cut for the 1968 re-release which included the freeze frame of the ship and fade in to the second half. The reels just jump cut with an awkward sound gap between the first and second half. The chase scene was missing from this version too which reduced the running time to 167 minutes. However, some uncut 179 minute 35mm Technicolor prints were struck too which meant at least some theaters played the Roadshow version even though the vast majority showed the shorter cut. 35mm IB/Scope copies of both versions exist from 1968. The 24 frames per second 70mm prints were also the 167 minute version in that year too. As a publicity stunt, Todd Jr. called the press when he removed a 70mm copy from a bank vault claiming it had been stored there since 1956 for safe keeping and was being shown at a theater again. It was absurd since an original 70mm would've faded to pink by 1968 and the copy they exhibited was the cut re-issue 167 minute version.

Around 1976, after its last network television broadcast on CBS, UA lost control of the film to Elizabeth Taylor, the widow of producer Michael Todd and who had inherited a portion of Todd's estate. In 1983, Warner Bros. acquired the rights to the film from Taylor, and reissued the film theatrically in a re-edited 143-minute version (this version would subsequently air only once on Turner Classic Movies, this was before any restoration on the movie was announced). In the years that followed, a pan-and-scan transfer of the alternate 24 fps version (presented at its full 183-minute length) was shown on cable television.

In 2004, WB issued a digitally restored version of the 24 fps incarnation on DVD, also at its full 183-minute length, but also including the original intermission, Entr'acte, and exit music segments that were a part of the original 1956 theatrical release, and for the first time on home video at its original 2.2:1 aspect widescreen ratio.

This restored version was reconstructed from the best available elements of the 24 fps edition WB could find, and was subsequently shown on Turner Classic Movies. The original elements from the 30 fps/70 mm Todd-AO version (as well as the original prints derived from these elements) still exist, albeit in faded condition due to the passage of time, but remain to be formally restored by WB. There is some missing footage in the India train ride where the image artificially fades in and out to compensate for the missing shots.

Warner's retained Andy Pratt Film Labs who in conjunction with Eastman Kodak developed a method to remove the cracked and fading to brown, clear lacquer from the original 65 mm Technicolor negative. Warners did nothing further to restore the negative. The 65 mm Negative was used for the DVD release. Due to costs of making a 70 mm release print even without magnetic striping, using DTS disk for audio, there are no immediate plans for any new prints. The 65 mm roadshow print negative was used for the DVD release. Had any 35 mm Anamorphic elements been used the aspect ratio would have been 2.35:1. Mike Todd had limited 35 mm anamorphic prints made with a non-standard compression ratio to provide a 2.21:1 viewing experience. These special 35 mm prints are called Cinestage, the same name of Mike Todd's showcase theatre in Chicago.

Best available prints of the 30 fps/70 mm version have recently been exhibited in revival movie houses worldwide. As of the present time, WB remains the film's rights holder.

Stereotypes

The film makes heavy use of stereotyping. Indians, American Indians, Englishmen, Spaniards, and others are broadly brushed caricatures. In one scene, however, the film plays with stereotyping itself when Fogg questions a passing Chinese man in condescending baby talk and the man replies in flawless English.

Although the Cantinflas character is supposed to be French he's Hispanic in the movie and no explanation is given for this story change. It isn't plausible that Fogg doesn't recognize the Spanish language when arriving in Spain and thinks it's an unknown dialect. Since Cantinflas character is (apparently) Spanish rather than French he does understand it.

Trivia

In South American posters and programs of the movie, Cantinflas is featured over the other players since he was very popular in Latin America. There were two souvenir programs sold in theaters. For Roadshow screenings Todd-AO is mentioned, for general release those pages are not contained in the book. The Program was created by Todd's publicist, Art Cohn, who died in the plane crash with him. His biography, "The Nine Lives of Michael Todd" was published after their deaths which put a macabre spin on the title. Todd Jr. also wrote a biography of his father.

The soundtrack was sold in two formats. Vinyl record and audio tape for home use. Later two CD versions were sold. A digital copy of the basic album and an expanded version with extra tracks not released to consumers. There was also a model kit of the balloon, a board game and Dell comic book adaptation sold as merchandise. There was also a Cantinflas puppet while unrelated directly to the movie, he's dressed in a similar outfit so it could be considered another tie in.

See also

References

External links

Awards
Preceded by
Marty
Academy Award for Best Picture
1956
Succeeded by
The Bridge on the River Kwai

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