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Laramie Movie Scope:
Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

Skip the movie, read the book

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by Patrick Ivers, Film Critic
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Around the World in Eighty Days – (1956) This Oscar-winning best picture and score (composed by Victor Young), adapted from Jules Verne’s classic story, with an introduction by Edward R. Murrow, takes us around the world in three hours with 44 cameo appearances – including Joe E. Brown, Ronald Coleman, Noel Coward, Andy Devine, Marlene Dietrich, John Gielgud, Trevor Howard, Glynis Johns, Buster Keaton, Peter Lorre, George Raft, Frank Sinatra, Red Skelton.

On 3 July 1872 in London at the Reform Club, a fastidious, excessively confident, wealthy gentleman, Phileas Fogg (David Niven) makes a wager (₤5000 with each of four members of his club) that he can circumnavigate the globe in eighty days beginning that day. Promptly packing and departing with his recently acquired manservant and jack-of-all-trades Passepartout (the Mexican comedian Cantinflas), the pair arrive in Paris to be informed by Monsieur Gasse (Charles Boyer) at the office of Thomas and Cooke that the train they need to get through the Pyrenees will be delayed for nearly a week. However, Monsieur Gasse, a balloonist, offers to sell his aerostat to Fogg. Into the basket with flight manual in hand our intrepid adventurers climb, and we are aloft seeing the scenery from on high.

Back in England where on the same day as Fogg’s quixotic boast the Bank of London was robbed of ₤55,000, British authorities have become suspicious of Fogg’s hasty leave-taking; a detective sets out in hot pursuit. Our brave fellows take in the sights after their balloon descends into Spain (Spanish dancing and Passepartout dons a matador’s suit of lights in a bullring); by ship they sail to Morocco and from there to Bombay. Misinformed that the railway to Calcutta has been completed, they hire someone to take them by elephant to the end of the line; but before they reach their destination, they rescue a young Indian princess from suttee (ritual cremation). Fogg invites Princess Aouda (Shirley MacLaine) to accompany them on their journey.

More sailing brings them to Hong Kong where the detective tricks Passepartout into getting drunk and then sends the valet sans master on to Yokohama, Japan (where actual landmarks are misrepresented in the movie). Missing the ship needed for the next leg of the voyage, Fogg, calm and cool in a crisis, hires a junk to get to the land of the rising sun where he and the princess find Passepartout performing in a circus.

On to San Francisco then by train to Ft Kearney, Nebraska, where their train is attacked by Sioux Indians and Passepartout is captured. After being rescued by the US cavalry, Passepartout rejoins his master and the princess on a railway car rigged with a sail. With only days to go they board the steamship Henritta and begin a race with time across the Atlantic, but the fuel runs out. Never-say-die Fogg purchases the boat from its captain and orders that it be cannibalizing of all its own the wood until nothing remains to burn as they just make landfall where the detective is waiting for them with a warrant for Fogg’s arrest. The rest would be telling, but the film’s pace today seems plodding and the events mostly silly. Read the book.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2007 Patrick Ivers. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Patrick Ivers can be reached via e-mail at nora's email address at juno. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)