Starring: David Niven, Shirley MacLaine, Cantinflass, Robert Newton
Release Date: Oct. 17, 1956 (USA)
Running Time: 175 min
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Family
Commentary Around the World in Eighty Days is a fantastic adventure tale. It was written by the famous French science fiction writer Jules Verne back in 1872, long before anyone had traveled around the world in 80 days. The story is fascinating, as is the movie, which is an accurate portrayal of the novel. The movie was shot in location at several exciting places around the world, including London, Paris, Spain, India, Hong Kong, Japan, and the American West. The acting is great, especially David Niven's performance as Phileas Fogg, the compulsive Englishman who wagers to take the journey, as well as Cantinflass' performance as Passpartout, his humble servant.
Plot Summary Written by Jules Verne in 1872, Around the World in Eighty Days concerns an eccentric but daring Englishman, Phileas Fogg (David Niven), who makes a substantial wager with his associates at the highly conservative Reform Club that he can travel around the world in 80 days, a feat never before ventured by anyone. They eagerly take him up on his bet. He journeys with his butler Passpartout (Cantinflass). A detective named Inspector Fix (Robert Newton) suspects him of having stolen 55,000 pounds from the Bank of England and follows him most of the way. He also meets and rescues Princess Aouda (Shirley MacLaine) in India, who voyages with him the rest of the way. Can he make it back in 80 days and win his bet?
Historical Significance Around the World in Eighty Days is a very dated story, but still wonderful in my opinion when placed in its proper historical perspective. In 1872, nobody had traveled around the world in 80 days, and no one would until 1889, when Nellie Bly, a New York journalist, completed a voyage around the world in just over 72 days. During the 20th century, thanks to air travel, the time required dropped very fast, to less than 40 hours by 1956, when the movie was made, according to news commentator Edward R. Murrow, shown at the beginning of the movie. Since 1961, astronauts have routinely circumnavigated the globe in orbit in about 90 minutes.