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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Around the World In 80 Days (1956)



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One of the most notoriously ambitious projects ever filmed, this lavish production of Around the World In 80 Days is quite a sight. It features scads of exotic locales, perilous adventures, and more stars than you can shake a stick at. At the time, advertising touted it as having more stars than any other film. Even today, it's questionable if any other movie beats it.

The cameos are fun (in fact, the term originated as a result of this movie), and more importantly, the story is too. David Niven plays the eternally punctual Phileas Fogg, the man who makes a bet he can travel around the world in eighty days. The fellow members of his posh gentleman's club take him up on it. The endearing part of this film is how tongue-in-cheek it all is -- the delicate balance between drama and comedy is reached and maintained, so that it's both exciting and funny. Alas, Around the World In 80 Days was filmed in Todd-AO and was absolutely stunning when projected the way it was intended to be. On video, even a letterboxed video, so much is lost.

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