Saturday, September 17, 2011

Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

Adaptation of Jules Verne's novel about a Victorian Englishman who bets that with the new steamships and railways he can travel around the world in 80 Days. [imdb]

Nominated for 8 Oscars:

Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Director: Michael Anderson
Best Adapted Screenplay (WINNER)
Best Original Score (WINNER)
Best Cinematography (WINNER)
Best Editing (WINNER)
Best Art Direction
Best Costume Design

The Best Picture winner for 1956 is considered by many to be one of the worst in Oscar's history. As I go to each of them chronologically, I was quite happy to reach this one, as I suspected it would be easy to watch, maybe even fun. And I was right: I think the critics are overreacting; it's not a terribly smart film, it doesn't even explore its own potential, but it's far from worst.

Out of its competition, I've only seen Giant which is a better film, and definitely more serious & important. Around the World starts out very well, but loses focus along the way, or maybe it all seemed to rushed. It has a good story, but the writing could've been better in the second half, and the ending is not what I might've hoped for. Best in show is Cantinflas, a Mexican celebrity/actor playing the servant: he's very funny here and most of all likeable, and the success of this film depends a lot on his charisma.

How did this win Best Picture? Probably because it was the cool stuff, and it was also a competitive year, so Giant and The King and I were real contenders and could've split the votes. The Art Direction is very impressive and the film looks well-done technically.

My rating for the film: 6/10. I just wish they had paid more attention to the second half.


  1. Despised this film. Definitely unbearable.

    I actually tried to rewatch it, to see if this will improve. My goodness, it is just 10 minutes and I can't take it anymore.

    This is the first BP winner that I personally disliked. The idea is good, and the movie is respectable, but as a movie that I'd watch? I'd rather not.

    But to each his own. :)

  2. the film is inoffensive to me. :) light pleasure, at least for first half.