Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Around the World in 80 Days (1956)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

In producer Michael Todd's and British director Michael Anderson's Best Picture-winning, exciting but tedious and over-long globe-trotting travelogue - a three-hour epic and adaptation of the Jules Verne classic 1872 escapist adventure novel, was about a proper, eccentric Victorian/English gentleman Phileas Fogg who made a financial wager about circumventing the globe (by every means of transportation including balloon, train, stagecoach, rickshaw, steamship, elephant, etc.); it was the largest scale film ever made - created with Todd-AO, a special wide-screen format. From its eight Oscar nominations, it won five awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, and Best Music.

The film featured almost 69,000 extras and thousands of animals including sheep, buffalo, donkeys, horses, monkeys, bulls, elephants, skunks, and ostriches! The film also used 140 sets built at six Hollywood studios (as well as on location shoots in England, Hong Kong and Japan). It had a number of major big-name Hollywood and international stars, including David Niven as the traveling gentleman Phileas Fogg, Cantinflas (in his American film debut as valet Passepartout), Shirley MacLaine (as a rescued Indian princess), and Robert Newton (as an overzealous pursuing detective). It also featured a globe-trotting ensemble cast in over four-dozen cameo appearances.

Disney created a big-budget remake - Around the World in 80 Days (2004):

  • in the film's 10-minute introduction-prologue set in an office-library, broadcast journalist-reporter Edward R. Murrow (as Himself) narrated as he paid homage to Jules Verne's novel about futuristic marvels of transportation - in a small 1.37:1 aspect ratio box in the middle of the frame: ("Jules Verne wrote many books. He was able to transfer his soaring imagination to print. His predictions were bold. What he wrote was regarded as fantastic fiction but much of it has become fact. Flying machines, submarines, television, rockets. But not even his imagination could shrink the earth to the point it has now reached")
  • he also spoke about another shorter Verne book published in 1865, From the Earth to the Moon, that inspired the first science fiction film - a short directed by Georges Melies, titled Le Voyage Dans La Lune (1902, Fr.) - it was shown in part; the prologue ended with a few more words about Verne's published book: ("Jules Verne wrote a book about going around the world in 80 days. He even predicted it could be done in 80 hours. Today it can be done in less than half that time. But each journey must have an end. Speed is good only when wisdom leads the way. The end of this journey - whether to the high horizons of hope or the depths of destruction - will be determined by the collective wisdom of the people who live on this shrinking planet. (pointing at a globe) There was a time not so long ago when learned men thought that was flat. Around the World in 80 Days is the Jules Verne classic, and the world was already shrinking when it was written. And that was in 1872"); towards the end of the narration, with the presentation of a guided missile test-launch in New Mexico, the frame opened up to 2.20:1 Todd-AO wide-screen
  • in the film's opening set in the Victorian Era in England, weathly gentleman Phileas Fogg (David Niven) was introduced living a modest and solitary life; he was known for being meticulous and punctual about everything; he fired his valet Foster (John Gielgud) for bringing him shaving water at the wrong temperature; he hired a replacement - resourceful Latin-American manservant-butler Passepartout (Mexican actor Cantinflas), who would immediately be commissioned to join him for an 'around-the-world' adventure
  • as part of the plot, the Bank of England reported a robbery of £ 55,000 pounds in new bank notes; the heist was being discussed by the Bank's Governor (President) Mr. Gauthier Ralph (Robert Morley) and other members of the elite London Reform Club who were playing the card game of whist together; Fogg observed to the group: "Only a cool and logical individual could have engineered such an exploit"; Mr. Ralph also spoke about transportation advances: "A man can girdle the globe now in three months"; Fogg disagreed: "Less than that, to be precise. In 80 days"
  • according to The Daily Telegraph newspaper, a new railroad route across India had made a world-circumventing tour much shorter - and it might be theoretically possible to travel around the world in 80 days; Fogg bragged: "Nothing is impossible. When science finally conquers the air, it may be feasible to circle the globe in 80 hours"; the arrogant-minded Fogg wagered £ 20,000 pounds with fellow gentlemen of the Reform Club that he could circumnavigate the globe in 80 days: ("Namely, that I can complete a tour of the world in 80 days. That is to say, 1,920 hours or 115,200 minutes")
  • it was agreed that if Fogg left that evening at 8:45 pm on the boat train from London Bridge Station for Dover, then he would have to return to his starting point at the Reform Club on Saturday, September 21st at the same time
  • the journey began from London via a train bound for Dover and Calais (Northern France coast) to Paris; the Thomas Cook travel agent in Paris Monsieur Gasse (Charles Boyer) fancifully described the various delights along their planned route from France and onward: ("Now, monsieur, train to Marseilles, steamer to Bombay via Suez, across India by train, and steamer again to Hong Kong. Only one drawback. With this route, you miss Bali and the women....In any case, in Yokohama, you will encounter the geisha girls, and those, monsieur, are not to be sneezed at...Then, between San Francisco and New York, you will discover Indian maidens galore, statuesque, barbaric creatures"); after they learned that their train's route to Marseilles, France was blocked by an avalanche, they were forced to travel via a hot-air balloon that drifted off-course and crossed the Alps to Spain
Hot-Air Balloon From Paris to Spain
  • various vignettes and misadventures occurred in various locales during the journey: for example, in Spain, Passepartout engaged in a bullfight in Chinchón; during the trip, there were cutaways to a large betting area in London where Fogg's progress and chances of making it in 80 days kept being revised
  • throughout the film, it was suspected that Fogg has stolen his wagered money from the Bank of England; Fogg's entourage was pursued by diligent and suspicious Scotland Yard Inspector Fix (Robert Newton) hired by Mr. Ralph; he would only be able to serve an arrest warrant to Fogg on British soil; at first, Fix was sent to Suez in British-ruled Egypt, to await Fogg's steamer R.M.S. Mongolia to pass through the Suez Canal on its way to Bombay, India, where he hoped to apprehend Fogg
  • from Spain, the two travelers arranged for a private yacht to take them to Marseilles, France, and from there they would proceed to the southern Italian port city of Brindisi in time to catch the R.M.S. Mongolia steamer through the Suez and onward to the west coast of India (mostly off-screen)
  • after docking in India, the group departed at 4 pm on the Great India Peninsula Railway from Bombay on their way to Calcutta; in the little village of Kholby, Fogg discovered, when informed by a Railway Official (Ronald Colman), that about 50 miles of the railway tracks to Allahabad were not completed as reported; Fogg was forced to hire a elephant for an exorbitant £ 1,000 pounds with a guide (Robert Cabal) to proceed through the dense jungle

On a Train Traversing India

The Unexpected End of the Rail-line Within India

Borne on an Elephant Through 50 Miles of Jungle
  • while the elephant-borne party of travelers was camped at night, they watched a nearby religious procession of worshippers of the goddess Kali that was marching to the pagoda of Pillaji; there in a ritualistic ceremony, young widowed Princess Aouda (Shirley MacLaine) had been drugged to force compliance with a human sacrifice (suttee) by being immolated on her dead husband's funeral pyre; Passepartout took the place of her late rajah husband on the pyre, resurrected himself, and rescued her during the ceremony; after arriving in Allahabad, they continued on to Calcutta (off-screen)
  • further progress was made on the S.S. Rangoon steamer by crossing the Bay of Bengal, passing Thailand, and then traversing across the South China Sea to Hong Kong (with streets filled with rickshaws pulled by ostrichs); then, they crossed the East China Sea on the S.S. Carnatic - passing Shanghai, China and docking in Yokohama, Japan before setting sail on the majestic clipper ship - the S.S. General Grant (during intermission) to San Francisco

Fogg in Japan with the Princess

Passepartout with the Princess Onboard the S.S. General Grant Sailing to San Francisco
  • in San Francisco's Barbary Coast, they spent a short evening in a saloon with the owner (Marlene Dietrich), its bouncer (George Raft), a drunk at the bar (Red Skelton), and its little-seen pianist (Frank Sinatra); they quickly left the city on a trans-continental train (with Buster Keaton as a conductor) to traverse the frontier of the US, traveling through Medicine Bow, Wyoming Territory; they were faced with an unstable suspension bridge that collapsed after their locomotive train crossed it at a top speed of 30 mph
  • in Nebraska, they encountered an attack of Sioux Indians and Passepartout was captured and about to be burned at the stake when he was saved by a contingent of cavalry alerted in the Fort Kearney area; however, they missed their train connection and the train's stationmaster (Joe E. Brown) wondered why they were in such a rush

Sioux Indian Attack On the Train

Passepartout Atop Train

About to Be Burned at the Stake by Sioux
  • they inventively rigged up a sail-powered train cart to proceed from Nebraska to Chicago, where they planned to board a train to NYC, but once they arrived in the city, they were too late for their scheduled eastbound Cunard steamship China; the group was forced to commandeer a coal-burning trading steamship - the S.S. Henrietta bound for Caracas, Venezuela; they redirected it to Liverpool, England; along the way when fuel ran low after proceeding at full-steam, Fogg bought the ship for £ 5,000 pounds, and then ordered most of the entire wooden ship to be disassembled to burn it for fuel: ("Pile everything that will burn into the stoke hole"); fortunately, land was sighted shortly later
  • a six-hour London Express train ride from Liverpool, England was expected to bring the group to Paddington Station in London at 6:02 pm, with more than enough time to get to the Reform Club; however, at the Liverpool Station, Fogg was arrested by Fix and charged with robbing £ 55,000 pounds from the Bank of England on July 3rd; hours later, he was released when the "real culprit" was arrested in Brighton, but then, once the journeying group arrived at Fogg's home in London, they thought that they had lost the wager; the mood was one of melancholy and depression

Princess Aouda's Proposal of Marriage to Fogg

Passepartout: "It's Saturday!"

Fogg: "Great heavens! We've crossed the International Date Line. We've gained an entire day"
  • to make Fogg feel better and to offer to share in his grief, Princess Aouda proposed to be his wife: "In my country, Mr. Fogg, it is said that misfortune if shared with another sympathetic spirit, can be borne with resignation. Mr. Fogg, do you wish at once a kinswoman and a friend?...Will you have me for your wife?"
  • Passepartout was immediately sent out to make marital arrangements with Reverend Samuel Wilson (Frank Royde) of Marylebone Parish for the next day; while racing back on foot to Fogg's home with the Reverend, a poster-board of a newspaper seller read: "SATURDAY'S RESULTS"; Passpartout was shocked and reported back to Fogg; both realized that they had crossed the International Date Line - and since they had traveled East, they had saved one day, and were still within the 80 days period: (Fogg: "We went eastward around the world, always moving towards the sun. Great heavens! We've crossed the International Date Line. We've gained an entire day. This is it. This is the 80th day. It's Saturday")
  • with only about 11 minutes to spare, they rushed to the Reform Club to win the wager; Fogg punctually entered the room at 8:45 pm with a simple: "Well, gentlemen, here I am. I trust that I've not kept you waiting"
Fogg's Punctual Arrival at the Reform Club - "Well, gentlemen, here I am"
  • the group of gentlemen, including Fogg, were more upset that a woman (the Princess) entered their exclusive mens-only club room behind Fogg than anything else: "Great Caesar's ghost! A woman in the club!"; Fogg approached the Princess and asked her to leave: "My dear, I must ask you to leave these precincts at once! No woman has ever set foot in the club...Because that could spell the end of the British Empire"; Mr. Ralph uttered the final double-entendre line: "This is the end!"
  • the film's 7-minute animated closing credits were inventively created by Saul Bass, to briefly summarize the film's plot with caricatures and artwork for each star
Saul Bass' Animated Closing Credits Sequence

Edward R. Murrow (Himself) in Prologue

Phileas Fogg (David Niven) Wagering £ 20,000 Pounds To Go Around the World in 80 Days

The Bank of England's Governor (or President) Mr. Ralph (Robert Morley)

Fogg's Valet - Passepartout (Mexican Actor Cantinflas)

Travel Agent Monsieur Gasse (Charles Boyer) at Thomas Cook's in Paris

On Their Travels - Passepartout with Fogg in Spain

Passepartout Bullfighting in Spain

In London, Betting on Fogg's Chances of Making It in 80 Days

Scotland Yard Inspector Fix (Robert Newton)

Fogg on the R.M.S. Mongolia On Its Way to India

Passepartout Rising Up on a Funeral Pyre

Fogg With the Rescued Princess Aouda (Shirley MacLaine) on the Deck of the S.S. Rangoon

During a Short Visit to a Barbary Coast Saloon, with Owner (Marlene Dietrich) and Bouncer (George Raft)

Train Crossing Unstable Bridge Before Its Total Collapse

Train Cart With Sail in the Midwest

The S.S. Henrietta Hijacked to Liverpool, England

In Liverpool, Fogg Was Unjustly Arrested for Bank Robbery

Fogg Asking the Princess to Leave the Exclusive Reform Club

Mr. Ralph: "This is the end!"


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