Saturday, September 25, 2010
1956: Around the World in 80 Days
So this film is definitely not my favorite Best Picture winner. I think it deserved the award more than The Greatest Show on Earth did, but only slightly (funnily enough, there was a circus scene in this film, but it was very brief). David Niven is a perfect Phileas Fogg, so he's fun to watch. But a lot of the "action scenes" go on way too long and are really boring, like Passepartout fighting the bull or the Indians chasing the train. It certainly didn't need to be three hours long. Also, this may come from watching the film more than 50 years after it was made, but I felt that it insulted my intelligence. Did the filmmakers really expect me to believe that the sets were real? Did they really expect me to believe that white people in makeup were members of different races? I find it disturbing that Shirley MacLaine even tried to pass for a princess from India, especially since she didn't really have any dark makeup on. Audiences might have gone for it in the '50s, but not today. This is definitely not a timeless classic.
By far my favorite aspect of the film was all the cameos, some of which I didn't even pick up on until the credits at the end (which were some of the coolest ending credits I've ever seen, I must admit). The ones I did catch were very fun to spot: Peter Lorre, Red Skelton, Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra, Glynis Johns, and many others. If I ever see this film again, it will be to look for the cameos that I missed.
Next up: The Bridge on the River Kwai (oh, good, I thought it was about time for another depressing war movie)