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Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
It's a wonderful world, if you'll only take the time to go around it!
Filmmaker(s): Michael Anderson

Based on the famous book by Jules Verne the movie follows Phileas Fogg on his journey around the world. Which has to be completed within 80 days, a very short period for those days.

Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

Short Story Long

What astounds me is how things change. Here’s a film that was celebrated in its day.

In fact, I remember my third grade class in the DC area taking the day off to go to this. (The year previously, we had gone to see a Cinerama movie in the same theater.) We had reserved seats and popcorn was disallowed. We sat through maybe 20 minutes of overture, three hours of movie and 20 minutes of intermission.

And I loved it. This was a life-altering experience, so grand, so exotic. And yes, for a seven year old, romantic.

Everyone loved it. In its day, most everyone got caught up in the sheer audacity of thing, the cinematic scope, the number of stars and extras, the locales (which we thought were genuine). The introduction by Ed Murrow seemed apt for something so newsworthy.

I haven’t seen it in 50 years. And now, even in the full ToddAO experience it is dull except for the wonderfully bombastic score. There’s really nothing to it except that it exists.

It reminds that many films I see, new and old, depend on context. The new ones are simple. Things we get excited about now will seem juvenile in just a short time. “Die Hard” was eclipsed on its own terms in short order. “Speed” even more so.

But the old ones…

Sometimes they are so strongly evocative of an era that watching them pulls us into that era, giving us a whole world by association. Others cannot pull us, or aren’t set up to, but are so weak they fall apart. Its a slippery game, watching old movies.

But in this case, it is simple. Big bowl — thin soup. But a grandly shaped bowl.

Posted in 2006

Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


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