Underrated and neglected: A 1950’s classic reborn on DVD First of all, “Around the World in 80 Days” is one of the best of the 1950-1960’s grand epics. It may not have the character depth of Giant or the scale of The Ten Commandments, but it’s still one heck of a fun movie.Mike Todd set out to make 3 hours of crowd-pleasing entertainment and he reached his goal, ten-fold (literally… the $6,000,000 film earned over 4 times its cost at the box office). The cast is wonderful (it’s definately Cantinflas’ show, though) and the Oscar winning cinematography is breathtaking. Also, one of the best musical scores (also an Oscar winner) and a witty screenplay (Oscar winner) make it a real joy to see.Sadly, for the last 18 years, the only version on home video has been a pan & scan one. “80 Days” was shot in the Todd-AO 70mm format, so the crisp, ultra-detailed, and wide image is totally mangled in that format. It doesn’t help that the P&S tape also used a mono track rather than the full stereophonic surround…
DVD Edition Brings New Luster to Todd Classic! AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS is more a triumph of spectacle than of storytelling, with an extraordinary backstory of a master entrepreneur’s decade-long dream to create the biggest, most extravagant entertainment ever made. That the film was ever produced at all was miraculous; that it succeeded so well (earning the “Best Picture” Academy Award, along with a raftload of other prizes), and remains the most enjoyable version of Verne’s novel (far superior to the Pierce Brosnan and Jackie Chan remakes) is a living testament to it’s nearly forgotten guiding spirit, Michael Todd.The film itself is basically a series of ‘set pieces’ (most involving the brilliant Mexican comedian, Cantinflas, and a wide variety of guest stars, appearing in ‘cameos’, to use the term coined by Todd), built around the framework of an aristocrat’s wager that, using available transportation, he could circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. While David Niven is perfect as the supercilious Phileas Fogg, and…
Incredibly entertaining “Best Picture” needs to be on DVD! This Todd-AO wide-wide-wide screen production earned many accolades when it was released and, although it may be a bit tame by today’s standards, it should be placed on a DVD in its original WIDESCREEN Todd-AO format to get the full effect of its scenic and comic wonders. David Niven, a very young and beautiful Shirley MacLaine, Robert Newton and Cantinflas head a HUGE cast of movie stars playing all sorts of cameo surprise roles throughout, many of whom will probably not be recognized by today’s generation but who should be remembered nevertheless. The great Victor Young score is magnificent and GREAT names show up all through this movie: Buster Keaton, Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra, Cesar Romero, and over 40 other stars light up this adventure, which really works best in its widescreen presentation. Why this great family film has not been given the DVD treatment is a mystery to me. Let’s hope this error in judgment will be corrected soon and a pristine widescreen DVD will be…
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