Film Review – AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS (1956)

AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS (1956, USA) ***½
Adventure, Comedy, Romance
dist. United Artists; pr co. Michael Todd Company; d. Michael Anderson, John Farrow (uncredited – Spanish sequences); w. James Poe, John Farrow, S.J. Perelman (based on the book by Jules Verne); pr. Michael Todd; assoc pr. William Cameron Menzies, Kevin McClory (uncredited); ph. Lionel Lindon (Technicolor. 35mm, 70mm. Todd-AO. 2.20:1); m. Victor Young; chor. Paul Godkin; ed. Howard Epstein, Gene Ruggiero; pd. Ken Adam (uncredited); ad. James W. Sullivan; set d. Ross Dowd; cos. Miles White; m/up. Edith Keon; sd. Ted Bellinger, Fred Hynes, Joseph I. Kane (4-Track Stereo (Mag-optical) (35 mm prints) (1956) | Mono (optical) (35 mm prints) (re-release prints) | 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System) | 4-Track Stereo (Perspecta Sound encoding) (35 mm magnetic prints) (1956)); sfx. Lee Zavitz; vfx. Fred Sersen (uncredited); titles. Saul Bass, Shamus Culhane; rel. 17 October 1956 (USA), 3 July 1957 (UK); cert: G/U; r/t. 167m.

cast: David Niven (Phileas Fogg), Cantinflas (Passepartout), Shirley MacLaine (Princess Aouda), Robert Newton (Inspector Fix), Charles Boyer (Monsieur Gasse – Thomas Cook Paris Clerk), Joe E. Brown (Fort Kearney Station Master), Martine Carol (Girl in Paris Railroad Station), John Carradine (Col. Stamp Proctor – San Francisco Politico), Charles Coburn (Steamship Company Hong Kong Clerk), Ronald Colman (Great Indian Peninsular Railway Official), Melville Cooper (Mr. Talley – Steward R.M.S ‘Mongolia’), Noël Coward (Roland Hesketh-Baggott – London Employment Agency Manager), Finlay Currie (Andrew Stuart), Reginald Denny (Bombay Police Inspector), Andy Devine (First Mate of the ‘S. S. Henrietta’), Marlene Dietrich (Barbary Coast Saloon Owner), Luis Miguel Dominguín (Bullfighter (as Luis Dominguin)), Fernandel (French Coachman), John Gielgud (Foster – Fogg’s Ex-Valet), Hermione Gingold (Sporting Lady), José Greco (Flamenco Dancer), Cedric Hardwicke (Sir Francis Cromarty – Bombay to Calcutta Train), Trevor Howard (Denis Fallentin – Reform Club Member), Glynis Johns (Sporting Lady’s Companion), Buster Keaton (Train Conductor – San Francisco to Fort Kearney), Evelyn Keyes (Tart – Paris), Beatrice Lillie (Leader of London Revivalist Group), Peter Lorre (Japanese Steward – S.S. Carnatic), Edmund Lowe (Engineer of the ‘S. S. Henrietta’), Victor McLaglen (Helmsman of the ‘S. S. Henrietta’), Tim McCoy (U.S. Cavalry Colonel), Mike Mazurki (Drunk in Hong Kong Dive), John Mills (London Carriage Driver), Robert Morley (Ralph – Bank of England Governor), Alan Mowbray (British Consul – Suez), Edward R. Murrow (Edward R. Murrow – Prologue Narrator), Jack Oakie (Captain of the ‘S. S. Henrietta’), George Raft (Barbary Coast Saloon Bouncer), Gilbert Roland (Achmed Abdullah), Cesar Romero (Achmed Abdullah’s Henchman), Frank Sinatra (Barbary Coast Saloon Pianist), Red Skelton (Drunk in Barbary Coast Saloon), A.E. Matthews (Club Member), Ronald Squire (Reform Club Member), Basil Sydney (Reform Club Member), Harcourt Williams (Hinshaw – Reform Club Aged Steward), Ronald Adam (Club Steward), Walter Fitzgerald (Club Member), Frank Royde (Clergyman), Robert Cabal (Elephant Driver-Guide).

Niven heads the huge cast as the supremely punctual Phileas Fogg, who places a £20,000 wager with several fellow members of London Reform Club, insisting that he can go around the world in eighty days (this, remember, is 1872). Together with his resourceful valet Passepartout (Cantinflas), Fogg sets out on his journey from Paris via balloon. Meanwhile, suspicion grows that Fogg has stolen his money from the Bank of England. Diligent Inspector Fix (Newton) is sent out by the bank’s president (Morley) to bring Fogg to justice. In India, Fogg and Passepartout rescue young widow Princess Aouda (MacLaine, in her third film) from being forced into committing suicide so that she may join her late husband. The threesome visit Hong Kong, Japan, San Francisco, and the Wild West. Only hours short of winning his wager, Fogg is arrested by the diligent Fix. This lavish production is more of a triumph of logistical organisation than offering any real dramatic or comic worth. The travelogue and episodic nature of the story is lovingly captured in Anderson’s widescreen frame. Shots of a busy Victorian London are realised with style, whilst others around the globe mix location footage and studio inserts. Niven is at his best as the epitome of a stiff-upper-lipped Englishman. Cantinflas offers energetic support and acrobatic comic relief, whilst MacLaine has little to do in her role as the liberated Indian princess. There are longueurs – notably an extended bullfight sequence and endless stock locational footage inserts. but there is also good humour and a spirit that carries the production through. Many past and present stars appeared in cameos. The last film of both Harcourt Williams and Newton. Runs for 183m with entr’acte and exit music. Remade in 2004.

AA: Best Picture (Mike Todd); Best Writing, Best Screenplay – Adapted (James Poe, John Farrow, S.J. Perelman); Best Cinematography, Color (Lionel Lindon); Best Film Editing (Gene Ruggiero, Paul Weatherwax); Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (Victor Young)

AAN: Best Director (Michael Anderson); Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color (James W. Sullivan, Ken Adam, Ross Dowd); Best Costume Design, Color (Miles White)

Film Review – THE FAMILY WAY (1966)

Image result for the family way 1966THE FAMILY WAY (UK, 1966) ****
      Distributor: British Lion Film Corporation (UK), Warner Bros. (USA); Production Company: Boulting Brothers / Jambox; Release Date: 18 December 1966 (UK), 28 June 1967 (USA); Filming Dates: began 27 May 1966; Running Time: 115m; Colour: Eastmancolor; Sound Mix: Mono (Westrex Recording System); Film Format: 35mm; Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1; BBFC Cert: 12 – moderate sex references, language, violence.
     Director: Roy Boulting; Writer: Bill Naughton, Roy Boulting, Jeffrey Dell (based on the play “All in Good Time” by Bill Naughton); Producer: John Boulting, Roy Boulting; Director of Photography: Harry Waxman; Music Composer: Paul McCartney; Music Supervisor: George Martin; Film Editor: Ernest Hosler; Casting Director: Thelma Graves; Art Director: Alan Withy; Costumes: Bridget Sellers; Make-up: Trevor Crole-Rees; Sound: Christopher Lancaster.
      Cast: Hywel Bennett (Arthur Fitton), Hayley Mills (Jenny Piper), John Mills (Ezra Fitton), Marjorie Rhodes (Lucy Fitton), Avril Angers (Liz Piper), John Comer (Leslie Piper), Wilfred Pickles (Uncle Fred), Murray Head (Geoffrey Fitton), Barry Foster (Joe Thompson), Liz Fraser (Molly Thompson), Andy Bradford (Eddie), Thorley Walters (The Vicar), Colin Gordon (Mr. Hutton, the Travel Agent), Robin Parkinson (Mr. Phillips, his assistant), Lesley Daine (Dora), Ruth Trouncer (The Marriage Guidance Counsellor), Harry Locke (Mr. Stubbs, the Housing Officer), Maureen O’Reilly (Miss Hunt, his secretary), Michael Cadman (Len), Hazel Bainbridge (Mrs. Bell), Ruth Gower (Mrs. Pike), Diana Coupland (Mrs. Ross), Fanny Carby (Mrs. Stone), Helen Booth (Mrs. Lee), Margaret Lacey (Mrs. Harris).
      Synopsis: Married life is proving to be difficult for newlyweds Jenny (Hayley Mills) and Arthur (Hywel Bennett). With well-meaning, but interfering parents, nosey neighbours, and a town that thrives on gossip can their marriage last? With all these pressures it’s no wonder their personal life is suffering. Will there ever be any good news?
      Comment: Representative of its time where the communicative repression between the generations stemmed from a post-war Britain flowering in the cultural advances of the 1960s. The interplay between the characters is irresistibly accurate and Naughton’s dialogue is bitingly witty. John Mills excels as the working-class patriarch at odds with his more intellectual son, sensitively portrayed by Bennett. Rhodes gets all the best lines as Mills’ down-trodden wife with her own evaporated dreams. Makes great use of the Lancashire locations and though dated, the film encapsulates perfectly the tensions of the day.
      Notes: McCartney’s film scoring debut, which helped this film very much financially.