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David Niven is the punctual Phileas Fogg of the famous Jules Verne novel, who makes a bet with his fellow club members in London that he can encircle the globe within 80 days--this in 1872, when travel proceeded at a snail's pace. Fogg is accompanied by his bumbling valet (the great
Mexican mimic Cantinflas) and along the way picks up a wandering princess (Shirley MacLaine), while being pursued by a London detective (Robert Newton) who believes the globetrotter has somehow robbed the Bank of England. Around these leads an army of 46 famous personalities of the day appear in
bit parts. (This was the film that began the trend of stars appearing in cameo roles.) The star-spotting is fun, but so is the adventure, as Fogg journeys by train, ship, hot-air balloon, and elephant across Europe, India, Japan, the Pacific, the US, and the Atlantic in a race to win his bet. The
film was shot in more than 100 natural settings and on 140 special sets. Everything about this big, beautiful movie smacks of authenticity, excitement, and massive showmanship. Winner of five Oscars: Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Score and Best Film Editing.