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Around the World in 80 Days Review

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An English gentleman wagers that he can travel around the world within 80 days.

★★★★★

Released to benefit from the imminent Jackie Chan re-make, this winner of five Academy Awards has lost some of its original charm.

But showman producer Mike Todd's scenic spectacle, directed by Briton Michael "Dambusters" Anderson and shot in 16 countries, is still entertaining, and has perfectly amusing leads in David Niven as Jules Verne's unflappable globetrotter Phileas Fogg and beloved Mexican comedian Cantinflas as his servant Passepartout.

Fun includes the ballooning duo scooping snow off the Alps to chill the champagne, flamenco great José Greco doing his stuff, the rescue of Indian maharani Shirley MacLaine from a funeral pyre, a Sioux raid, every conceivable mode of 19th century transport and a zingy score.

The film is most famous for its then novel gimmick of cameos - a term actually coined by Todd. Eyes peeled, then, for Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Buster Keaton, NoÎl Coward, Charles Boyer and many more.

Entertaining Sunday afternoon stuff.