Monday, December 31, 2007

Around the World in Eighty Days

Earlier this year I watched a lot of movies in the "cross-country race" genre. It turns out that Cannonball Run is actually one of the better ones, although I strongly recommend Two-Lane Blacktop and Gumball Rally. Anyway, I appear to have skipped this one, which was remiss of me. Luckily, I was sitting around trying to think of a movie that my new HDTV wold show off to good effect, and I realized there was a brightly-colored widescreen movie just waiting to be watched!

I think it's interesting that this is the only movie that has both Peter Lorre and Marlene Dietrich, since as far as I can tell they both did musical theater in Vienna at the same time. They don't have a scene together, though, so even I don't think it's that interesting.

This is the version with the exceedingly unflappable David Niven and the enthusiastic Cantinflas as Phileas Fogg and Passepartout. It also has about fifteen minutes of irrelevant stuff at the beginning (like almost the entire Georges Melies movie "From the Earth to the Moon"!) and a fairly unsatisfying punchline, but the core of the story is quite strong. If you don't mind the occasional breaks for bullfighting, flamenco, and Chinese Opera.

However, if you want a really good movie in which someone makes a crazy bet in a gentleman's club that he can do a nigh-impossible feat of navigation and racing, I think you should see Horatio's Drive. That documentary is great.

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