Best Pictures: Around the World in 80 Days and Gigi


Around_the_World_in_80_Days_(1956_film)_poster‘Crisis or no, nothing should interfere with tea! – Phileas Fogg

The 1956 movie of Jules Verne’s classic book was a bit of a surprise for me, and I had mixed reactions to it.

On the one hand, it was long at just over three hours in length.  Since I started this movie on a weeknight, I split it into two viewings.  A very long movie, especially considering how short the previous movie (Marty) was.  And yet for its length, there were times it felt rushed, trying to tie up plot points so the story could keep up.

On the other hand, it was a well done movie.  Magnificent to watch.  Scenes set around the world, great costumes.  In the case of the steam ship, wonderful to watch what a crew could do before the advent of CGI.

One final point on this movie: the main character, Phileas Fogg (played by David Niven), is annoying.  I did not really care for him.  His man-servant, Passepartout, accomplishes most of the goals, while Phileas just gets the acclaim.


AmericanGigiPosterI’ll tell you about that blue villa, Mamita. I was so much in love with you, I wanted to marry you. Yes, it’s true. I was beginning to think of marriage. Imagine, marriage, ME! Oh, no! I was really desperate! I had to do something. And what I did was the soprano! – Honor Lachaille

When I started Gigi, and I realized it was a musical, I inwardly groaned.  Not that I don’t like musicals as a genre, but some of the musicals from that era didn’t make a lot of sense to me (see ‘An American in Paris’).  I worried it might be another one of those.

Boy was I wrong.

Gigi is about a game and two young players.  Gaston, a rich socialite, following in the steps of his uncle as a womanizer; and Gigi, being trained by her grandmother and aunt as a courtesan.  Gaston is beginning to feel bored with his life, and Gigi has never really took to her training.  Their elders push them into the game of affairs and events, without much considering any other option for them.  The two follow the plans while growing increasingly unhappy with them.

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