Best Picture Winners Part 29 (of 87): Around the World in 80 Days

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Title: Around the World in Eighty Days
Year:1956
Starring: David Niven, Cantinflas, Shirley MacLaine
Director:John Farrow and Michael Anderson
Runtime: 2 hr 21 mins

Is It Any Good?: This is a fun but destitute picture. It has the bells and whistles you need to succeed. It had a huge star from overseas in the lovable Mexican actor Cantinflas in his first American role. Overall the film isn’t spectacular, but it does in fact have it’s moments. There’s a thrill about the whole thin, a bigness rarely seen in this decade, all the set pieces have a “feel” about them. When you look at the other winners so far most of them are very much reality based from All About Eve to On the Waterfront it was interesting to see the fantastical book based film win the Oscar. This is a trend that will continue as we look through the upcoming years.

Memorable Quote: Phileas Fogg: Crisis or no, nothing should interfere with tea!

Competition: Better than the winner. First and foremost we have Friendly Persuasions Gary Cooper and Anthony Perkins lead an all-star ensemble in this Northern prespective on the Civil War. A push and pull of religion and country is excellently executed. The Ten Commandments is epic in every sense of the word. This Charlton Heston lead masterpiece directed by Cecil B. Demille is as powerful as any other bibilical epic of the time with some groundbreaking filmmaking. A Rodgers and Hammerstein classic The King and I sees Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr go Anglo Saxon all over the story. Enchanting songs and dance numbers bring this together in a delightful way. Lastly we have George Stevens Giant where he directs the heck of Liz Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean. He takes Dean to atmospheric heights, even earning the star a posthumous Oscar nomination. This is the picture that for all intents and purposes should have won. With performances and themes that still hold true today this transcends it’s time period far more than the winner does.

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