The grandfather of all all-star comedies, this cinematic adaptation of the Jules Verne classic plays like mega-producer Mike Todd’s valentine to himself, with some 40 of the biggest English-speaking movie stars paying him homage by making a cameo appearance. Watching it is like visiting Madame Tussaud’s; you never know which embalmed acting legend is waiting around the corner. (Look, there’s Frank Sinatra! Marlene Dietrich! John Gielgud! Noel Coward!) Still, the spectacle—filmed using Todd’s own trademark panoramic Todd-AO format—was overwhelming enough to impress the Academy into giving it the Best Picture Oscar. Today, it’s best appreciated for its widescreen travelogue visuals, for the witty performances of David Niven (as unflappable Victorian globetrotter Phileas Fogg) and Mexican comedy legend Cantinflas (as resourceful valet Passepartout), and for all the star-gawking.
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