Around the World in 80 Days
I have not read the Jules Verne novel from which this was adapted, but I understand that it was changed quite a bit to suit the vision of the director, Mike Todd. The part of the valet Passepartoute was changed from French to Mexican to showcase the talents of Cantinflas, a fellow I’d never heard of until this viewing. Todd considered him the greatest entertainer alive at that time and added the bullfights, gymnastics, and comedy to that role. I hadn’t realized that young “princess” that they rescue is Shirley MacLaine, either. I bet it was breathtaking to watch on a Big Screen, flying over the alps and steaming over the ocean; each scene was rich. But it is excruciatingly long… It really got me interested in Michael Todd, too. Since the movie was up against some fair competition–Giant, The King and I, The Ten Commandments– I believe it was the larger-than-life personality of Todd that tipped the scales. He died just one year after garnering the award. I wonder what he’d have come up with next if he had lived.
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Everybody can whistle the theme and most of us have seen it; Casey was more than happy to watch it again with me today. Obi-Wan Kenobi does a fine job playing the role of Colonel Nicholson. Everybody dies, but the sadness is not overwhelming (maybe because I knew how it was going to end). In fact, the violence is not contrived at all — the Japanese really were more brutal than portrayed—and I only had to walk away a couple of times.
Tomorrow after work and workout, I’ll pick up the next 4 on the list…