• Famous for winning best picture at the Academy Awards (it doesn’t make the top 10 of the year in any yet let alone in a year with The Searchers, Written on the Wind, A Man Escaped, Aparajito, etc), all the celebrity cameos (from Buster Keaton to Sinatra to George Raft, Red Skelton, John Mills, etc) and the 65mm photography— it’s not an outwardly bad film (obviously, I mean it’s in the archives here)
  • Based on Jules Verne’s novel and it has that imagination (I love how it starts with the Saul Bass titles and the Georges Méliès mention in the prologue)
Saul Bass doing the titles- such an artist
  • Fluffy and light—but not a bad way to spend 3 hours at all
  • There are some actual formal stylistic visual elements- Anderson (absolutely is no auteur) shoots from a POV behind the various modes of transportation (we’re traveling around the world here)—using the crazy-wide 65mm frame we’re behind the unicycle, we’re riding in a parade in the US, in a hot air balloon, a boat, a train, riding an elephant—
  • International aim with the cast- Cantinflas is the second lead after David Niven (although Shirley MacLaine (beautiful here) is playing a foreign princess)
  • Lively and catchy Victor Young score- his 22nd nom and he won here- many nominations but I think his best work may be The Quiet Man and that jib in 1953 for John Ford. This score here is reminiscent of some of Alexandre Desplat’s Wes Anderson stuff
  • Certainly a bit of a “trader horn” travelogue element and escapism here. It’s Epcot—haha. We’re watching Flaminco dancers for long stretches, bull fighting, just experiential on a big screen (tv differentiation key to the 1950’s and 60’s epic wide screen, long running time, color, big film stock, intermission) not plot related and this adds to the fluffiness. Long beautiful landscapes shots with the trains.
  • Niven is perfect—aristocracy, arrogant and anal—“haughty” as MacLaine describes in the text- organized and English saying “Great Scott” like Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future (30 years about prior clearly)
  • Sinatra playing the piano with no words—Buster Keaton working on a train
one of the many cameos– the film didn’t invent the cameo– but certainly aided in it- Sinatra doesn’t even have a word of dialogue here
  • Recommend but not in top 10 of 1956