Around the World in 80 Days is all spectacle and little else, a frenetic travelogue filled with copious star cameos and exciting set pieces, all courtesy of producer Mike Todd, who risked his personal fortune to bring the film to the screen. The film was released the year before Sputnik would revolutionize world communications, and audiences flocked to the box office to experience its exotic locales, all shot on locations around the world. David Niven was well-cast as the excessively punctual Phileas Fogg, but many of the best scenes are stolen by his sidekick, Passepartout (Mexican superstar Cantinflas). Todd ruled the production with an iron hand, firing director John Farrow on the first day of shooting and attempting to deny him writing credit. Farrow took his complaint to the Writers Guild, who, while powerless to restore him to the set, did at least get him a shared screenplay credit. Todd, seeking the last word, took out ads in industry publications thanking deceased source-novel author Jules Verne for "giving me absolutely no trouble on billing or credits." Always appreciative of good showmanship, AMPAS honored Around the World in 80 Days with five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.
by Richard Gilliam review