For other uses, see Around the World in Eighty Days (disambiguation).
Around the World in Eighty Days (French: Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours) is a classic adventure novel by the French writerJules Verne, published in 1873. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed FrenchvaletPassepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager (£2,075,400 in 2017) set by his friends at the Reform Club. It is one of Verne's most acclaimed works.
The story starts in London on Tuesday, 1 October 1872.
Phileas Fogg is a rich British gentleman living in solitude. Despite his wealth, Fogg lives a modest life with habits carried out with mathematical precision. Very little can be said about his social life other than that he is a member of the Reform Club. Having dismissed his former valet, James Forster, for bringing him shaving water at 84 °F (29 °C) instead of 86 °F (30 °C), Fogg hires a Frenchman by the name of Jean Passepartout as a replacement.
At the Reform Club, Fogg gets involved in an argument over an article in The Daily Telegraph stating that with the opening of a new railway section in India, it is now possible to travel around the world in 80 days. He accepts a wager for £20,000 (£2,075,400 in 2017) from his fellow club members to complete such a journey within this time period. With Monsieur Passepartout accompanying him, Fogg departs from London by train at 8:45 p.m. on 2 October; if he is to win the wager, then he will have to return to the club by this same time on 21 December, 80 days later.
|London, UK to Suez, Egypt, Ottoman Empire||Rail to Brindisi, Italy and steamer (the Mongolia) across the Mediterranean Sea.||07 days|
|Suez to Bombay, India||Steamer (the Mongolia) across the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.||13 days|
|Bombay to Calcutta, India||Rail.||03 days|
|Calcutta to Victoria, Hong Kong||Steamer (the Rangoon) across the South China Sea||13 days|
|Hong Kong to Yokohama, Japan||Steamer (the Carnatic) across the South China Sea, East China Sea, and the Pacific Ocean.||06 days|
|Yokohama to San Francisco, United States||Steamer (the General Grant) across the Pacific Ocean.||22 days|
|San Francisco to New York City, United States||Rail.||07 days|
|New York to London||Steamer (the China) across the Atlantic Ocean to Liverpool and rail.||09 days|
| Map of the trip|
Fogg and Passepartout reach Suez in time. While disembarking in Egypt, they are watched by a Scotland Yard detective, Detective Fix, who has been dispatched from London in search of a bank robber. Since Fogg answers the vague description Scotland Yard was given of the robber, Detective Fix mistakes Fogg for the criminal. Since he cannot secure a warrant in time, Fix boards the steamer (the Mongolia) conveying the travelers to Bombay. Fix becomes acquainted with Passepartout without revealing his purpose. Fogg promises the steamer engineer a large reward if he gets them to Bombay early. They dock two days ahead of schedule.
After reaching India they take a train from Bombay to Calcutta. Fogg learns that the Daily Telegraph article was wrong – the railroad actually ends at Kholby and starts again, 50 miles further on, near Allahabad, Fogg purchases an elephant, hires a guide, and starts toward Allahabad.
They come across a procession in which a young Indian woman, Aouda, is to undergo sati. Since the young woman is drugged with opium and hemp and is obviously not going voluntarily, the travelers decide to rescue her. They follow the procession to the site, where Passepartout takes the place of Aouda's deceased husband on the funeral pyre on which she is to be burned. During the ceremony he rises from the pyre, scaring off the priests, and carries the young woman away. The twelve hours gained earlier are lost, but Fogg shows no regret.
The travelers hasten to catch the train at the next railway station, taking Aouda with them. At Calcutta, they board a steamer (the Rangoon) going to Hong Kong. Fix has Fogg and Passepartout arrested. They jump bail and Fix follows them to Hong Kong. He shows himself to Passepartout, who is delighted to again meet his travelling companion from the earlier voyage.
In Hong Kong, it turns out that Aouda's distant relative, in whose care they had been planning to leave her, has moved to Holland, so they decide to take her with them to Europe. Still without a warrant, Fix sees Hong Kong as his last chance to arrest Fogg on British soil. Passepartout becomes convinced that Fix is a spy from the Reform Club. Fix confides in Passepartout, who does not believe a word and remains convinced that his master is not a bank robber. To prevent Passepartout from informing his master about the premature departure of their next vessel, the Carnatic, Fix gets Passepartout drunk and drugs him in an opium den. Passepartout still manages to catch the steamer to Yokohama, but neglects to inform Fogg that the steamer is leaving the evening before its scheduled departure date.
Fogg discovers that he missed his connection. He searches for a vessel that will take him to Yokohama, finding a pilot boat, the Tankadere, that takes him and Aouda to Shanghai, where they catch a steamer to Yokohama. In Yokohama, they search for Passepartout, believing that he may have arrived there on the Carnatic as originally planned. They find him in a circus, trying to earn the fare for his homeward journey. Reunited, the four board a paddle-steamer, the General Grant, taking them across the Pacific to San Francisco. Fix promises Passepartout that now, having left British soil, he will no longer try to delay Fogg's journey, but instead support him in getting back to Britain so he can arrest Fogg in Britain itself.
In San Francisco they board a transcontinental train to New York, encountering a number of obstacles along the way: a massive herd of bison crossing the tracks, a failing suspension bridge, and the train being attacked by Sioux warriors. After uncoupling the locomotive from the carriages, Passepartout is kidnapped by the Indians, but Fogg rescues him after American soldiers volunteer to help. They continue by a wind poweredsledge to Omaha, where they get a train to New York.
In New York, having missed the sailing of their ship, the China, Fogg starts looking for an alternative to cross the Atlantic Ocean. He finds a steamboat, the Henrietta, destined for Bordeaux, France. The captain of the boat refuses to take the company to Liverpool, whereupon Fogg consents to be taken to Bordeaux for $2,000 (£207,540 in 2017) per passenger. He then bribes the crew to mutiny and make course for Liverpool. Against hurricane winds and going on full steam, the boat runs out of fuel after a few days. Fogg buys the boat from the captain and has the crew burn all the wooden parts to keep up the steam.
The companions arrive at Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland, take the train to Dublin and then a ferry to Liverpool, still in time to reach London before the deadline. Once on English soil, Fix produces a warrant and arrests Fogg. A short time later, the misunderstanding is cleared up – the actual robber, an individual named James Strand, had been caught three days earlier in Edinburgh. However, Fogg has missed the train and arrives in London five minutes late, certain he has lost the wager.
The following day Fogg apologises to Aouda for bringing her with him, since he now has to live in poverty and cannot support her. Aouda confesses that she loves him and asks him to marry her. As Passepartout notifies a minister, he learns that he is mistaken in the date – it is not 22 December, but instead 21 December. Because the party had travelled eastward, they gained one day upon crossing the International Date Line. Passepartout informs Fogg of his mistake, and Fogg hurries to the Reform Club just in time to meet his deadline and win the wager. Having already spent the bulk of the £20,000 during the journey, he divides the remaining money between Passepartout and Fix and marries Aouda.
This narrative gives a mistaken impression of the ending. For the trip, Fogg took £20,000, in cash, in a suitcase, amounting to half of his fortune at the time. The other half of his fortune, the other £20,000 was to be held in escrow at the bank to pay off his wager if he lost, the men on the other side of the bet, similarly put £20,000 to be held during the wager. Much of what Fogg took with him was spent during the trip, as detailed above. Before the date was discovered, Fogg confessed to Aouda that he was now poor, but she wanted to marry him anyway, as set out above. When the true date was discovered, as above, Fogg collected the £20,000 wagered - and his £20,000 that was held in escrow, restoring him to his original fortune of £40,000, distributing the remaining balance of his "travel money".
Background and analysis
Around the World in Eighty Days was written during difficult times, both for France and for Verne. It was during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871) in which Verne was conscripted as a coastguard; he was having financial difficulties (his previous works were not paid royalties); his father had died recently; and he had witnessed a public execution, which had disturbed him. Despite all this, Verne was excited about his work on the new book, the idea of which came to him one afternoon in a Paris café while reading a newspaper.
The technological innovations of the 19th century had opened the possibility of rapid circumnavigation and the prospect fascinated Verne and his readership. In particular, three technological breakthroughs occurred in 1869–70 that made a tourist-like around-the-world journey possible for the first time: the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in America (1869), the linking of the Indian railways across the sub-continent (1870), and the opening of the Suez Canal (1869). It was another notable mark in the end of an age of exploration and the start of an age of fully global tourism that could be enjoyed in relative comfort and safety. It sparked the imagination that anyone could sit down, draw up a schedule, buy tickets and travel around the world, a feat previously reserved for only the most heroic and hardy of adventurers.
Verne is often characterized as a futurist or science-fiction author, but there is not a glimmer of science fiction in this, his most popular work (at least in English). Rather than any futurism, it remains a memorable portrait of the British Empire "on which the sun never sets" shortly before its peak, drawn by an outsider. It is interesting to note that, until 2006, no critical editions were written due to both the poor translations available and the stereotypical connection between science fiction and "worthless" boys' literature. However, Verne's works began receiving more serious reviews in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, with new translations appearing. It is also interesting to note that the book is a source of common notable English and extended British attitudes in quotes such as "Phileas Fogg and Sir Francis Cromarty ... endured the discomfort with true British phlegm, talking little, and scarcely able to catch a glimpse of each other," as well as in Chapter 12 when the group is being jostled around on the elephant ride across the jungle. In Chapter 25, when Fogg is insulted in San Francisco, Fix acknowledges that clearly "Mr. Fogg was one of those Englishmen who, while they do not tolerate dueling at home, fight abroad when their honor is attacked."
Post-Colonial readings of the novel elucidate Verne's role as propagandist for European global dominance, as a Victors' historian. "Perhaps the leading excuse for the European colonization of India was found in the Hindu practice of the suttee". Verne's novel, one of the most widely read of the 19th century, played a major role in shaping European attitudes of the colonized lands.
The closing date of the novel, 21 December 1872, was the same date as the serial publication. As it was being published serially for the first time, some readers believed that the journey was actually taking place – bets were placed, and some railway companies and ship liner companies lobbied Verne to appear in the book. It is unknown if Verne submitted to their requests, but the descriptions of some rail and shipping lines leave some suspicion he was influenced.
Although a journey by balloon has become one of the images most strongly associated with the story, this iconic symbol was never deployed by Verne – the idea is, briefly, brought up in Chapter 32, but dismissed, as it "would have been highly risky and, in any case, impossible." However, the popular 1956 movie adaptation Around the World in Eighty Days used the balloon idea, and it has now become a part of the mythology of the story, even appearing on book covers. This plot element is reminiscent of Verne's earlier Five Weeks in a Balloon, which first made him a well-known author.
Concerning the final coup de théâtre, Fogg had thought it was one day later than it actually was, because he had forgotten this simple fact: during his journey, he had added a full day to his clock, at the rhythm of an hour per fifteen degrees, or four minutes per degree, as Verne writes. In fact, at the time and until 1884, the concept of a de jure International Date Line did not exist. If it did, he would have been made aware of the change in date once he reached this line. Thus, the day he added to his clock throughout his journey would be removed upon crossing this imaginary line. However, in the real world, Fogg's mistake would not have occurred because a de facto date line did exist. The UK, India and the US had the same calendar with different local times. He would have noticed, when he arrived in San Francisco, that the local date was actually one day earlier than shown in his travel diary. As a consequence he could not fail to notice that the departure dates of the transcontinental train in San Francisco and of the China steamer in New York were actually one day earlier than his personal travel diary.
Real life imitations
Following Towle and d'Anver's 1873 English translation, many people have tried to follow in the footsteps of Fogg's fictional circumnavigation, often within self-imposed constraints:
- In 1889, Nellie Bly undertook to travel around the world in 80 days for her newspaper, the New York World. She managed to do the journey within 72 days, meeting Verne in Amiens. Her book Around the World in Seventy-Two Days, became a best seller.
- In 1903, James Willis Sayre, a Seattle theatre critic and arts promoter, set the world record for circling the earth using public transport: 54 days, 9 hours, and 42 minutes.
- In 1908, Harry Bensley, on a wager, set out to circumnavigate the world on foot wearing an iron mask. The journey was abandoned, incomplete, at the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
- In 1984, Nicholas Coleridge emulated Fogg's trip, taking 78 days, He wrote a book titled Around the World in 78 Days.
- In 1988, Monty Python alumnus Michael Palin took a similar challenge without using aircraft as a part of a television travelogue, called Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days. He completed the journey in 79 days and 7 hours.
- Since 1993, the Jules Verne Trophy is given to the boat that sails around the world without stopping and with no outside assistance, in the shortest time.
- In 2009, twelve celebrities performed a relay version of the journey for the BBC Children In Need charity appeal.
- In 2014, the Optimistic Traveler team consisting of Muammer Yilmaz and Milan Bihlmann completed the "80 Days Challenge", a trip around the world without using money, as a first step of their charity campaign for education in Haiti. They finished the journey in 79 days.
- In 2015, a group of Italian travelers, Luigi Cavallito, Alessio Nicastro, Andrea Cavallo Perin, Andrea Dutto, and Didie Caria repeated the journey that Verne had inspired. The members of the group were all millennials born between the 1980s and 2000; the project aimed to describe the life, projects and dreams of that generation. They started their journey from the Reform Club on October 2, 2015 and they came back to London on December 21, 80 days later. They stopped in Paris, Turin, Athens, Cairo, Alexandria, Dubai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hong Kong, Manila, Tokyo, Honolulu, San Francisco, New York and Dublin.
- In 2017, Mark Beaumont, a British cyclist inspired by Verne, set out to cycle across the world in 80 days. He completed the trip in 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes. He departed from Paris on July 2, 2017. Beaumont smashed the previous world record of 123 days set by Andrew Nicholson, by cycling 18,000 miles across the globe visiting Russia, Mongolia, China, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and a host of countries in Europe.
The idea of a trip around the world within a set period had clear external origins and was popular before Verne published his book in 1873. Even the title Around the World in Eighty Days is not original. Several sources have been hypothesized as the origins of the story.
The most obvious took place between 1869 and 1871, when American William Perry Fogg traveled the world, describing his tour in a series of letters to The Cleveland Leader newspaper, entitled, Round the World: Letters from Japan, China, India, and Egypt (1872). But long before Fogg, Greek traveller Pausanias (c. 100 AD) wrote a work that was translated into French in 1797 as Voyage autour du monde ("Around the World"). Verne's friend Jacques Arago had written a very popular Voyage autour du monde in 1853. In 1869–70 the idea of travelling around the world reached critical popular attention when three geographical breakthroughs occurred: the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in America (1869), the linking of the Indian railways across the sub-continent (1870), and the opening of the Suez Canal (1869). In 1871 appeared Around the World by Steam, via Pacific Railway, published by the Union Pacific Railroad Company, and an Around the World in A Hundred and Twenty Days by Edmond Planchut. In early 1870, the Erie Railway Company published a statement of routes, times, and distances detailing a trip around the globe of 23,739 miles in seventy-seven days and twenty-one hours.
Another early reference comes from the Italian traveler Giovanni Francesco Gemelli Careri. He wrote a book in 1699 that was translated into French: Voyage around the World or Voyage du Tour du Monde (1719, Paris). The novel documents his trip as one of the first Europeans to circle the world for pleasure rather than profit, using publicly available transportation. Gemelli Careri provides rich accounts of seventeenth-century civilization outside of Europe. These include Persia during the Ottoman Empire, Hindustan during the reign of Aurungzebe, the Chinese Lantern Festival and the Great Wall, and the native people of Meso-America. References to his books can be found in other historical publications like the Calcutta Review.
In 1872, Thomas Cook organised the first around-the-world tourist trip, leaving on 20 September 1872 and returning seven months later. The journey was described in a series of letters that were published in 1873 as Letter from the Sea and from Foreign Lands, Descriptive of a tour Round the World. Scholars have pointed out similarities between Verne's account and Cook's letters, although some argue that Cook's trip happened too late to influence Verne. Verne, according to a second-hand 1898 account, refers to a Cook advertisement as a source for the idea of his book. In interviews in 1894 and 1904, Verne says the source was "through reading one day in a Paris cafe" and "due merely to a tourist advertisement seen by chance in the columns of a newspaper."Around the World itself says the origins were a newspaper article. All of these point to Cook's advert as being a probable spark for the idea of the book.
The periodical Le Tour du monde (3 October 1869) contained a short piece titled "Around the World in Eighty Days", which refers to "140 miles" of railway not yet completed between Allahabad and Bombay, a central point in Verne's work. But even the Le Tour de monde article was not entirely original; it cites in its bibliography the Nouvelles Annales des Voyages, de la Géographie, de l'Histoire et de l'Archéologie (August, 1869), which also contains the title Around the World in Eighty Days in its contents page. The Nouvelles Annales were written by Conrad Malte-Brun (1775–1826) and his son Victor Adolphe Malte-Brun (1816–1889). Scholars[who?] believe that Verne was aware of the Le Tour de monde article, the Nouvelles Annales, or both, and that he consulted it and/or them, noting that the Le Tour du monde even included a trip schedule very similar to Verne's final version.
A possible inspiration was the traveller George Francis Train, who made four trips around the world, including one in 80 days in 1870. Similarities include the hiring of a private train and being imprisoned. Train later claimed, "Verne stole my thunder. I'm Phileas Fogg."
Regarding the idea of gaining a day, Verne said of its origin: "I have a great number of scientific odds and ends in my head. It was thus that, when, one day in a Paris café, I read in the Siècle that a man could travel around the world in 80 days, it immediately struck me that I could profit by a difference of meridian and make my traveller gain or lose a day in his journey. There was a dénouement ready found. The story was not written until long after. I carry ideas about in my head for years – ten, or 15 years, sometimes – before giving them form." In his April 1873 lecture, "The Meridians and the Calendar", Verne responded to a question about where the change of day actually occurred, since the international date line had only become current in 1880 and the Greenwich prime meridian was not adopted internationally until 1884. Verne cited an 1872 article in Nature, and Edgar Allan Poe's short story "Three Sundays in a Week" (1841), which was also based on going around the world and the difference in a day linked to a marriage at the end. Verne even analysed Poe's story in his Edgar Poe and His Works (1864). Poe's story "Three Sundays in a Week" was clearly the inspiration for the lost day plot device.
Adaptations and influences
The book has been adapted or reimagined many times in different forms.
- The science fiction novel The Other Log of Phileas Fogg by Philip José Farmer gives an alternate interpretation of the story.
- The novel Around the world in 100 days by Gary Blackwood serves as a sequel to the events in 80 days. The book follows Phileas's son as he tries to travel around the world by car instead of train, hence the longer time limit.
- In 1874, a theatrical adaptation by Verne and Adolphe d'Ennery opened at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin in Paris for 415 performances; in April 1876, it transferred to the Théâtre du Châtelet where it ran for 2,195 performances over 64 years.
- In 1946, Orson Welles produced and starred in Around the World, a musical stage version, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, that was only loosely faithful to Verne's original.
- A musical version, 80 Days, with songs by Ray Davies of The Kinks and a book by playwright Snoo Wilson, directed by Des McAnuff, ran at the Mandell Weiss Theatre in San Diego from August 23 to October 9, 1988, receiving mixed responses from the critics. Davies's multi-faceted music, McAnuff's directing, and the acting were well received, with the show winning the "Best Musical" award from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle.
- Mark Brown adapted the book for a five-actor stage production in 2001. It has been performed in New York, Canada, England, South Africa, and Bangladesh.
- Toby Hulse created an adaptation for three actors, which was first produced at the egg at The Theatre Royal, Bath in 2010. It has subsequently been revived at the Arcola Theatre in London in 2013 and The Theatre Chipping Norton in 2014
- In 2013, a musical version "Around the World in 80 Days" with book and lyrics by Chris Blackwood and music by Piers Chater Robinson went on general release and has had productions across the globe. Published by IT&M Shows.
- St. James Theatre, London put on an adaptation by Laura Eason which was directed by Lucy Bailey and ran from 26 November 2015 to 17 January 2016 with Robert Portal as Fogg, Simon Gregor as Passepartout and Shanaya Rafaat as Aouda.
- Around the World in Eighty Days (1919 film) a German film starring Conrad Veidt, the first film version.
- An Indian Fantasy Story, an unfinished French/English co-production from 1938, featuring the wager at the Reform Club and the rescue of the Indian Princess. It was never completed.
- The 1956 film Around the World in 80 Days starred David Niven as Fogg and Cantinflas as Passepartout.
- 1963 saw the release of The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze.
- Around the World in 80 Days, a film produced and released in 1988, is an Australian animated adaptation. (As described below, there had been a television adaptation sixteen years earlier, likewise animated and also of Australian origin.)[relevant?– discuss]
- The 1994 video The Singing Kettle World Tour, a Scottish adaptation starring Cilla Fisher, Artie Trezise, and Gary Coupland.
- Around the World in 80 Days, a 1999 animated film starring Simon Callow, John Sessions and Philip Jackson
- The 2000 film Tweety's High-Flying Adventure, an updated direct-to-video animated film spoof starring Tweety from the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes.
- Around the World in 80 Days, a 2004 Disney live-action film that starred Jackie Chan as Passepartout and Steve Coogan as Fogg.
- Flightfox created a trip, "Around the World in 80 Hours", to see if flight experts could find flights following the same path as described in the book (for cheap). The online travel company then wrote a fictional eBook based on the results of the contest.
- ^Archived December 2, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^"Die Reise um die Erde in 80 Tagen". J-verne.de. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
- ^"Inflation | Bank of England". www.bankofengland.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
- ^"Inflation | Bank of England". www.bankofengland.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
- ^ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwWilliam Butcher (translation and introduction). Around the World in Eighty Days,Oxford Worlds Classics, 1995, Introduction.
- ^Ashley Tussing, Exploring Cultural Reflections Through Jules Verne’s Around The World In Eighty Days [ Master's Thesis, Purdue University, 2010] p.45.
- ^Cable, Simon (2014-11-29). "Phileas Fogg's fictional journey around the world recreated by two men for FREE | Daily Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
- ^[dead link]
- ^The Kansas Daily Tribune, February 5, 1870.
- ^Careri, Giovanni Francesco Gemelli; Noble, Eustache Le (1719). Voyage du Tour du Monde (1719, Paris).
- ^"TrueScans of Around the World in Eighty Days; Philadelphia - Porter & Coates, 1873". Truescans.com. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
- ^Neu. "80 Days". Kinks.de. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
- ^"Mark Brown – Writer". epicurious.com. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
- ^"Around the World in Eighty Days". Guardian.com. 5 January 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
- ^Archived November 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^"BBC Radio 4 Extra - Jules Verne - Around the World in Eighty Days - Episode guide". Bbc.co.uk. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
- ^"Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, adapted by Terry James". Radiodramareviews.com. 2010-02-28. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
- ^"Cartoon Synopsis for An Indian Fantasy".
- ^"Fly Better For Less". Flightfox.com. 2012-09-30. Archived from the original on 2013-10-17. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
- ^Zacchia, Jill. "Around the World in 80 Hours". Flightfox.com. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
- ^"History | Worlds of Fun, Kansas City MO". Worldsoffun.com. 2012-03-21. Archived from the original on 2015-11-24. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
Here against all probability is a jolly comedy made from that wheezy high concept, "Around the World in 80 Days." I grew up with Phileas Fogg and his picaresque journey, plundered the Classics Illustrated comic, read the Jules Verne novel and attended Michael Todd's 1956 film, but I never thought the story was much of a cliffhanger. Even in its time, 80 days seemed doable. Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and From the Earth to the Moon were more like it.
But here's a film version that does some lateral thinking, that moves Fogg off dead center and makes Jackie Chan's Passepartout the real hero and lingers for comic effect instead of always looking at its watch. The Todd production was famous for its wall-to-wall cameos ("Look! That piano player! Why, it's Frank Sinatra!"). And here we have Kathy Bates as Queen Victoria, Owen and Luke Wilson as the Wright Brothers, John Cleese as a British sergeant, and funniest of all, Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Turkish prince.
The set-up is familiar. Phileas Fogg is much resented by the members of the fogbound Explorers' Club because of his crackpot inventions and fevered schemes. Lord Kelvin (Jim Broadbent), president of the club, is a mainstream scientist who no doubt gave his name to the scientific term "kelvin," which measures how many degrees of separation there are between you and Sir Kelvin Bacon, the inventor of gravity.
Fogg claims the world can be circled in 80 days. Kelvin is outraged by his presumption and makes him a dare: Either (a) Fogg circles the globe by the deadline and Kelvin resigns from the club, or (b) Fogg resigns and discontinues his confounded experiments. Fogg (Steve Coogan) accepts the bet, and as he's preparing for his journey, he hires a new valet, Passepartout.
This valet we have already met, making a sudden exit from the Bank of England after having stolen the priceless Jade Buddha, a relic much treasured by his native village in China, but nabbed by the Black Scorpions, hirelings of the evil warlord Fang. Passeportout's hidden motive for joining the journey is to elude the police, sneak out of England and return the Buddha to China.
So off we go, by horse, train, ship, hot air balloon and so on. There is a brief stop at an art fair in France, where the beautiful Monique (Cecile De France) insists on joining their expedition and cannot be dissuaded; we think at first she has a nefarious motive, but no, she's probably taken a class in screenplay construction and knows that the film requires a sexy female lead. This could be the first case in cinematic history of a character voluntarily entering a movie because of the objective fact that she is required.
Fogg is the straight man to Passepartout for much of the journey, allowing Chan to steal scenes with shameless mugging, astonished double-takes and his remarkably physical agility. But all goes more or less as expected until the three arrive in Turkey and are made the guests of Prince Hapi (Schwarzenegger), whose hospitality is hard to distinguish from captivity. Smitten by the fragrant Monique, he invites all three to join him in the Turkish equivalent of a hot tub, observing ruefully, "I'm always embarrassing myself in front of visiting dignitaries." It may not be worth the price of admission, but it almost is, to hear Schwarzenegger proudly boast, "Guess who else was in this pool? U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes!"
The director, Frank Coraci, takes advantage of Verne's structure to avoid the need for any real continuity. When one location runs out of gags, the three move on to the next, including an extended stay in Passeportout's native China, where Fang and the Black Scorpions do all they can to win back the Jade Buddha from the grateful village where it has exerted its benign charm for centuries.
Then it's across the Pacific and into the American desert, where the travelers encounter a couple of traveling bicycle salesmen, Wilbur and Orville Wright. They generously share their ideas for an airplane, and that comes in handy in the mid-Atlantic, where Fogg's chartered steamer runs out of fuel and the intrepid circumnavigators invent an airplane and fly to London. Oh, and before that, there's an extended martial-arts scene in the New York warehouse where the head of the Statue of Liberty provides a gigantic prop.
None of this amounts to anything more than goofy fun, but that's what the ads promise, and the movie delivers. It's light as a fly, but springs some genuinely funny moments, especially by Schwarzenegger, the Wilsons and the irrepressible Chan.
The California governor's scenes were shot before he took office, and arguably represent his last appearance in a fiction film; if so, he leaves the movies as he entered, a man who shares our amusement at his improbability, and has a canny sense of his own image and possibilities.
I met him back in the '70s when the documentary "Pumping Iron" was being released, and Mr. Universe was the first of the offices he would hold. I liked him then, I like him now, and I remember that when I introduced the film at the USA Film Festival in Dallas, he greeted the audience and then slipped off to the green room to study his business textbooks. He refused to be dismissed as muscles with an accent, but he got the joke.