(1956 c 179')
Adapted from the novel by Jules Verne, in 1872 an English gentlemen bets his friends that he can travel around the world in eighty days. He takes money and a valet, and they rescue an Indian princess along the way.
Edward R. Murrow introduces the author Jules Verne and shows an old film of his story about a rocket. A modern rocket is shown blasting off, and the Earth is shown from space. The book Around the World in Eighty Days was written in 1872.
A band marches in London. Phileas Fogg (David Niven) walks into the Reform Club. Passepartout (Cantinflas) rides an early bicycle among the horses on the street, and he goes into an employment office. He sees many waiting and sits down next to them. Foster (John Gielgud) complains that his employer tortures people. He says he tried hard, but Fogg is too particular. Neither man has found out anything about him. Passepartout asks if they have a position for a gentleman’s gentleman.
Fogg in a dressing gown interviews Passepartout and tells him he likes things exactly on time. Fogg is playing cards and tells other men how a thief got away with much money. Gauthier Ralph (Robert Morley) says they will catch him. Fogg says a man can go around the world now in eighty days. Others say it is impossible. Andrew Stuart (Finlay Currie) offers to bet him £5,000 he cannot do it. Fogg says he has £20,000, and he bets four of them. Fogg says he will leave that night, and he must return in 80 days by 8:45 p.m.
Passepartout is summoned to the bedroom of Fogg, and he takes the dumbwaiter. Fogg says they are leaving for the continent in ten minutes. They are going around the world. Fogg puts some money in a red bag and tells Passepartout to watch it.
On the street a woman slaps Passepartout. A French coachman (Fernandel) drives their carriage. They go into a building, and Fog tells Passepartout to purchase their tickets. Monsieur Gasse (Charles Boyer) shows him a travel folder and tells him what they will discover. He gives him tickets to Marseilles, but Fogg says they cannot go by train and must go another way. Gasse shows them a picture of his hot-air balloon and offers to lease it to them, but Fogg purchases it.
Fogg helps Passepartout get in the basket as the balloon ascends above the crowd. Fogg shows him how they go up and down. They float over the city and then over the countryside. They pour out sand to get over a mountain peak, and they drink wine. Stuart tells the Club members that Fogg has drifted over the Alps and is on time. The balloon comes down in a town square. Passepartout speaks Spanish and says they are in Spain. They ask if they can get a boat.
They sit at a table, hear guitars, and watch Flamenco dancers. A man (Jose Greco) dances on a table. Achmed Abdullah (Gilbert Roland) and his henchman (Cesar Romero) come in and sit down. Passepartout dances with a woman and acts like a bullfighter. Fogg asks to use Achmed’s yacht, and his henchman says his master will let them use it for free; but he wants to see Passepartout in a bull fight first.
The next day they attend a bull fight. Passepartout walks into the arena after the others. A bull is released, and a bull fighter takes him on with a red cape. He hands the cape to Passepartout, who is scared. The bull charges the cape. Passepartout shows his skill and makes them laugh. Men carry him off on their shoulders. Achmed says his ship is Fogg’s, and he may arrive in Marseilles in ten hours.
At the Club men bet on the 30-1 odds. A bulletin announces that Fogg has arrived at Suez. Passepartout is told that Fogg has to appear at the British consulate. Mr. Fix (Robert Newton) offers to help. Fix confers with the Consul (Alan Mowbray) and says he will do his duty.
Fogg sits on the deck of a ship. While playing cards he orders his usual noonday meal. On deck Fix offers Passepartout a drink on the way to Bombay. Fix says he knows India well. The captain tells Fogg they are arriving two days ahead of schedule.
Fogg buys railway tickets to Calcutta. Passepartout wanders in the streets and sees women dancing in a religious procession. He distracts a bull, and men chase him through a temple. Fix tries to get Fogg arrested, but the official refuses. Fogg waits at the train, and Passepartout barely makes it. The train crosses a river on a bridge. Fogg plays cards with Sir Francis Cromarty (Cedric Hardwicke). The train stops, and the official (Ronald Coleman) tells them it is the end of the line.
To get through the jungle Fogg buys an elephant. At night they sit by a fire. They see a religious festival passing by. Cromarty says it is sati. A rajah died, and his wife must die too. Fogg learns she was educated in England, and he puts General Cromarty in command. He plans a distraction, but he needs 75 men. Passepartout has his own plan. The screaming woman is put next to the corpse on the bier which is set on fire. Passepartout stands up and helps her escape. Princess Aouda (Shirley MacLaine) gets on the elephant.
At the Club they read about the abduction of an Indian princess. They calculate he has passed Rangoon and is on the way to Hong Kong. Aouda and Fogg are on the deck of a ship, and she is enthralled by his card story. She says she was a wife in name only. Passepartout tells her Fogg lives by a watch and thinks of nothing but whist. Fix tells Mr. Talley (Melville Cooper) that he was given them the slip. Fix gives him money and learns where Fogg is sailing from Hong Kong.
They take rickshaws in Hong Kong to an address. The princess cannot stay there, but Fogg says she can go with them. Passepartout rides an ostrich, and Fix follows him. A steamship clerk (Charles Coburn) gives them information. Aouda thanks Fogg, and he tells her not to do that. She asks him not to be so British. Fix buys a drink for Passepartout. Fix says he is a detective who is after the criminal Fogg. Passepartout drinks and becomes dizzy before passing out. Men take him away in a rickshaw and a boat. He wakes up and sees the steward (Peter Lorre), who tells him they are going to Yokohama. Passepartout realizes he is alone and lost his money.
Fogg asks the clerk how he can get to Yokohama. Fix chats with Fogg, who takes a boat to Yokohama. Passepartout sees a large statue of the Buddha and apples on an altar. A woman gives him an apple, and he bows to the Buddha. He looks at food and goes into a circus. Fix thanks Fogg for letting him go on the boat.
Fogg, Fix, and Aouda arrive in Yokohama, and Fogg says he will find Passepartout. He sees the circus and buys two tickets. He sees Passepartout on stage and calls him.
They travel on the General Grant clipper ship. At the Club word is passed that Fogg is in America. A sporting lady (Hermione Gingold) and her companion (Glynis Johns) talk about Fogg.
On the streets of San Francisco they see a parade with showgirls. Passepartout goes in the saloon and sits by the hostess (Marlene Dietrich). The bouncer (George Raft) throws a knife on the table. He eats with a drunk (Red Skelton), who is expelled by the bouncer. Fogg tells the hostess he is looking for his man. Fogg finds him and tells him they will need pistols in this dangerous country. The bouncer tells Fogg to get out. The pianist (Frank Sinatra) sees them go. Outside Col. Stamp Proctor (John Carradine) gives Fogg a cigar. Fogg tells him to unhand the lady.
They take a train across the mountains. The conductor (Buster Keaton) tells Fogg that these Indians are friendly because they smoke the peace pipe. The train stops while a herd of buffalo crosses the tracks. The four play cards. The train stops, and the conductor says the bridge will not hold the train. Col. Proctor gives them whiskey and tells them to shoot across. The train goes across, and the bridge collapses behind them. Col. Proctor tells Fogg to play poker, not whist. Fogg challenges him to a duel; but the Colonel is shot by an arrow as Indians attack the train. Indians board the train, and they shoot them. The conductor is shot with an arrow and says the train is running away. Passepartout climbs on top of the train and shoots at the Indians. The train goes through a tunnel, and he tumbles off. The Indians tie him to a stake and drum. The train stops at Fort Kearney. Fogg asks a Union colonel to rescue Passepartout. The stationmaster (Joe E. Brown) says they cannot hold the train. The cavalry charges as the fire burns around Passepartout. The Indians flee. At the station Fogg says they will lose 24 hours. Fogg thinks of using a sail and a cart on wheels.
Denis Fallentin (Trevor Howard) plays billiards at the Club. They learn that Fogg was delayed and missed the ship. They decide to place bets. A detective from Scotland Yard tells them that Fogg is the bank robber, and he has gone to Venezuela.
Fogg travels on the steamship Henrietta. The first mate (Andy Devine) says they are out of coal. Fogg offers the captain £5,000 and orders everything on the ship burned as fuel. The helmsman (Victor McLaglen) says there is nothing more to burn. They see land, and Fogg gives the ship back to the captain.
They arrive at noon, and Fix arrests Fogg for robbing the Bank of England. Fogg is put in jail, and Passepartout and Aouda wait outside. Fix says they found the real culprit in Brighton, and he apologizes to Fogg, who says he does not like Fix. Fogg says they lost the wager, and they return to his home. Aouda says it is a gloomy place. Fogg gives orders and retires. Aouda prepares food and asks Passepartout what he will do. She asks Fogg to eat something, and she apologizes for delaying him. Fogg says it was his own folly. She says his friends could help him, but he says he has no friends. She asks him if he would like to have her as his wife. Fogg sends Passepartout out for a minister and to arrange for a wedding. Passepartout sees a newspaper and realizes it is Saturday, not Sunday. He runs back and tells Fogg it is Saturday, and they have ten minutes left. Fogg says they went around the world in 81 days. He realizes they went east and crossed the international dateline. They take a coach to the Reform Club. The carriage driver (John Mills) gets the hiccups, and Passepartout drives the carriage. Fogg tries to get past a revivalist (Beatrice Lillie) and is delayed. They start singing, and he runs off.
At the Club the men say there is only one minute to go. Ralph says Fogg is the most punctual man alive. As the clock tolls, Fogg walks in. Aouda comes in, and the men are shocked because no woman ever entered the Club before.
This adventure story entertains as a travelogue and a comedy of British manners with numerous cameos of famous movie stars and with the plot of whether they will win the bet. The story also reflects the reach of the British empire at Suez, India, and Hong Kong. A cruel Indian custom is portrayed, and America is satirized as a wild country with armed cowboys and Indians.