Around the World in Eighty Days is just too big, too long, too gaudy, too much of an audience pleasing movie to not have won 1956’s top prize. It’s a fun little piece stretched around great long periods of monotony: Cantinflas is amusing as the
French Latin sidekick Passepartout. A young Shirley MacLaine is quite lovely as the (huh?) Indian Princess (when I first typed “Indian” I actually typed “Indiana.” And, you know what?an Indiana Princess would have made *a lot*more sense for Ms. MacLaine. ) And David Niven is impeccable as the unflappable Phileas Fogg. But do you know who the biggest and bestest star of this movie is? Why, it’s the Cameo Appearance of course. There are less stars in the heavens than there are in this movie. Here’s a partial list of cameos off the top of my head: John Gielgud, John Mills, Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra, George Raft, Hermoine Gingold, Bea Lillie, Jose Greco, Charles Boyer, Evelyn Keyes, Robert Morley, Buster Keaton, Red Skelton. And more. And Edward R. Murrow starts off the whole 3 hours long shebang by introducing a clip of 1902’s A Trip to the Moon. This thing better have not won best editing, that’s for sure….checking IMDB… Oh, holy shit, it did. But it was up against a couple of 1956’s other big timewasters, Giant and The Ten Commandments. Except Giant is not that big of a timewaster. I kinda like that one. Ten Commandents, not so much.
Things I liked:
- I actually love the end credits for this movie, a lot. You can literally skip the 175 minute extravaganza and head towards the credits. The whole story is right here. Animated. And they know who and where all the cameos are. Saul Bass, you were the true genius of movie credits.
- Marlene Dietrich’s legs. She’s got the gams.
- I do like playing the cameo game.
For dinner we went around the world in 2-3 courses, sorta.
for beverages: Jim had beer from England, I had some French Vouvray and the girls and some really cool Japanese soda pop, Ramune.
If you ever go to a Benihana or a similar restaurant, order one of these. They’re lots of fun, but hard to describe. But, there is a marble involved. Roxane, if you ever read this entry, please try to describe this pop. Thanks.
For dinner I made an old standby–Country Captain Chicken–it is a recipe that, so The New York Times cookbook says is Indian in nature. And its easy.
Wash, rinse and pat dry a cut up chicken. Dredge in flour and salt & pepper.
Heat a large sauce pan over a medium flame. Melt 4 Tablespoons butter until bubbly. Add the chicken and brown on both sides until golden.
finely chop 1 onion and one green (or red, yellow or orange) pepper. Crush one garlic clove. After the chicken is done browning, remove from the pan and add the vegetables pluse 1 1/2 teaspoons curry, 1/ teaspoon thyme and 1 can (14-16oz) chopped tomatoes to the pan. saute for about 3-4 minutes until the onion begins to wilt. Add the chicken back to the pan, skin side up and simmer covered for about 30 minutes. Serve with rice.
I also made a wonderful cucumber salad. This was from and Alice Waters cookbook about vegetables. It’s the easiest recipe ever. Peel one cucumber and put it throughyou food processor using the slicingdisc. Do the same with one small red onion. Finely chop about a handful or so of cilantro. Put cucumber, onion and cilantro in a bowl and add fresh lime juice to cover. That’s it.