It doesn’t take so long to circumnavigate the world these days, and young people seeing the title of this film may not think this is any kind of challenge. Even when the film was made in 1956, one could do it in a little less than two days but when Jules Verne wrote the story in the 19th century it needed a lot more effort. Thanks to new steamships and railways, a Victorian Englishman thought he could do it in 80 days.
There’s been a few incarnations of this classic story but the original one is an epic 167 minute film directed by Michael Anderson. It is set in 1872 where English gentleman Phileas Fogg (David Niven) claims he can travel around the world in 80 days. He places a £20,000 wager (presently worth about two million pounds given the rate of inflation) with four sceptical fellow members of the Reform Club, and along with his his loyal and resourceful assistant Passepartout, he goes sailing around the globe whilst generously splashing cash to ensure he gets to his destinations to make the slightly restrictive steamship schedules.
For the record, that is the same Reform Club in London which has gone on to appear in the likes of ‘Die Another Day‘ (2002), ‘Quantum Of Solace‘ (2008) and ‘Paddington‘ (2014).
Filming took place in late 1955 in eight different countries; the USA, England, France, Spain, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand and Japan. We expect multiple locations these days for James Bond or Fast & Furious movies but this seems quite incredible for the 1950s! Production involved four million air-passenger miles travelled, 112 exterior locations and 140 sets in various studios in Hollywood, England, Hong Kong and Japan. Impressive figures!
It really is a long wait till we see Japanese scenery in this film. Mount Fuji can finally be seen on 103 minutes as Fogg, having missed the boat to Yokohama, uses a traditional Chinese sailing ship (known as a junk) to get to Japan.
Latin immigrant valet Passepartout arrives before Fogg and takes in a bit of sightseeing at Kamakura for about 90 seconds of footage.
Now I know the pedantic will be wondering how on earth these locales can feature in this long-running series of posts when Kamakura is not even in Tokyo! It is actually about 55 kilometres south-west of the capital but I think it’s okay to include these filming locations under the Tokyo banner as it is all part of Tokyo metropolis.
Besides, I have already included ‘House of Bamboo‘ (1955) in this series which was also shot in this beautiful part of Kanagawa Prefecture.
The Great Buddha at Kōtoku-in Temple is home to the 13.4 metre tall bronze statue and I reckon this must’ve been my sixth visit overall. Even after so many visits, the huge seated buddha is still an awe-inspiring sight and it is quite easy to see why it’s a national treasure. The clear blue skies and sunny weather helped to make it an even more beautiful natural backdrop.
Dating from 1252, the statue was originally housed inside a temple but typhoons and tidal waves took their toll and so it has stood outside in the open since 1495. Given that seven decades have passed since filming it is not so surprising that the buildings to the side of the statue have changed.
Click here to read ‘The Great Buddha, Monster Hospital, Quality Dog Time, A Sushi Museum & Live J-League Football!’
Click here to read `Tokyo Filming Locations #14 – House Of Bamboo (1955)`
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Click here to read ‘The Complete A-Z Of Filming Locations On Tokyo Fox’
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