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One of the all time great adventure novels and certainly the most famous non-science fiction one by Jules Verne.

In 1872 London, UK, the very proper English gentleman Phileas Fogg finds himself in a wager at his social club that he can travel around the world in eighty days, a seemingly impossible feat to Fogg's doubters. Thus committed, Fogg begins his trip at once, bringing along his new manservant, Jean Passepartout, who ironically wanted a nice sedate job after years traveling about in various jobs such as an acrobat.

Along the way, Fogg and Passepartout have numerous adventures as they struggle to keep to a strict schedule. The most notable one in the first half is rescuing the beautiful Indian woman, Aouda, from being forced into a ceremonial self-immolation in India. Although Fogg tries to help her reach relatives in another safe British colony, this proves impossible and she becomes their fast companion for keeps who herself becomes more and more attracted to the dashing and intriguing Fogg.

Unfortunately, there is a bank robbery in London and although Fogg is completely innocent, his trip abroad seems too coincidental by Detective Fix's reckoning. So, as Fogg begins his race, Fix follows him, unsuccessfully trying to keep his quarry stationary and initially unaware of how far he is going until it becomes more worthwhile to help Fogg complete his journey back to England where Fix can arrest him.

As the gang continues their race through more adventures, it comes to a screeching halt when they reach Britain where Fix arrests Fogg. Although Fix later lets Fogg out of jail upon realizing he made a mistake, they are apparently too late as they arrive in London.

However, Aouda inadvertently saves the day, both in love with Fogg and feeling guilty that she may have cost him his bet, when she proposes to the now ruined Phileas and he joyously accepts. Passpartout is sent to get a vicar to arrange the wedding only to learn that the gang forgot they gained a day due to traveling east and actually arrived early. With only moments left to the deadline, Fogg and company race to the Club and make it just in time.

The book has numerous adaptations, first on stage and then on film and TV. The more noted works are:

  • A major 1956 film starring David Niven and Shirley MacLaine which includes the travelers taking a balloon ride part of the way, a travel option which the original Fogg dismissed as impractical.
  • A famous furry 1981 animated version, Around the World with Willy Fog.
  • A 1989 TV mini-series starring Pierce Brosnan, which critics complained went at far too leisurely a pace for a story about a race against time.
  • A famous 1989 TV travel documentary starring Michael Palin of Monty Python fame where he takes the challenge to travel around the world without using aircraft, following Fogg's route as closely as possible. It changed Palin's career into a star of a whole slew of travel series.
  • A recent Comic Relief series featured a celebrity relay version of this trip.
  • A 2004 film starring Jackie Chan and Steve Coogan, mostly working on Rule of Funny and (being a Chan film) slapstick martial arts. It is full of cameos by historical figures.

The book Around the World in Eighty Days displays these tropes:

  • Adventure
  • The Bet: Circumnavigate the globe in just eighty days. Keep in mind that the book is set during the nineteenth century, before the invention and use of commercial aircraft for traveling.
  • The Big Guy: Passepartout, one of whose odd jobs was a fireman. In the age when firemen needed to pull the burning houses apart by hand, and thus invariably were recruited from the men built like a brick outhouses.
  • The British Empire: "There is thus, so to speak, a trail of English towns all round the world."
  • But Not Too Black: Verne makes his mixed marriage easier to swallow for 19th century readers by describing Aouda as having "skin as white as a European's" and expressing herself "in perfect English".
  • Chekhov's Gun / Foreshadowing: Multiple references to Passepartout's watch falling further behind as they travel east, complete with an explanation in Chapter 11 regarding how the days are shorter when one travels eastbound.
  • Clock King: Phileas Fogg until the end, when he breaks his usual habits to win his bet.
    • Also Passepartout, whose watch keeps perfect time, and which he refuses to adjust for any reason, therefore allowing Verne to demonstrate the idea of time zones to his readers.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Passepartout, whom Verne seems to delight in embarrassing by seemingly out-of-nowhere situations.
  • Criminal Doppelganger: Phileas Fogg is wrongly pursued around the globe by Detective Fix because, in addition to the suspicious circumstances surrounding his sudden departure, he answers to the description of the gentleman who robbed the Bank of England.
  • Defictionalization: After the story was published, various people have made the attempt to travel the world within that time limit. Nelly Bly accomplished the trip in only seventy-two days in 1889, and Jame Willis Sayre made the journey in fifty-four days, nine hours and forty-two minutes in 1903.
    • Michael Palin did it with 17 hours to spare.
      • Ironically, the advent of air travel has made this harder, as it has replaced many of the old passenger ships and rail lines that Fogg relied on in his journey.
  • Distressed Damsel: Aouda in her debut in the book. However after her rescue, Aouda more than pulls her own weight in the story. For examples, when their train is attacked by Indians, Aouda immediately gets a gun and starts shooting along with her companions and of course, she saves Fogg's future at the climax of the story.
  • Dub Name Change: Early English translations sometimes changed Fogg's first name to Phineas.
  • Epic Race: Possibly the Trope Codifier.
  • Idiot Ball: Passepartout does not tell his master about Fix or the fact that Fogg is suspected of bank robbery because...uh...
    • Somewhat justified actually. He barely knows anything about Fogg, since he basically was hired the day before the the trip around the world, so there is enough reasonable doubt in his mind Fix might actually be right, hence the delay.
  • In Which a Trope Is Described: Verne's chapter titles.
  • Injun Country
  • Inspector Javert: Mr. Fix.
  • Kick the Dog: Fogg's carriage is noted as running over two dogs on his way to the Reform Club, an inexplicably distasteful piece of writing.
  • Mapmaking Marches On: The climactic twist was rendered impossible by the institution of the International Date Line in the early 20th century.
    • While not defined, it was effectively still there, presenting something of a Plot Hole. For the ending twist to work, Fogg would have had to never notice the date (or day of the week) all through his trip across America, while looking at train and ship schedules.
  • Meaningful Name: Passepartout is French for "a key that open all locks"
    • Furthermore, the name sounds a mighty lot like "Passport", which is inseparable from the modern traveller.
      • It gets even better; the literal translation of the name is "Goes Everywhere."
      • He admits himself the name is fitting, as he went through several jobs in his past.
  • The Millstone: Aouda fears that her presence with the travelers cost Fogg his bet by delaying him. Fogg firmly denies she was any problem and any concerns she may still have are dispelled by the fact that she is then instrumental instead in saving the day.
    • Passepartout at times as well. Several large delays were caused by him, even if mostly indirectly -- like being lured into opium den in Shanghai by Fix, or being kidnapped by Sioux in America. Blundering into Hindu temple in Bombay and being dragged to court for this was totally his own doing, though.
  • Mysterious Past: Nothing about Fogg's Backstory is explained in the book: he's simply a wealthy gentleman living off the rent on his capital, doing nothing except reading papers and playing cards at his club. However during his journey we witness firsthand that he's able to handle a gun, to navigate a boat, knows a lot about engineering, etc. How We Got Here, though, remains a mystery even in the finale.
  • Opium Den: Passepartout wanders into one of them in Shanghai, at Fix's instigation, and in a drug-fueled stupor forgets to tell Fogg about their ship's schedule change, ending up in Yokohama alone, until Fogg gets there on a different ship.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: Phileas Fogg of course!
  • Race Against the Clock: One of the most triumphant examples of this trope.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Phileas Fogg (Blue) is pratically an automaton. Passepartout (Red) is a much more excitable fellow.
  • Rescue Romance: Phileas Fogg rescues Aouda from death by suttee.
  • Right on the Tick: Fogg has to be back at the club by 5:00 pm on the 80th day in order to win the bet. Not one second later.
  • The Savage Indian: A band of Sioux waylay Fogg's train.
  • Schedule Fanatic: Phileas Fogg until the end, where he misses a key detail and decides to heck with schedule fanaticism.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money: How Fogg solves most of his travel difficulties. His luggage is comprised of one very oversized carpetbag stuffed with cash.
    • In fact, Fogg bets half his fortune (20,000 pounds) and takes the other half with him. So, as Verne himself notes in a chapter heading, he's just about even afterwards.
      • Note that 40,000 quid at the time is equivalent to roughly US$13 million as of now, on a gold price alone. The purchase power parity would yield even higher amount. Spending 6 megabucks in just 80 days would smooth the things up quite a bit.
      • Still, even though he stands to make an incredible amount of money or lose everything, it's not about the money. It's about the adventure, and Fogg's honour: for at the outset, he notes that "a gentleman never jokes about a bet".
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Phileas Fogg's basic personality until Aouda's heartfelt proposal at his darkest hour finally makes let himself go with love.
  • Super OCD: Phileas Fogg to the extreme. He fired a previous servant because of a very slight variation in the temperature of his shaving water. He stops having this in the ending.
    • Fogg's Mysterious Past and narration hinting that his super-ordered lifestyle stems from his chaotic early life may suggest that it's actually a form of PTSD.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Fix to a degree. He might be considered the bridge between Inspector Javert and this, being comical like a Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist is, but also unethical like an Inspector Javert.
  • Wacky Americans Have Wacky Names: Phileas Fogg challenges Col. Stamp W. Proctor to a duel.
  • You Fail Religious Studies Forever: Aouda is repeatedly described as "Parsi"[1], which would automatically make her Zoroastrian. But suttee is a purely Hindu custom!

The 1956 film Around the World in Eighty Days displays these additional tropes:

  • Academy Award: Best Picture.
  • The Cameo: Peter Lorre! Buster Keaton! Frank Sinatra?
  • Canon Immigrant: Phileas Fogg's balloon ride happens not in the Verne novel, but in this film. The balloon ride has since become such an iconic part of the story that Michael Palin took a balloon ride in his 1989 travelogue, and modern printings of Verne's novel are sometimes published along with another Verne novel, Five Weeks in a Balloon, with a balloon on the cover.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Ends with a Saul Bass reconstruction of the events of the film.
  • Epic Movie: Oh yes.
  • Fake Nationality: Passepartout is played by Mexican actor Mario Moreno (better known as Cantinflas).
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Not so much necessary, but desired in that the book had Aouda soon changing her clothes to a typical European dress. However for most adapters, having this beautiful Indian woman deemphasizing her exoticness by losing her Sari is unthinkable. Also, nowadays not having her accompany Fogg and Passepartout in the final sprint to the Reform Club makes the sequence feel incomplete.
    • Also, balancing a Indian attack on the train by first having the train stop so the Engineer can share a peace pipe with a different Native American nation, who have no interest in attacking since they are satisfied by this gesture.
  • Scenery Porn: And lots of it.
  • Widescreen Shot: A "spread to widescreen" shot.

The 2004 film Around the World in Eighty Days displays these tropes:

Notes

  1. the descendants of Iranians who fled to India from the religious persecution by Muslims
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