“Around the world I’ve searched for you… I traveled on… when hope was gone… to keep a rendezvous”
Sinatra takes the cameo credit of “Barbary Coast Saloon Pianist” in the 1956 film Around the World in 80 Days. It may be the best thing the movie offers.
Despite taking 5 Oscars, including Best Picture, I find this film duller than an afternoon of braiding doll hair.
The movie’s politely superficial theme, music by Victor Young, is repeated to an exhausting degree throughout its 182 minute run time. Sweeping wide shot of a hot air balloon crossing the puffy white skies? We need our theme. Sailing the Atlantic Ocean by steamship? Let’s use that theme again. Approaching the Spanish bull fight scene with the 10,000 extras? Hey… have we used our theme yet?
Take a look at the trailer. You can hear the theme play at :40… and again at 1:25… and again at 3:57. Or take my word for it and just listen to Sinatra’s version right here –>02_around_the_world.mp3
Thankfully saved from being involved in this bloated film is an actual sung version of the theme, lyrics by Harold Adamson. Bing Crosby had a hit with it in 1957. Sinatra and conductor/arranger Billy May included it in the Come Fly With Me album in 1958. My recommendation is to actively avoid the film until you give the Sinatra version a decent chance to find a permanent home in your ear. Divorcing yourself from the relentless cinematic arrangement will be difficult otherwise. You may be able to forget about it, but it will never truly leave you, like that simultaneous clapping part of the Friends theme, or those 1990s commercials for Mentos.
And despite appearances from the likes of Shirley MacLaine, Marlene Dietrich, Buster Keaton, Red Skelton, Peter Lorre, Cesar Romero, Charles Boyer, Noel Coward, Sir John Gielgud, and a circus tent full of other A-listers at the time, you’d still be better off skipping the film permanently and spending a Saturday afternoon watching The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze.