Director: Winsor McCay
Release Date: 1921
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

Still from 'The Flying House' featuring a man behind some machinery‘The Flying House’ is the last of the three ‘Dream of a rarebit fiend’  films Winsor McCay completed in 1921.

In this short the classic rarebit makes a woman dream that her man has made a flying machine out of their house. With their flying house they fly to the moon, where they’re almost swatted by a giant. When they run out of gas they circle in empty space until they’re hit by a rocket, and both fall down. At this point, of course, the woman awakes.

Compared to the other two Rarebit Fiend films, ‘Bug Vaudeville‘ and ‘The Pet‘, this cartoon uses a lot of dialogue, both in balloons and in title cards. Moreover, there’s a lot of reverse and repeated animation – thus not all movements are too convincing. Although the story does not quite delivers what it promises, it contains a few good gags. And, as always, both McCay’s drawing style and command of perspective are top notch. Especially the shots of the house flying are very impressive.

Yet the film’s most stunning sequence is when the house leaves earth to fly to the moon. In one convincingly realistic shot we see the earth rotating, the moon appearing behind it and growing larger, while the house flies towards us, orbiting the earth. This is by all means  a spectacular piece of animation, especially because it was done 37 years before the space age. McCay clearly and understandably was proud of this sequence, and so he announces it with a title card.

Unfortunately, ‘The Flying House’ was to be Winsor McCay’s last completed film. His legacy is formidable, and he undoubtedly belongs to the best and most imaginative animators/animation directors of all time.

Watch ‘The Flying House’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Winsor McCay’s tenth and last film
To Winsor McCay’s ninth film: The Pet

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