2 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 120 minutes
Click to Expand Credits:

Oscar-nominated animator and beloved iconoclast Bill Plympton took it upon himself to remaster Winsor McCay’s 1921 animated short “The Flying House.”

The film, which was part of a series based on McCay’s comic strip “Dream of a Rarebit Fiend,” focuses on a woman who goes to bed after a Welsh rarebit dinner and dreams that her overweight husband has rebelled against paying their mortgage by turning their home into a giant airplane – complete with a propeller. The couple flies their home through various locations, knocking over a water tower and wrecking an arboretum before taking off into space and landing on the moon – where an unfriendly giant tries to crush them with a fly swatter.

McCay’s animation is subversively inventive, and this would seem like a perfect film to preserve. However, Plympton took the restoration process a little too far – the silent and black-and-white film was colorized and saddled with a new dialogue track featuring Matthew Modine and Patricia Clarkson as the airborne couple. Even worse, Plympton re-edited the film by removing the comic strip-style dialogue balloons used by McCay to compensate for the lack of sound recording. In doing this, Plympton completely transforms the distinctively goofy style of a comic strip-turned-motion picture – and, quite frankly, the dialogue balloons are more enchanting than Modine and Clarkson’s hammy voice performances.

This DVD, which includes a pre-restored original print of the McCay work, also provides a behind-the-scenes view of how this well-intended but strange endeavor came about.

Posted on December 8, 2012 in Reviews by

If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
Popular Stories from Around the Web

Tell us what you're thinking...

Comments are governed by the Terms of Use of this Site. Click on the "Report Comment" link if you feel a comment is in violation of the Terms of Use, and the comment will be reviewed appropriately.