Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend: The Flying House (1921)

Article 5217 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 7-29-2016
Directed by Winsor McCay
No cast
Country: USA
What it is: Animated strange dream

A husband and wife go to bed after having had rarebits for dinner. The woman dreams that her husband adds an airplane engine to the house and gives it the ability to fly in a bid to evade the landlord.

This is one of the small handful of films made by Winsor McCay; it’s not up to the level of GERTIE THE DINOSAUR or THE PET, but it’s still pretty interesting. Once it gets going, it’s mostly a series of comic/absurd setpieces, with my favorite scene being one where they fly into outer space, land on the moon, and then have a tussle with the giant man in the moon and his big flyswatter. Of the great animators during the early silent era (I rate him with Emile Cohl and Wladyslaw Starewicz), McCay was probably the one that was the most conventional, and even at that, some of his work is pretty weird. Fans of McCay’s surreal humor will probably like this one best.


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