Miracle (of Flight) in Milan
Terry Gilliam’s MIRACLE OF FLIGHT is an early animation of his, pre-Python, in which his cut-out figures plunge to early deaths smothered in feathers or wielding cardboard wings. A little predictable at first, although the proportion of hand-drawn figures to art book cut-outs is slightly higher than usual. Then we get a gag recreated later in live action on Monty Python’s Flying Circus: a goggled aviator, majestically sailing through the air with his strap-on eagle wings, a rocky horizon scudding beneath him, until he’s abruptly flattened against a vast wall. Rotate 90° to reveal that the horizon was a sheer cliff face and the wall he’s hit is the ground.
Then a parable in which a king gathers together the finest scientists and philosophers in his land to solve the problem. His approach is to kick each of them off a mountain, on the assumption that one of them will be clever enough to invent flight on the way down.
Then Gilliam quickly shows us the invention of in-flight movies, stewardesses, airline tickets, and airport terminals. A representative passenger goes through baggage check-in and passport control, gradually approaching the gate, is instructed to board…
…and is kicked off the mountain.