Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines

In 1910, flying long distances is still both an untested experience and a new craze. Both for the glory of Britain and for the prestige and profit of his newspaper, the Daily Post, Lord Rawnsley sponsors an air race from London to Paris. Veteran flying pioneers from all over the northern hemisphere - England, France, Germany, the USA, Italy, and Japan - come together, and a lot of competition breaks out even before the race; Germans and French are locked in a (humorous) duel of nerves and national prestige, and the pilots Mays of England and Newton of the US vie for the affections of Rawnsley's free-spirited daughter Patricia.

And when the race finally begins, it is laced with all sorts of hilarious accidents which throw most of the compeditors out of the field. Of 14 contestants, only four actually reach Paris - but who is the winner...?

Continuity mistake: When the German colonel crash lands in the Channel, he first hangs directly under his upside-down plane before he has to let go, and the plane zooms in a straight line away from him. But as he resurfaces in the foreground, the plane comes in from the background's left before landing in the water.

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Sir Percy Ware-Armitage: And I've arranged for the Frenchman to be detained by a lovely young lady.
Courtney: Ho, ho, guvnor, I'll bet she's a bit of all right.
Sir Percy Ware-Armitage: You should know, Courtney, she's your daughter.
Courtney: But guvnor, she's an innocent young girl.
Sir Percy Ware-Armitage: Not is, Courtney, WAS.

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Trivia: The sequence where the aeroplane lands on a train was shot on the Bedford-Hitchin railway line, which was closed in 1964.

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