|The Germans are coming!|
You must have heard the theme song, which is brilliantly illustrated by Ronald Searle (the artist behind the St Trinians and Molesworth drawings.) The comedy doesn't stop there: famous comedians with roles in the film include Tony Hancock, Eric Sykes and, erm, Benny Hill.
The Brits are not all decent chaps, either: Terry-Thomas is my absolute favourite of the English characters. He plays a Baronet determined to win the race however he can. He is such a brilliant bounder. At one point he wears a ghastly hat in two shades of green, and matching bright green and yellow waistcoat. How could he be anything other than a rascal? And that's before he tries putting off the French competitor by sending a comely lass after him, and other dirty tricks. (If Terry-Thomas' character sounds a bit 'Dick Dastardly' to you, there is definitely something of the Wacky Races about this film.)
I think the reason some steampunks hold the film to their hearts is that it embraces the spirit of adventure in early aviation, where one person could indeed have an impact on technology, and where there was a joy in experimenting with it. The variety of reproduction aeroplanes used is a real delight. Those Magnificent Men... certainly is packed with optimism. I just enjoy seeing Terry-Thomas is full bounder flow.