Wings

1927

Action / Drama / Romance / War

50
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 95%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 76%
IMDb Rating 7.7 10 9630

Synopsis


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Cast

Gary Cooper as Cadet White
Clara Bow as Mary Preston
Hedda Hopper as Mrs. Powell
720p.BLU
981.26 MB
1280*720
English
PG-13
23.976 fps
2hr 24 min
P/S 2 / 5

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by JohnHowardReid 8 / 10

Stands up rather well!

Copyright 5 January 1929 by Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation. Presented by Adolph Zukor and Jesse L. Lasky. New York opening of silent version at the Criterion: 12 August 1927. Sound effects and musical score (Movietone) version released 5 January 1929. Originally released in color tints. Portions of the film utilized Magnascope. Sound version is 13 reels, 12,267 feet, 136 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: Two aviators are in love with the same girl.

NOTES: Academy Award, Best Picture (defeating The Last Command, The Racket, Seventh Heaven and The Way of All Flesh). Academy Award, Special Engineering Effects, Roy Pomeroy (defeating The Jazz Singer and The Private Life of Helen of Troy).

Despite its Academy Award for Best Picture, Wings did not even place in The Film Daily poll of U.S. film critics for the Ten Best Pictures of the year.

Negative cost: around $2 million. Location filming near San Antonio, Texas.

COMMENT: The madness of war graphically depicted in a $2 million production (the movie would cost at least forty times as much to reproduce today) that grabs all the senses and fully engages mind, heart and soul, "Wings" is perhaps Wellman's finest achievement. Not only is the action staged for real, using a truly staggering number of men and machines, but the story itself comes over with a dramatic urgency, a romantic poignancy, an almost horrifying sensitivity that is only slightly dissipated by the current 2017 prints that fail to incorporate either the red and blue laboratory tints or the big- picture MagnaScope dimensions of the original. (It's also a shame that Zamecnik's specially commissioned music score is not used but instead replaced with a new Wurlitzer score composed and performed by Gaylord Carter).

Contemporary reviewers praised Clara Bow's lively performance but today her over-the-top vivacity seems just a little too forced for comfort. In a cameo role that lasts only a few minutes, it's Gary Cooper (already endowed with his familiar mannerisms) who shines super- bright. Charles "Buddy" Rogers comes over person-ably enough as the hero and really distinguishes himself in a counting bubbles scene in the Folies Bergere. Richard Arlen seems a bit gloomy as "the other man" but contrasts well enough with the continuously effervescent Rogers.

Other roles, aside from Jobyna Ralston's attractive "other girl" (much is made of her in the plot, but she virtually disappears from the action itself and doesn't even figure in the climax), are comparatively small. For a moment there, it looks like El Brendel has been hired for comedy relief, but even he is wiped out for such an extraordinarily long stretch, it comes as a surprise when he suddenly pops back briefly at the climax.

It is the small roles that often make the greatest atmospheric impression: callous Von Hartmann playing himself, Zalla Zarana as the sympathetic attendant who helps Bow into the spangled dress, vampy Arlette Marchal as the zesty Celeste, the slightly menacing Henry B. Walthall as the crippled Armstrong, Wellman's serene-faced wife and daughter as the mother and child at the crash site, and Wellman himself playing the dying soldier who exclaims, "Them buzzards are some good after all!"

Technically, the picture stands up rather well, though long shots are so often employed that you really need the movie's original big- screen MagnaScope to present the numerous aerial dog-fights at their hideously terrifying best. Fortunately, the more intimate moments, such as the Folies Bergere scenes (where Wellman gets into stride with a rapid tracking shot that seems impossible to stage) still glow with a nervously compelling wartime vitality.

Reviewed by Jackson Booth-Millard 5 / 10

Wings

The Academy Awards have been a celebrated annual ceremony since 1929, and I have always been fascinated to watch as many of the winning movies as possible, I was especially excited to watch this, the first film in history to win the Oscar for Best Picture, directed by William A. Wellman (The Public Enemy, A Star I Born, The Ox-Bow Incident). Basically set in the year 1917, in a small American town, Jack Powell (Charles 'Buddy' Rogers), an auto mechanic, and David Armstrong (Richard Arlen), who comes from a wealthy family, are rivals, both are in love with the same woman, Sylvia Lewis (Jobyna Ralston). Sylvia's heart belongs to David, but she plays along with Jack's infatuations, Jack fails to realise that "girl next door" Mary Preston (Clara Bow) is desperately in love with him. It is First World War, the two young men both enlist to become combat pilots in the Air Service and are billeted together, they make a brief acquaintance with tent mate Cadet White (Gary Cooper), before he is killed the same day in an air crash. Undaunted, Jack and David endure a rigorous training period, they turn from enemies into best friends, and following graduation they are shipped off to France to fight the Germans. Mary joins the war effort, becoming an ambulance driver, she learns Jack has gained the reputation as an ace called "The Shooting Star", she encounters him while on leave in Paris, but he is too drunk to recognise her. Mary puts Jack to bed, two military police barge in as she is innocently changing, she is forced to resign and return to the United States. During the epic Battle of Saint-Mihiel, David is shot down and presumed dead, however he survives the crash landing, he steals a German biplane, and heads for the Allied lines. Jack spots David aircraft, in a tragic stroke of bad luck, he thinks it is an enemy aircraft, he wants for David's "death" and attacks, he successfully downs the craft. Jack only realises what he has done when wants to retrieve a souvenir of his "victory", Jack holds David in his arm, kissing him, David consoles his friend before dying, forgiving his comrade. The war ends, Jack returns home to a hero's welcome, he visits David's grieving parents to return his friend's effects, he begs forgiveness for causing David's death, David's Mother (Julia Swayne Gordon) blames the war for taking her son's life, not Jack, he is then reunited with Mary and realises he loves her. Also starring El Brendel as Herman Schwimpf, Richard Tucker as Air Commander, Gunboat Smith as The Sergeant, Henry B. Walthall as David's Father, Roscoe Karns as Lt. Cameron and Arlette Marchal as Celeste. The film certainly delivers the message of how war can devastate lives, the most memorable sequences are of course the mid- air battles, the rest of the film is mostly slow, and the love triangle storyline is sentimental and clich├ęd, but overall it is a fairly good silent war drama. It won the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Effects, Engineering Effects. Worth watching!

Reviewed by Sfmooreman97 7 / 10

An intriguing silent film

Set in a WWI setting the first thing I noticed about this film was the amazingly shot flight scenes, they capture what it must have felt like to fly these planes so perfectly it completely immerses you into the time period. The acting on the other hand was a slightly over shadowed by these visuals. The acting was a bit over the top but like I've seen with other silent movies, like Charlie Chaplin's The Circus, this is necessary in order to better portray the emotions of the characters and the overall mood of the scene. However the way the comedy mixes with the dark tone of a war setting is also very well done. With today's standards in movies I'm constantly surprised with how these silent films can make me laugh and feel amazed all in one.

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