2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wings-an absolute treasure!
Wings(released Aug/27)has always been touted as the winner of the first Best Picture award.Technically this is not the case.When they won their award in 1929 it was for the Most Outstanding Production for 1927/28.It was a year later that a Best Production award was instituted and the Academy decided retrospectively that that was to be the equivalent award.A year after...
Published on Feb. 5 2012 by Robert Badgley
2.0 out of 5 stars The war to end all wars just wouldn't end.
A rather uninteresting WWI story showing off Gary Cooper and Clara Bow. The best parts are the real dogfight footage cut into the story. Unless you are a Great War fanatic or checking off Best Pictures, don't bother. Due to calendar scheduling, this is considered the Best Picture for the years 1927-28.
Published on July 14 1999
Most Helpful First | Newest First
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wings-an absolute treasure!,
This review is from: NEW Wings (1927) (DVD) (DVD)
Wings(released Aug/27)has always been touted as the winner of the first Best Picture award.Technically this is not the case.When they won their award in 1929 it was for the Most Outstanding Production for 1927/28.It was a year later that a Best Production award was instituted and the Academy decided retrospectively that that was to be the equivalent award.A year after that,this was again changed to Best Picture,whose namesake it has remained to this day.No matter,this was the start of Hollywoodland's(after /49,Hollywood's)self congratulatory back slapping.
Wings has been restored magnificently by Paramount,this their first release in their 100th birthday celebration.The original tinting and length is back.The only thing you won't see,as in the original theatrical release,is one of the early uses of Magnascope,a widescreeen effect used in some sequences.
Starring in this extravaganza is Charles Buddy Rogers,who became better known as a bigband leader and went on to steal Mary Pickford's heart in real life.Richard Arlen was a Paramount contract player at the time and he went on to marry his Wings co-star Jobyna Ralston,well known as a staple in many a Harold Lloyd film.Gary Cooper got his career start in this film,at the time the boyfriend to the star of the picture Clara Bow.Clara eats up the scenery every moment she is in the film.It is a testimony to Clara's emoting and acting skills in general that we get so involved,that we literally want to reach out and dry those tears away from her eyes.To top this,she is in and out of the film throughout its run,with far less screen time than her co stars Arlen and Rogers.But when you think of Wings,Clara is pretty much the first person you think of.
William Wellman of course directs and this is,to my knowledge,one of only two Wellman silents that still exist,which speaks volumes about film preservation.It was the the French Cinemateque that rescued Wings originally and it was the George Eastman House that rescued Wellmans other 1928 classic Beggars of life,starring Wings co star Arlen along with the iconic Louise Brooks.If it was not for these institutions,certainly not Paramount,we would have neither film to view today.A sorry commentary,indeed.
The plot of this film starts out with Rogers as Jack,who longs to be a pilot.He has a secret love in Clara(Mary),who lives next door and is always hanging around him,but is hardly noticed by the car tinkerer.Jack and another richer kid Arlen(David),vie for the affections of Ralston(Sylvia).However it is David that has really stolen the heart of Sylvia.When War comes and both boys volunteer for active duty,Sylvia doesn't have the heart to crush Jacks feelings.Over there,both are accepted into pilot training and become rivals.After a fist fight during training,Jack and David become fast friends and they are inseparable flying buddies from then on.
The War is a bitter pill to swallow at times as they see some of their closest friends get killed,and every mission could be their last.Mary in the meantime has also joined as an ambulance driver and is wandering the small towns of the French countryside,helping where she's needed.She herself gets into some close scrapes,such as coming into a town which is seemingly deserted,only because the troops have taken shelter from an incoming German bomber.She dives under her truck narrowly escaping death.Out of the sky comes Jack who has made quite a rep for himself in the air and on the ground.One of the soldiers recognizes the shooting star logo on the side of his plane;the exact same one Mary drew on his car back home.Mary instantly shouts up to Jack,who of course flies off unawares.
On a furlough in Paris Jack and David live it up to the max.David gets lucky while Jack never quite gets there(though he will always think he did),as he is just too drunk;seeing bubbles in everything.Mary happens to find Jack,tempts him away from a pretty French mademoiselle,and gets him to bed to sleep it off.However some MPs burst in on the two while Mary is changing back to her uniform and Mary is summarily sent back home.
The war continues and one day David is having a premonition that he is not coming back from their next mission alive.Jack poo-poos it and during a subsequent conversation,the two get into an argument over a picture of Sylvia Jack carries in his locket.They fly into the skies not speaking to each other.While airborne the two get separated when David ends up taking on a squadron of German planes by himself,while Jack carries on to the target of some observation balloons and destroys them.David gets wounded and is shot down and goes on the run behind German lines.Jack is devastated and when a German plane drops a note saying David was shot down and seemingly dead,Jack goes on a path of revenge for his buddy.Meanwhile David manages to steal a German plane and escape towards American lines.Jack who has been on the prowl shooting up everything he sees that is enemy,spies this plane going towards his lines.He pursues the plane and shoots it down.Landing to get the insignia off the plane rear rudder,he finds out it is David who he shot down,and who is dying before his eyes.They have a tearful and heartfelt last few moments together,as David tries to assuage Jacks guilt.
The War ends and Jack returns a hero.However the inevitable meeting with Davids parents comes and he is in tears.Realizing Jacks grief and remorse the two grieving parents reconcile their feelings towards the man who killed their son.Jack returns home and Mary,of course,is there still waiting;a little older and a little more reticent than her younger self.However Mary's undying love for Jack has never waned and Jack finally realizes that his true love was just across the fence all the time.
Wellman put great effort into his spectacular flying sequences and it certainly shows.I think the pictures main failing is that the sub stories of the relationships between the men and the men and women,never quite gets the same loving attention.Wellman also brought in comic El Brendel as Herman Scwimpf,the colourful "foreigner" who washes out in pilot training,but he was superfluous.There was enough comedy in the plot already,especially when Clara was on the scene.Having said that,there is no doubt the film packs a wallop even today.It has everything from drama,to comedy,to pathos and everything in between.While the film may seem a little uneven,it is still over all a well crafted picture and deserves the many laurels it has received over time and its place in cinematic history.
Technically speaking the film has been restored beautifully and the picture,while showing its age from time to time,is generally crisp and amazingly clear.The only extra(and this for Paramount's first 100th anniversary release at that!)is a featurette about the film's history and making by some "experts".
All in all this a film must have for every film buff out there.It has been restored to pristine condition and its story pulls you in almost from the start.All the stars do a great job but Clara is simply amazing to behold and it is fitting that she should have been in the first film to get the Most Outstanding Picture award(later to become Best Picture).While I would like to think this may be a trend to further restoration and release of more silent film titles(I would love to see a restored Beggars of Life,Paramount!),I am not holding my breath.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit above average, I guess.,
Well, here is exactly the type of silent film that most people do not watch nowadays; it's neither a comedy like the Charlie Chaplin movies, nor a horror film like Nosferatu. This, instead, is a typical American action/drama flick, with ample quantities of both.
It certainly suffers at times for being a silent film; dialogues have to be displayed on the screen, and this happens quite often because the story here is sometimes quite complex. Not only do the characters talk a lot, but the story also often requires some explaining, and some of the explanations can be quite long.
The action sequences are not as "big" as in they would be in movies today, but they are a lot more impressive in their own way. I was just amazed at how they could have shot some of those sequences; I got the impression that the person who was shooting was probably in quite a lot of danger, because I knew that they could not have used special effects in 1927; what I was seeing was the real thing. It was quite exhilirating to see those old, unsafe, WW1 planes in the air. I do not think that any director today would be crazy enough to duplicate something like this with real planes, so this is probably the only chance anyone has to see these planes in action, and feel like you're right in the thick of a dogfight.
That having been said, the film does stretch out for a bit too long sometimes. It never really gets boring, but it never really gets particularly interesting for most of the movie either. Most of the time, it's just entertaining enough to keep you watching it.
The reason I gave it a "4" is because the ending, when it comes, is quite good (don't let anybody spoil it for you; watch for yourself), and also because of the action sequences. The film is also quite funny in a few spots, notably in any scene with the patriotic Dutch aviator (I wish we had seen more of him), and in the Paris "drunken man" scene.
Overall, not a bad movie, and one that I know others may like more than me; so go ahead and see it (don't forget, though; it's 131 minutes)!
5.0 out of 5 stars I've never seen anything like it!,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Wings [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This film really blew me away. Like, REALLY blew me away.
Admittedly, I'm not the biggest silent movie fan - they usually tend to bore me and I end up shutting them off after only half an hour. But this one kept me glued to the TV for over two hours! Paramount's restoration is unbelievable and I give it full credit for making me fall in love with this film. The picture was so sharp and vivid and the effects were awesome (for a movie as old as this one, that's incredible).
Wings has already gone down as one of my absolute favourite classic films! The story is an emotional one that will leave you in tears (yup, I was sobbing at one point). The cast was flawless and performed very well together (keep your eye out for a four-minute appearance by a young, virile Gary Cooper), and the battle scenes were flawless.
Well worth it to add this cinematic gem to your collection!
5.0 out of 5 stars WINGS (blu-ray),
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Wings [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
An incredible product. The story is wonderful but the reproduction is simply breathtaking. The new (optional) sound score is great too. I loved this product and it was well worth the wait.
4.0 out of 5 stars CLARA BOW!,
Overall, Wings was a good movie, and it's fun to watch it and know you're watching the first movie to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
I'm not really into war epics, and I watched just to see Clara Bow, one of my favorite actresses. She does not have a very big part, but when she's on screen she lights up the scene and inevitably steals the show.
Recommended if you like war epics, or if you're an Oscar buff, or like romance, or if you're a Clara Bow fan. This movie has something for everyone...
Oh, and don't forget to watch out for Gary Cooper's little part, which definitely hints at his future star power.
4.0 out of 5 stars Wings: A Worthy First Best Picture Winner,
WINGS has most of the virtues and only a few of the vices of the silent movie. The lack of speech requires the audience to pay close attention to subtle nuances of facial expression and scene change. Director William Wellman managed to create an impressive recreation of a war that was silent on the screen but not in the mind. The plot, though thin, still carries the movie to the point where the real stars come in--the exciting dogfights that still resonate with visual power. Clara Bow is the marquee star but she disappears after the first half, only to reappear minutes before the closing credits. Charles Rogers, who bears a stunning resemblance to Robert Downey Jr., plays Jack, the object of her love, who in turn loves Sylvia, played by Jobyna Ralston. Richard Arlen is David, who also loves Sylvia. Mary (Bow) loves Jack (Rogers) but confusingly tells David that she loves him. The love quadrangle becomes even more tangled when Jack effortlessly and conveniently switches affection from Sylvia to Mary. Once, however, the viewer rolls with the numerous romantic plot twists, he can see that the aerial fight scenes form the collective real star of the film. And beyond them lies an anti-war subtext in whose carnal viciousness prefigures the much later graphic killing fields of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. To appreciate WINGS, one must view it as contemporary audiences did. To them, WINGS was a movie whose plot was secondary to the then state of the arts special effects. The result was a convincing and viscerally effective film that is worth the while to view, even after nearly seventy-five years.
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Not on DVD?,
This is an excellenet film, and is noted for being the first film to win a Best Picture Oscar.
Clara Bow is outstanding and Gary Cooper stands out as an up and coming star, despite his very small part.
The aerial battle sequences are breathtaking.
I actually like the film with the Wurlitzer organ soundtrack - it just seems more authentic to the period.
So, when can we get this on DVD or Blu-Ray?? My VCR is growing tired, and this is the only film I have left on VHS.
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous movie,
By A Customer
Wings VHS ~ Clara Bow is one of the best war movies that I have ever seen. The acting is stupendous and the main actors all do a comendable job. The special effects are quite amazing considering the time period and the musical score is quite well executed. No wonder it receieved an academy award. Highly Recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Movie Ive Seen,
Awesome. That is the only word to describe this film. As you probably know, the aerial combat scenes rank among the best in film history. The plot only got slow around the part in Paris, but the rest overshadows that. Id like to point out exactly how GOOD this movie is by drawing your attention to Pearl Harbor, the recent release. It seems to me that the plot for Pearl Harbor was almost ripped from Wings. Think about it, 2 Pilots, 1 girl, etc. etc. Anyway, this is a great movie. Buy it today.
4.0 out of 5 stars Weak Plot, Awesome Fighting Scenes!,
Although silent goddess Clara Bow headlines the cast, I was surprised how limited her role in this movie was. The plot she is tied to is very weak and I don't think the conclusion helps it too much (Clara's character leaving the war and her love interest changing his affections so effortlessly once he returned home). Her sexy image is really toned down as well. One scene has her luring her drunken boyfriend (a very funny drunken boyfriend) from a Paris night club in a skimpy number. The dress didn't fit the character's girl-next-door image at all.
The real storyline is between pals Jack Powell and David Armstrong (played expertly by Buddy Rogers and Richard Arlen). Anyone interested in the First World War will find this film a real treat! The training scenes I found particularly interesting. Then there are the many aerial fighting scenes. They are so well done they look like documentary footage. Scenes shot from the pilot's point of view put the viewer right into the action! Scenes like these make the "two guys in love with the same girl" plot seem so insignificant.
You also get two brief but excellent performances by a very young Gary Cooper and an aged Henry B. Walthall from Birth of A Nation fame. Although only 49 in this film, Walthall does an amazing job portraying a crippled old man grieving the departure of his son.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Wings [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)