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Wings

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Overview

Wings, the first feature film to win an Academy Award, tends to disappoint a little when seen today. Too much time is afforded the wheezy old plotline about two World War I aviators Buddy Rogers, Richard Arlen in love with the same woman Jobyna Ralston, while the comedy relief of El Brendel is decidedly not to everyone's taste. But during the aerial "dogfight" sequences, the film is something else again: a grand-scale spectacular, the likes of which has never been duplicated, not even by more expensive efforts ...
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Overview

Wings, the first feature film to win an Academy Award, tends to disappoint a little when seen today. Too much time is afforded the wheezy old plotline about two World War I aviators Buddy Rogers, Richard Arlen in love with the same woman Jobyna Ralston, while the comedy relief of El Brendel is decidedly not to everyone's taste. But during the aerial "dogfight" sequences, the film is something else again: a grand-scale spectacular, the likes of which has never been duplicated, not even by more expensive efforts like Hell's Angels 1930 and The Blue Max 1965. Twenty-eight-year-old director William Wellman, himself a wartime aviator, was fortunate enough to have the full cooperation of the US War department at his disposal even though his legendary temper nearly lost him that cooperation on more than one occasion! Brilliantly handled though the aerial scenes may be, they are matched by the Earthbound combat sequences, including the now-famous shot of a long trench caving in on hundreds of unfortunate doughboys. The storyline is as follows: Jack Powell Rogers and David Armstrong $Powell hate each other during basic training, grow to like each other, and fall out again while competing for the affections of Sylvia Lewis Ralston. Mary Preston Clara Bow sacrifices her own nursing career to save a drunken Powell from disgrace, Powell goes on a rampage when he believes his pal Armstrong has been killed, inadvertently shoots down Armstrong while decimating the German air corps, and is finally reunited with the nurse. Wrapped up in nurse's garb throughout most of the film, the ebullient Clara Bow is permitted a sequence in which, disguised as a Parisian floozie while trying to rescue a revelling Rogers, she displays a great deal of epidermis. One of the film's chief claims to fame is its "introduction" of Gary Cooper who'd actually been in films since the early 1920s, in a brief but crucial role as veteran flyer with a cheerily fatalistic attitude. When originally released, Wings included a sequence lensed in the wide-screen "Magnascope" process; even when seen "flat," however, the film contains some of the best flying sequences ever captured on celluloid.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
Wings is the 1927 equivalent of Top Gun, with marvelous air combat scenes and just enough plot to keep the film moving at other times. While the film stands out primarily because of its production values, there's still room for strong performances by Buddy Rogers and Clara Bow and a small but important appearance by Gary Cooper. On the downside, there's the not-so-comic relief of El Brendel, whose contributions occupy far too much of the film's 139 minutes. When it came time for the first Oscars to be awarded, the committee selecting the winners struggled with whether to honor a film for production values or for artistic merit. They did both, giving a Best Production Oscar to Wings and a Best Artistic Quality Oscar to Sunrise.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/1/2013
  • UPC: 883929301201
  • Original Release: 1927
  • Source: Paramount Catalog
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 31,885

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Clara Bow Mary Preston
Charles "Buddy" Rogers John "Jack" Powell
Richard Arlen David Armstrong
Jobyna Ralston Sylvia Lewis
Gary Cooper Cadet White
El Brendel Patrick O'Brien
Arlette Marchal Celeste
Richard Tucker Air Commander
"Gunboat" Smith Sergeant
Julia Swayne Gordon David's mother
George Irving Mr. Powell
Hedda Hopper Mrs. Powell
Charles Barton Doughboy Hit by Ambulance
Carl von Hartmann German Officer
Gloria Wellman Peasant Child
Margery Chapin Wellman Peasant Woman
William Wellman A Doughboy
Henry B. Walthall David's father
Frank Tomick
Nigel de Brulier Peasant
Dick Grace Aviator
Roscoe Karns Lt. Cameron
James Pierce M.P.
Rod Rogers Aviator
Thomas Carrigan
Dorothy Wellman
Technical Credits
William Wellman Director
Bert Baldridge Cinematographer
Dick Grace Stunts
Carl von Hartmann Special Effects
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Lucien Hubbard Editor, Producer
Louis D. Lighton Screenwriter
Hope Loring Screenwriter
Ballard MacDonald Songwriter
Norman Z. McLeod Asst. Director
Harry Perry Cinematographer
B.P. Schulberg Associate Producer
E. Lloyd Sheldon Editor
E. Burton Steene Cinematographer
L. Guy Wilky Cinematographer
Alfred Williams Cinematographer
J.S. Zamecnik Score Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 26, 2012

    Both touching and exciting

    I found the movie to really show the comaraderie of the men in the Army Air Force and how much they cared about each other. It gave me a new perpective of military service. I also enjoyed the dogfights and was amazed at the technical aspect of it since this movie was made in the '20s.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2003

    Corrections on review above (below?)

    Too long, OK, I agree. But as distracted as you may have been, you couldn't have missed the fact that it is not Clara Bow that Rogers and Arlen fight about, but the supposedly prettier 'girl from out of town', played by Jobyna Ralston. It is only later in the movie that Rogers realises that his cute neighborgirl is indeed much more fun - and he falls for her as she did for him. Happy end.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews