In these last couple of days before the Academy Awards it is an ideal time to look back at the history of the most prestigious awards show in the film industry. The very first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture was Wings directed by William A. Wellman (A Star is Born – 1937, The Public Enemy). The blu-ray version of this historic film has been restored and a newly recorded soundtrack that was based on the invisible score has been recorded then added in.
Two young men, Jack Powell (Charles Rogers – My Best Girl) and David Armstrong (Richard Arlen – The Virginian), fall in love with the same girl, Mary Preston (Clara Bow – It, Parisian Lover). Soon after World War I begins and the United States joins. Jack and David both join the Air Force and become pilots. During the war the two become friends, but their love for Mary threatens the friendship.
In order to be close to Jack, Mary joins the Women’s Motor Corp. She is upset that he doesn’t seem to notice him. Then a tragedy occurs.
This World War I epic examines war and its devastating effects. Wellman and those involved with the making of the film went above and beyond what had been previously done in order to make this a realistic experience for the viewer. For instance, this film was the first one that had its stars actually go up in real planes. The aerial battle scenes are some of the most realistic every filmed. On top of that a garrison of troops from San Antonio, Texas participated.
When it was released in 1927 the film was a huge hit and it’s original run lasted for over a year in New York City. Part of this was due to the fact that the biggest screen star of the day, Clara Bow, starred in the picture. She gives an energetic and good performance.
The story is a little bit melodramatic and not anything that you haven’t seen before, but it is never too much. It is a timeless story of love and loss. While watching it your mind will wander to the fact that a lot of garbage comes out of Hollywood today. The quality of the good parts of the film makes you able to overlook the holes in the story. Today’s films seem to have forgotten that is content over substance.
-Wings: Grandeur in the Sky
-Restoring the Power and Beauty of Wings