Starring: Clara Bow, Charles Rogers, Richard Arlen, Gary Cooper
Director: William Wellman
Summary: Two young men, one rich, one middle class, who are in love with the same woman, becomes fighter pilots in World War I
Other nominations: Engineering Effects*
-The main draw is clearly the the air combat sequences, which would be the benchmark in that area probably until WWII films came out. Director William Wellman was a combat pilot in WWI and was hired to direct Wings for that reason-no one else could have possibly done a better job filming the dogfight scenes.
-I hadn’t seen any of Clara Bow’s movies before, but it was immediately apparent why she became a star. She has a natural charisma, good looks, and is immediately likeable; pretty amazing she was only 22 at the time. Also for a 1927 hollywood film, the half-second of toplessness from her was pretty surprising even if it was pre-code.
-There’s some great cinematography here-not only the fighter plane scenes, but also the ground combat scenes as well as a couple of other neat sequences that are well done
-Acting in silent films can be spotty, and overall it’s not all that great (although Bow is entertaining enough). Very melodramatic and has not aged well.
-Apparently, this was the movie that kicked-off Gary Cooper’s career, which is funny because he’s in it for about 2 minutes, says that anyone can die at any time, and the literally 15 seconds after he walks off, dies which felt like something from a Final Destination movie.
-At 2 hours and 24 minutes, feels longer than it needs to be and the middle drops off a bit
-Clara Bow feels stapled on-they needed starpower for this big-budget war movie and wrote her part in after the first draft. Despite top billing, she’s only on-screen for about 25 minutes or so.
Up until The Artist (2012), Wings was the only silent film to win best picture. I have always been a fan of silent film, but for whatever reason had never gotten around to seeing Wings before; while I wouldn’t put it up there with the classics of silent film, it’s still a solid movie that served as an extremely impressive technical achievement at the time, even other parts of the movie haven’t held up as well.