Film Review and Rating / Synopsis

(Please note the films reviewed on this site contain plot summaries and may contain SPOILERS.)
  • Wings (1927) - Plot Summary - Clara Bow plays Mary Preston, small-town girl who loves the boy-next-door Jack Powell (Buddy Rogers) who loves city girl Sylvia (Jobyna Ralston) who loves rich boy David Armstrong (Richard Arlen) who loves Sylvia back. WWI - the guys enlist as flyboys and soon our story takes us from ground school (where our two fellows, who aren't getting along 'cause they both love Sylvia, "bond" during boxing practice) - to overseas dawn patrol where their first flight takes them into battle against a German ace and his "flying circus" - to fighting a Gotha. Mary signs up too - and ends up overseas herself driving a supply truck. When the guys are given leave and end up in Paris at the Folies Bergere, word is sent that the "Big Battle" is coming and all leaves are cancelled. Mary tries to get Jack out of the Folies (and out of the arms of a loose Folies girl) but he is drunk on champagne (and instead of "pink elephants" all Jack sees are bubbles flying out of everything!). With the help of the bathroom attendant, Mary borrows a dress from the dancers wardrobe and seduces her cutie-pie into a room (where he promptly passes out). She is caught undressed in the room (just changing back into her uniform, but misunderstood!), and is sent home for good. Lots of flying action to come.

    Review - This classic aviation epic from the silent era was the first film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. While there are a bit too many flying battle scenes in this for my personal taste (seems like at least half the movie is midair dogfight scenes), this is still a great movie and has lots of neat photography. Love an early scene with Sylvia and David on a swing, the scene with the black shadow of a plane going over the landscape below, and the neat tracking shot through the tables of people at the Folies Bergere ending at the drunken table of Jack, David, and friends. A young Gary Cooper appears in a brief scene as White, a veteran flyboy who shares Jack and David's overseas quarters. The organ score on the copy I saw of this was done by Gaylord Carter and is quite good. (NOTE: since writing this review, the restoration of this film has been released on Blu-ray/DVD featuring another score as well as the Gaylord score, I believe. Will update this write-up when I'm able to see this version.) Rating - * 10/10 stars *

    Director: William A. Wellman
    Film Genre: Action / War Drama / Romance
    Film Runtime: 144 minutes

Links / Resources

film review Wings directed by William A. Wellman


10 = Absolutely Fabulous/Superb
9 = Really Good/Excellent
8 = Good
7 = Fairly Good/Decent
6 = So-so, some flaws
5 = Mediocre
4 = Not that good, many flaws
3 = Poor
2 = Very Poor/Stinker
1 = One of the worst BOMBS ever filmed

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