Film Review: Wings (1927)
Occasion: A night at the Astor Theatre
Film technique, technology and trends might have changed – but the excitement which Wings aroused in its audiences in 1927 remains until this day.
Wings is a story about friendship, love and flying in World War I. Billed at the time as a Clara Bow film, the narrative really centres around the unbreakable friendship between Jack (Rogers) and David (Arlen), two rivals for the same girl, who train to become fighter pilots and are deployed together to fight the enemy.
Aside from breaking new ground in terms of cinematic achievement, the film was also incredibly daring for its time. But even a little nudity, some incredibly tender moments between the male heroes and a gory death or two, don’t distract from the tension of the dogfights performed in the skies above the Allies’ trenches.
This silent film is not to be underestimated: It easily holds its own with action films of today, delivering tension, humour and thrills. If you have a chance to see it on the big screen – make sure you do.
Directed by Willhelm A. Wellman
Starring Clara Bow, Charles “Buddy” Rogers, Richard Arlen and Gary Cooper.
Won Most Outstanding Picture (now Best Picture) at the first Academy Awards in 1929
Restored in 2012