A cavalcade of English life from New Year's Eve 1899 until 1933 seen through the eyes of well-to-do Londoners Jane and Robert Marryot. Amongst events touching their family are the Boer War,... See full summary »
Midshipman Roger Byam joins Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian aboard HMS Bounty for a voyage to Tahiti. Bligh proves to be a brutal tyrant and, after six pleasant months on Tahiti, ... See full summary »
Two young men from the same town but different social classes end up as fighter pilots in WW1. Jack Preston is a keen auto mechanic, building and modifying cars. David Armstrong comes from a wealthy family. They are both in love with the same woman, Sylvia. Her heart belongs to David but she doesn't let Jack know and plays along with his infatuation. Meanwhile, Jack's neighbour, Mary, is deeply in love with him but he just views her as a friend. WW1 interrupts the romantic entanglements as Jack and David enlist in the US Army Air Service (Air Service of the AEF at the time). They are initially bitter enemies, due to them both vying for Sylvia's affections. Over time, however, they become very good friends. They are both posted to the same fighter squadron in France, where being a fighter pilot means every day could easily be your last. Written by
In contrast to co-star Richard Arlen, Charles 'Buddy' Rogers did not know how to fly a plane when production began, but learned how to by the end of it. During filming, Rogers' flight instructor and sometime backup pilot was Lt. Hoyt Vandenberg (aka "Van"), an Army Air Corps pilot at California's March Field (Vandenberg later became a four-star general, commanding the 9th Air Force in World War II, and served as the US Air Force's first official chief of staff after the war, when the Air Force was made a separate branch of the military). For close-up scenes where Jack and David (and other characters) are flying, the actors are actually working the planes themselves. To shoot these scenes, a camera was strapped to the engine cowling. The actors had to get the plane up in the air, keep it up, fly it so that clouds or German fighter planes could be seen in the background, operate the (motorized) camera and land the plane-and act at the same time. During Rogers' early flights, Vandenberg would hide in the back seat of the plane and operate the controls while Rogers gave his performance. See more »
Jack and David shoot down a German bomber. The soldiers in the just-bombed village come running out and celebrate atop the bomber's wreckage, but by the time it was shot down, the bomber was a good many miles away from the village - too far away for the troops to just run out to its wreckage. See more »
Luck or no luck, when your time comes, you're going to get it. Now, I've got to go out and do a flock of figure eights before chow.
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I was fortunate to view this film at the Academy of Motion Pictures' Diamond celebration screening series for all the Best Picture winners last year. A newly restored print in pristine condition was beautifully paired with a live performance of the musical score by an eleven-piece ensemble. As a relative novice to silent era films I was struck by the acting, aerial stunt work, sophisticated camera work and great storytelling. As I was watching I couldn't help but think that this 1927 film has so much more to offer than many contemporary attempts at the war/action genre.
As the trend for releasing forgotten classics on DVD continues, I make a very loud plea to add Wings to the list. This masterful bit of film-making history deserves a much wider audience.
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