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
Wings was the opening film of the 17th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival in 2012. See more »
Mary paints the "shooting star" on the left side of Jack's car. Jack immediately drives off to pick up Sylvia. Jack and Sylvia drive past Mary. The "shooting star" is now on the right side of Jack's car. 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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This entertaining and occasionally impressive movie is still well worth seeing in spite of its flaws. The combat scenes alone make the rest of it worth watching, and Clara Bow gives a very good performance. She has plenty of energy as always, and here she makes her character especially sympathetic. But it has its weaknesses, too. The story is contrived and full of obvious holes, and except for Bow most of the acting is rather routine (Buddy Rogers is as likable as ever, but no more).
The highlights of "Wings" come in the battle scenes, and they are awfully impressive. Done without computers or other such advantages, they are exciting and are usually completely realistic. The aerial dogfight scenes are especially dazzling. This part of the movie is not shallow stuff, either, since it has a good balance between the thrilling and the horrifying. If the main story-line had been better, this could have worked very well as a classic film about the realities of war and its effects on the young persons who must carry the heaviest load in a war.
But unfortunately, it has the story that it has, which could easily have been better. It is far too heavy-handed, and is also riddled with unlikely coincidences, implausible developments, strange decisions by the characters, and many other such holes. If you can somehow look past all these problems, then it produces some moving and emotional moments, but such moments are too often undone by the contrived ways that they are set up. It's just the kind of mess that has often impressed the individuals who vote for well-known awards, but a movie with such strengths deserved to have a much better plot.
Nevertheless, it is still well worth watching for its strengths, and not just because it is the answer to some trivia questions. Just in case there are any modern movie fans who have accidentally wandered into the silents section of the database, please don't think that this is the best of what silent cinema has to offer, just because it won an arbitrary award. There are many silent film masterpieces that are vastly better than this. But it's good entertainment, and has some portions that were made with great skill.
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