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With the thousands of extras battling on the ground, dozens of airplanes flying around in the sky and hundreds of explosions going off everywhere, only two injuries on the entire picture were incurred. One was by veteran stunt pilot Dick Grace. A plane he was crashing was supposed to completely turn over, but it only turned partly over. Instead of being thrown clear of the plane, which was the plan, Grace was hurled against part of the fuselage and broke his neck. He returned to the company after six weeks in the hospital. The other injury was to one of the army pilots helping out on the shoot. Unfortunately, he was killed, and director William A. Wellman feared it would shut down production, but the army held the pilot, not the director, responsible. See more »
The film is set during the years 1917-1918. However, most of the female civilian clothes and hairstyles are contemporary with the late 1920s, particularly the clothes worn by Clara Bow in the home sequences and in the Follies Bergere sequence. Bow's and almost all the other female characters have bobbed hair, common in 1927 but almost non-existent during World War One. See more »
For a feeling of what the silents were really like, look for the version of this film with Gaylord Carter performing the score on a Wurlitzer Theater Organ. Carter recorded this version in the 1980's when he was in his 80's. Amazing performance - basically 120 minutes of live, somewhat improvised music with establihed themes for each character. Incidental music was improvised live combining themes from the various characters.
Carter was one of the last musicians that performed during the silent era. Very few musicians understand how difficult this art form was, and Gaylor was one of the best. Each showing of the film was an original, never before heard version due to the improvisational nature of the music. The stamina required to play live music, on 3, 4 or even 5 keyboards with a pedal board and dozens of stops, thousands of pipes for over two hours cannot be overstated. Especially when one of these performers were expected to do so 3 or more times a day!
Orchestras are all well and good, but few theaters could afford them - Wurlitzer (and a few other companies) sold 40,000 instruments to theaters world wide during the 20's, and chances are, 90% of screenings of this film were accompanied by a theater organ.
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