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
This was one of the few films to win the Oscar for Best Picture without also being nominated for Best Director. See more »
Mary paints the shooting star on only one side of the car. But a shot or two later of the car from a different angle, where they are standing in front of the car, reveals enough information to show that the shooting star is now painted on both sides of the car. See more »
[to Mary, caught changing her clothes in a room with passed out Jack]
Put your clothes on! You can't get away with this sort of thing in the A. E. F. It's back home for you, sister.
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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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