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    Plot 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 grantss

    Clara Bow ... Mary Preston
    Charles 'Buddy' Rogers ... Jack Powell (as Charles Rogers)
    Richard Arlen ... David Armstrong
    Jobyna Ralston ... Sylvia Lewis
    El Brendel ... Herman Schwimpf
    Richard Tucker ... Air Commander
    Gary Cooper ... Cadet White
    Gunboat Smith ... The Sergeant
    Henry B. Walthall ... David's Father
    Roscoe Karns ... Lt. Cameron
    Julia Swayne Gordon ... David's Mother
    Arlette Marchal ... Celeste

    William A. Wellman
    Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast ... (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    John Monk Saunders ... (story)
    Hope Loring ... (screenplay) and
    Louis D. Lighton ... (screenplay)
    Julian Johnson ... (titles)
    Byron Morgan ... (story ideas) (uncredited)

    B.P. Schulberg ... associate producer
    Lucien Hubbard ... producer (uncredited)

    J.S. Zamecnik ... (uncredited)

    Harry Perry ... (photographed by)

    Was lost for decades until a copy was discovered languishing in the
    Cinematheque Francaise film archive in Paris, France.

    The only silent movie to win the Oscar for Best Picture (then called "Best Production"),
    until The Artist (2011) in 2012.

    Wings was the very first winner of the category of Best Picture,
    then called "Best Production," at the 1st Annual Academy Awards
    held at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, CA on May 16, 1929.
    The ceremony lasted all of five minutes and was broadcast on
    local Los Angeles radio station KHJ 930 AM.

    Gary Cooper's two-minute cameo effectively made him a star
    and it also marked the beginning of his affair with Clara Bow.

    Chocolate syrup was used as blood in the film.

    According to biographer David Stenn, Clara Bow did not like her military uniform,
    as it did not show off her figure.
    She kept fighting with the costumers to let her wear a tight belt and show off her curves.

    This film contains the first on-screen kiss between two men.

    This film played in theaters for sixty-three weeks upon initial release.
    One of the reasons why it was such a resounding success
    was that the public had become obsessed with aviation
    following Charles Lindbergh's successful trans-Atlantic flight.

    Much of the film was based on the experiences of director William A. Wellman
    as a combat pilot during World War I. While stationed in France,
    he joined the French Foreign Legion's Lafayette Flying Corps, N.87,
    les Chats Noir (Black Cat Group).

    The plane he flew was a Nieuport 24 fighter, which he named "Celia" after his mother.
    He was credited with three recorded "kills" of enemy aircraft, plus five probable kills.
    Wellman was shot down in combat and survived the crash,
    but walked with a limp for the rest of his life.
    He received the Croix du Guerre for his service.

    After the war, he returned home and joined the US Army Air Corps for two years,
    where he taught combat tactics to new pilots at Rockwell Field in San Diego.

    This was one of the few films to win the Oscar for Best Picture
    without also being nominated for Best Director.

    When a preview was shown in San Antonio, Texas in the spring of 1927,
    the film was fourteen reels long.
    It was cut down to thirteen for final theatrical release.

    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.

    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.

    Paramount Pictures was keen to exploit the presence and reputation of Clara Bow
    by inserting a scene that required her to be topless.
    Although she was mainly seen from the back, she was briefly glimpsed
    by the camera from the front.

    The only movie to win an Academy Award for Engineering Effects.

    Director William A. Wellman appeared in the film, in what today could be called a
    "cameo" (although he does "speak").
    During the final battle scene, Wellman, portraying a doughboy, is shot and exclaims,
    "Atta boy! Them buzzards are some good after all!"

    The Battle of St. Mihiel was meticulously staged, with William A. Wellman
    spending ten days choreographing and rehearsing sixty planes and 3,500 extras,
    who were consisted exclusively of members of the National Guard.

    As a former pilot, director William A. Wellman knew how vital
    it was to have clouds for the dogfights, but the skies over Texas
    were clear for the first four weeks of production so no aerial scenes had been shot.
    When executives at Paramount Pictures questioned him about the delay,
    he explained that without clouds the audience would get no sense of
    speed or even movement--clouds gave audiences a sense of perspective,
    speed and direction, and without them planes flying around in a clear sky
    would just look like a swarm of flies.

    The U.S. military cooperated heavily in the making of this film,
    providing thousands of soldiers, millions of dollars worth of equipment,
    and virtually all of the pursuit planes the army had at the time.

    Director William A. Wellman's wife, Margery Chapin, and daughter,
    Gloria Wellman, played the peasant mother and daughter whose house
    gets crashed into toward the end of the film.

    The only movie to ever win an Academy Award for Best Production.
    In the Oscars' first year of existence, two "Best Picture"-type awards were given:
    This film was awarded Best Production and Sunrise (1927)
    was awarded Best Artistic Quality of Production.
    Both awards were discontinued the following year and replaced by the modern Best Picture Oscar;
    Best Production is usually thought of as that award's equivalent.

    A scene of an aerial raid on a German troop train was filmed but not used.
    It later turned up as part of The Legion of the Condemned (1928).

    While many believe that this was the first movie to incorporate product placement
    (Hershey's Chocolate Bar), it is not true.
    The earliest known occurrence
    of product placement in a film was that of Red Crown gasoline in the short film The Garage (1920).

    Richard Arlen, whose character is a fighter pilot, had actually been a pilot
    with the Royal Canadian Flying Corps in World War I (though he never saw combat).

    Director William A. Wellman had his cinematographer Harry Perry
    lash his cameras to the stunt planes to capture the vertiginous feelings of being in dogfights.

    Wings contains some of the earliest footage of onscreen nudity (mostly male).

    Richard Arlen and Jobyna Ralston met on the set and were married during production. Their marriage lasted until 1946.
    11 of 12 found this interesting | Share this
    Producer Lucien Hubbard hired William A. Wellman because of his WWI aviator experience.
    Richard Arlen and writer John Monk Saunders had also served as pilots during the war and acted as military advisers on the film, too.
    11 of 12 found this interesting | Share this
    Clara Bow wasn't happy with appearing in the film, as she knew her part was merely decorative.
    13 of 15 found this interesting | Share this
    Soldiers from the army's 2nd Infantry Division, as well as members if the
    Texas National Guard, stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas, were used as extras.
    The same division was used for The Rough Riders(1927), a film directed by Victor Fleming.

    The entire score was written, composed, and recorded using a Wurlitzer Pipe Organ.

    In 1925 and 1926, Byron Morgan sent ideas for a story about air service in World War I
    to Famous Players Lasky Corporation.
    The company agreed when he brought this to their attention,
    and settled with him for $3750 which included his waiving claims to all rights to his material.

    As of 2016, this is the first of eleven movies to win the
    Academy Award for Best Picture without receiving a single acting nomination.
    The other ten, in order, are All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), Grand Hotel (1932),
    An American in Paris (1951), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), Around the World in Eighty Days (1956),
    Gigi (1958), The Last Emperor (1987), Braveheart (1995), The Lord of the Rings:
    The Return of the King (2003), and Slumdog Millionaire (2008).
    6 of 7 found this interesting | Share this
    When Wings was revived in 1981 at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City,
    Carmine Coppola conducted a full symphony orchestra with synchronized special effects.

    Wings was the opening film of the 17th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival in 2012.
    9 of 13 found this interesting | Share this
    Wings debuted as a road show film (meaning that it shown on a city-by-city basis)
    on August 1, 1927; the film went into general release
    17 months and 4 days later on January 5, 1929 (Clara Bow's sound film debut,
    The Wild Party, went into production three days before on January 2, 1929),
    not the April 1928 release date that was erroneously posted on this site.

    The "German" fighters in the film are actually Curtiss P-1 "Hawks".

    The French General does kiss the four heroes - one French, two American and one British
    - on both cheeks. But he also salutes all of them with his LEFT hand.
    5 of 9 found this interesting | Share this
    One of two Oscar winners for Best Picture whose title has only one syllable
    (the other is Crash (2004).

    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.

    When Schwimpf is punched and falls down, he drops his coat on the ground,
    but is on the table in a following shot.

    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.

    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.

    At 1:27:27, the position of David holding the letter changes between shots.

    Errors in geography
    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.

    Revealing mistakes
    When David says goodbye to his stiff and formal parents and is then greeted
    affectionately by his dog, as he pets the dog's head, a "treat"
    can be seen hidden in his hand to make the dogs affectionate.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Bexar County, Texas, USA
    Camp Bullis - Harry Wurzbach Rd, San Antonio, Texas, USA
    Camp Stanley, San Antonio, Texas, USA (battle of St. Mihiel)
    Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, USA
    San Antonio, Texas, USA
    Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona, USA
    (Charles Lindbergh dedicates Davis Monthan Field: September 23, 1927)
    Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas, USA (aerial sequences

    Watch the Movie



    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 5 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Wings is a 1927 American silent war film set during the First World War
    produced by Lucien Hubbard, directed by William A. Wellman and released by Paramount Pictures.
    It stars Clara Bow, Charles "Buddy" Rogers, and Richard Arlen, and Gary Cooper
    appears in a role which helped launch his career in Hollywood.

    The film, a romantic action-war picture, was rewritten by scriptwriters
    Hope Loring and Louis D. Lighton from a story by John Monk Saunders
    to accommodate Bow, Paramount's biggest star at the time.
    Wellman was hired as he was the only director in Hollywood at the time who had World War I
    combat pilot experience, although Richard Arlen and John Monk Saunders
    had also served in the war as military aviators.

    The film was shot on location on a budget of $2 million at Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas
    between September 7, 1926 and April 7, 1927.
    Hundreds of extras and some 300 pilots were involved in the filming,
    including pilots and planes of the United States Army Air Corps which were brought
    in for the filming and to provide assistance and supervision.
    Wellman extensively rehearsed the scenes for the Battle of Saint-Mihiel
    over ten days with some 3500 infantrymen on a battlefield made for the production on location.
    Although the cast and crew had much spare time during the filming because of weather delays,
    shooting conditions were intense, and Wellman frequently conflicted
    with the military officers brought in to supervise the picture.

    Acclaimed for its technical prowess and realism upon release,
    the film became the yardstick against which future aviation films were measured,
    mainly because of its realistic air-combat sequences.

    It went on to win the first Academy Award for Best Picture
    at the first annual Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences award ceremony in 1929,
    the only fully silent film to do so.
    It also won the Academy Award for Best Engineering Effects (Roy Pomeroy).
    Wings was one of the first to show two men kissing
    (in a fraternal moment between Rogers and Arlen during the deathbed finale),
    and also one of the first widely released films to show nudity.

    In 1997, Wings was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry
    by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant",
    and the film was re-released to Cinemark theaters to coincide with the 85th Anniversary
    for a limited run in May 2012. The Academy Film Archive preserved Wings in 2002.

    Wings was the only silent film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture.

    User Review

    A Stunning Achievement
    21 October 2007 | by drednm (United States)
    Famous of course for winning the first Oscar for best film, WINGS is also one hell of a good film. Spectacular aerial photography highlights the terrific performances of the three leads: Clara Bow, Buddy Rogers, and Richard Arlen. Director William Wellman creates a solid and moving anti-war statement as he shows us the brutality and stupidity of war, its waste of youth, and its power to destroy the lives of all involved.

    The film starts with star-crossed lovers in a small town in America. Bow loves Rogers but he loves Jobyna Ralston. Ralston loves Arlen and he loves her but through a mistake, Arlen thinks she loves Rogers. Then the boys go off to war. The outgoing Rogers thinks the war will be an adventure; the shy Arlen goes off, leaving his devastated parents who cannot express their emotions. Bow soon goes off to be an ambulance driver. Ralston stays homes and waits.

    The story follows the rivalry and growing friendship of the boys as they head for war. The story ends in yet another bitter mistake. The viewer is as emotionally drained by the end of this film as the parents were at the beginning.

    El Brendel provides some comedy relief. Roscoe Karns has a small part. Henry B. Walthall and Julia Swayne Gordon are the parents. And Gary Cooper has one brief scene with Rogers and Arlen. The scene in which he turns and flashes that famous smile as he exits the tent supposedly made him a star.

    Clara Bow is solid as the spirited home-town girl who chases Rogers to no avail. She's gorgeous here and she is even moreso in the Paris scene where the matron lets her borrow a snappy and dazzling dress. Few women in film history have been able to be so sexually charismatic as Clara Bow. She's also a good actress.

    Richard Arlen and Buddy Rogers give their best performances here. Each takes turns as the center of attention as they become men during the grueling war. Their flight scenes are incredibly well done. Arlen's flight scene as he races toward the American lines is amazing.

    Jobyna Ralston has a rare memorable film not working with Harold Lloyd. And Henry B. Walthall is quietly grand as the crippled father.

    Wellman's direction and the camera work of Harry Perry are beyond perfection. The aerial battles are breathtaking as are the scenes where they blow up the German blimps. There's also one astounding scene in the beginning of the film where Ralston and Arlen are in a swing. The camera is mounted in a stationary position in front of the actors so we see the scene as though we are in the swing with them. Then suddenly in the background we see Rogers in his jalopy pulling up in the street. The swing stops and Ralston gets out and runs to Rogers (in the background) while we see the close-up of Arlen as he twists in the swing seat and turns to watch them. It's an amazing scene and all one shot.

    This film is a must see.

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 2 times, last by ethanedwards ().