ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Second Look: Wings (1927)

Updated on May 30, 2016
Film Frenzy profile image

Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.

Background

In 1927, William A. Wellman released Wings, which starred Clara Bow, Charles Rogers, Richard Arlen, Gary Cooper, Jobyna Ralston, El Brendel, Richard Tucker, Gunboat Smith, Roscoe Karns, Henry B. Walthall, Julia Swayne Gordon, Arlette Marchal, Hedda Hopper, and George Irving. The film had an unknown box office gross and was a once lost film. It won the first Academy Award for Best Picture, Production and Best Engineering Effects, the Newport Beach Film Festival Special Recognition Award, and Sasha Gordon won the Avignon/New York Film Festival Special Roger Award for Artistic Accomplishment. It was also nominated for the International Film Music Critics Award for Best Archival Re-Recording of an Existing Score.

Synopsis

Jack and David are in love with a girl named Sylvia, who prefers the latter, but is too kindhearted to turn down the former’s affection when he tells her about his feelings. However their lives are disrupted by World War I and the two men become fighter pilots while Mary joins the war effort by becoming an ambulance driver. During the war, Jack becomes a well-known ace nicknamed “The Shooting Star” and David is shot down and stranded behind enemy lines.

Review

Looking back through the annals of time, Wings comes off these days as an average and decent film. However, it seems to be a very fascinating film when keeping in mind the time period in which the film was released.

The story itself is pretty good, albeit a little predictable at various points. Jack and David go from bitter rivals after the same woman to best friends when they’re billeted together following their enlistment. That’s where the story really cements itself as average with nearly everything becoming more and more predictable, though it may not have been seen that way in the late 1920s. The two have a good friendly rivalry and Jack lets the success and fame of being an ace pilot get to him. At the same time, David is still a good pilot but he’s downed behind enemy lines and it’s at that point that it becomes pretty clear that he’s not only going to find an enemy plane to use for an escape, but that it’s going to get shot down and he’s not going to make it back. Having Jack shoot David down may have been a change of pace at the time and it sure is interesting watching it in this time period, even if it is an often-used trope. What makes it good is that not only does David forgive him, realizing the situation wasn’t because of Mary but because of an honest mistake, but so do David’s parents who state that the war is what was responsible for David’s death.

Within all this, there is a subplot revolving around Mary becoming an ambulance driver. The two stories intersect when she and Jack are on leave in Paris and the latter gets really drunk, causing the former to have to take care of him. The whole thing ends up with her discharged and sent back to the states. It’s a really entertaining subplot that does provide some conflict between Jack and Mary that isn’t resolved until he comes home. What’s more is that it’s more interesting than some parts of the main plot.

While the story itself is average, what really makes the film is how it presents the scenes centering on flight and dogfights. This was in an age when special effects were in their infancy, with cameras only having just started moving about 12 years prior, and decades before the arrival of digital effects. Despite all that, the close-up shots in the planes are well executed thanks to the engineering of a special airborne camera. It all makes it so the Special Engineering Effects Award awarded to uncredited engineering effects artist Roy Pomeroy was very much deserved.

However, the biggest problem with the film is its pacing as it could have stood to have been shortened by about half an hour to 45 minutes. That could have been executed by cutting some of the scenes down, as there are quite a few that go on for far too long, and cutting a few altogether. Where it could really have been trimmed was Mary's subplot because while it may have been interesting, there are some parts of it where it feels that it's providing some unnecessary padding.

Still though, was a good film to earn the first Best Picture. it's just that not of it aged well.

3 stars for Wings (1927)

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinion

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)