Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wings (1927)

Two young men, one rich, one middle class, who are in love with the same woman, become fighter pilots in World War I. [imdb]

Nominated for 2 Oscars:
Best Picture, Production (WINNER)
Best Effect, Engineering Effects (WINNER)
***This film has the distinction of being the first film to win the Oscar for Best Picture (in 1929); it's also the only silent film to ever win in this category. By mentioning it here, I'm announcing my intention to see all the Best Picture winners, mainly in chronological order, though exceptions will happen. Even if I've seen a certain BP winner already, I'll watch it again if I hadn't profiled it already here on the blog.
...And getting back to Wings: I was fooled by the fact that this was a silent film and I'm not that much of a fan. But don't make the same mistake I did: despite the shaky, naive beginning, this is an excellent war film. I'm telling you: I was shocked by the incredible camera work (!!!) and the visual effects are stunning! It took me by surprise. And I didn't expect the direction to be so cohesive; especially knowing that 27 years later, William Wellman also directed the shitty High and the Mighty.
The not so good part about this film: everything NOT connected to the war scenes. :) This is where it gets dated. But I've forgiven most of it; come on, it's been 82 years! The two men give decent performances and Clara Bow is gorgeous, sweet and touching! (it's funny how Clara, being the big star of those days, gets the top billing, even if she's obviously a supporting character). I would love to talk about the tragic events happening 15 minutes before the film's over, but I don't want to spoil it in case somebody's reading this; it was unexpectedly emotional, especially while it happens.
My rating for the film: 8/10. It's hard to rate a silent film, but I think 8 is right. I respect it, admire it, but don't love it. It's a must see, especially for the 2nd half. Way to start, Oscar! (no irony intended).