I’ve been watching movies since I can remember. If memory serves correctly, I’ve seen three silent films in my life—the Phantom of the Opera (1925), The Artist (2011), and now Wings.
Wings is the first Best Picture winner in history, taking home the Oscar in 1928. It remains the only silent film (to date) to win the award. The Artist is also a silent film but ends with dialogue between the main characters, so I am not counting it towards my previous comment.
I was worried I wouldn’t like Wings because I thought the story may be hard to follow. Instead, I was quite impressed with the story, the acting, and the production. The music is the best part of the movie and plays to every scene and every emotion. I can’t imagine what it took to produce music for a 144 minutes movie, but I applaud their efforts.
The story follows two men who enlist in the Air Force during World War I. Jack Powell (Charles Rogers) and David Armstrong (Richard Arien) love the same girl, although she only loves David. Jack has no clue and spends the entire movie pinning to get back to her. Meanwhile, his best friend Mary (Clara Bow) enlists and ends up in Europe to be close to Jack because she’s in love with him.
The pair are initially rivals and then become best friends. It was a great aspect of the story that I could get behind and support. Their character development was a major part of the story because, in the skies, they were better together than apart.
I really enjoyed the movie from start to finish and found the story very easy to follow. It was fun to watch everyone talk, and then the dialogue cards would pop up to tell me what I already knew. I could pace the story and figure out what was going on as it unfolded. It was also easy to predict the ending because love usually conquers all.
The only complaint I have about the film is the entire sequence that Jack is on leave and drinking the night away. The drunker he gets, the more bubbles begin to appear and distract him. He’s so out of it that when Mary shows up, he brushes her off like he doesn’t know her. Then when she rescues him, their nice evening is ruined by Jack’s pursuit of these silly bubbles. I thought this was ridiculous and didn’t need to be included. I understand it may have been entertaining in a rather serious film, but it didn’t click for me.
If you have never seen Wings, I will admit that it is not bad and something you shouldn’t avoid. I love history and can appreciate this film’s place in it. Wings is a one-of-a-kind adventure that will keep you entertained and on the edge of your seat. I can safely say that I didn’t have a whole lot of expectations, and it blew what little ones I had away. 8/10