19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A spectacular classic,
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This review is from: Wings (1927) - Paramount Region Free Blu-ray [Import] (Blu-ray)
I too first saw this in Channel 4's silent season in the 80s and was bowled over by it. It's a sprawling epic about pilots in the First World War and has some of the most spectacular aerial sequences ever put on film. Spectacular because everything was done for real. The story revolves around an affecting love triangle although the dynamics may not be quite what they appear and some modern theorists have suggested a revised interpretation.
I've been waiting a long time for it to become available on disc and it doesn't disappoint in any way. The restoration and transfer are superb, even restoring some of the original hand-tinting (but done by a computer's hand these days). Don't expect a modern pin-sharp image even on blu-ray because 20s film stock was very grainy and the fashion of the time was for a softish glowing image. However once you get past all the initial gloopy sentimentality and the training camp slapstick (which is very broad to modern eyes) and everyone ships off to France the story notches up a few gears. The action sequences are spectacular and the three leads are very appealing. The ending is heartbreaking.
The blu-ray includes several short extra pieces on the original production and restoration of the film, its scoring and an in-depth look at the aerial stunt work. The stunt pilots in the 20s were a daring bunch unhampered by modern health and safety regulations and some of the anecdotes are astonishing. There are two music tracks to choose from - a newly-recorded orchestral score taken from the original cues written for the cinema bands of the time and a pipe organ transcription(!). There are also added sound effects which some people have objected to but which would certainly have been part of the original viewing experience on its first release.
This is a great classic of early cinema and well deserves this release.