Best Picture Reviews: Wings


One of the things I’ll be doing on this site is reviewing the movies that have won the Oscar for Best Picture. I will try my best to see all of them, but I can’t make any promises. Let’s start with the very first film to join this big list- ‘Wings’.

‘Wings’ is the first (and as I write this, only) silent film to ever win Best Picture.  When sound films came in 1930, they became all the rage and silent films were left in the dust, and unfortunately some stars couldn’t make the transition so well, like this film’s star Clara Bow. But enough about that, let’s get on with the review.

Basically, Jack and David are both in love with Sylvia, but Jack doesn’t realize that this other girl named Mary is in love with him. Sylvia prefers David, but Jack thinks otherwise and sees him and Mary as just friends. As you can tell, It’s a pretty complicated love parallelogram. Even though Jack and David both fight over Silvia, they eventually go to war, where they bond. Now these scenes are the best because they are instructed by these two sargeants, and one of them is a buffoon who leads to a lot of slapstick. And slapstick in a silent film is always hilarious.

Meanwhile, Mary becomes an ambulance driver in the war and runs into Jack, but he doesn’t recognize her because he’s as drunk as Dumbo. This scene is great because he sees bubbles everywhere, and you can tell that someone is drawing on the film with a white colored pencil to make the bubbles. However, there are some other effects that you CAN’T tell how it was done. Nowadays every special effect is obviously computer-based, but knowing that they didn’t have computers in 1927, my jaw was on the floor and I kept asking myself ‘How did they do that?’

Even though the movie was incredible for its time, there are a few flaws. Like I said, the story can get kind of confusing, and being a silent film, the actors can be a bit over the top sometimes. But overall, ‘Wings’ is a masterpiece that almost seems to take you back in time. The directing is clever, and the art direction is beautiful. I give it four stars out of five.

****

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