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December Film Reviews

Wings

On the firestick there's a section with all the best picture oscar winning films - 90% of which Anthony has never even seen! I told him he had to start right at the beginning so we watched Wings the other night. I've seen it before but it's still good, if way too long as most silent films were, let's be honest.

It follows the trials and tribulations of Jack Powell (Buddy Rogers), the boy next door who goes off to war buoyed by the belief city girl Sylvia loves him. In reality she prefers the rich David Armstrong (Richard Arlen), who ends up becoming good mates with Jack when they serve together in the Air Corps. David eventually dies in Jack's arms in a scene which is often described as the first male / male kiss in cinema. Don't believe it - it was happening at least as early as 1912. Later on he returns David's medal to his mother, along with the little childhood teddy bear he took with him for luck. It's a real tear jerker.

Wings 1927

Meanwhile Mary Preston (Clara Bow) has channeled her unrequited love for Jack into action, and joined the war effort as an ambulance driver. When she encounters her beloved and very inebriated Jack she gets him back to a hotel room and puts him to bed. But when she's changing out of her civvies and back into uniform two military police officers turn up and, assuming the worst of her, force her to resign and return to America.

She gets her man in the end, of course, and you're left feeling suitably uplifted. It deserved the oscar, not least for the sheer range in the film. There are action scenes in the skies, combined live action and animation in Jack's drunken stupor, comedy, tragedy, drama, and just about everything inbetween. If you haven't seen it, it's worth the watch - even if just for the curiosity value.

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