Showing posts with label wings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wings. Show all posts

26 January 2014

Blu-ray Review - Wings (1927)

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Drama, War, Romance
BD/DVD Release Date:
27th January 2014 (UK)
Eureka! Distribution
William A. Wellman
Clara Bow, Charles 'Buddy' Rogers, Richard Arlen
Buy:WINGS (Masters of Cinema) (Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD)

William A. Wellman’s silent epic will forever be remembered as the winner of the first ever Academy Award for Best Picture. But this, in itself, can be seen as a bit of a misnomer. For 1927 had two Best Picture categories at the Academy Awards, one for Best Picture, Production, and the other for Best Picture, Unique and Artistic Production. Wings won for Production while the far superior Sunrise, a Song of Two Humans by F.W. Murnau won the award for Unique and Artistic Production, an award that to my ears, but not to those of the Oscar historians, sounds like the better award of the two.

But, to put the Academy Award nit-picking to one side, Wings winning of the Best Picture, Production award could not be more apt as the no expenses spared special effects and superb art direction are the films only saving grace. I say this because the story itself is over-simplistic, overly sentimental, and just the most tiresome type of straightforward, melodramatic Hollywood weepie type storytelling you could possibly imagine. To illustrate how straightforward the storyline is, I am now going to give away the films plot in full.

Mary lives next door to Jack, the boy she loves; she jovially helps him fix up his automobile. She paints a shooting star on the side and says, “D’you know what you can do when you see a shooting star? Well… you can kiss the girl you love.” “Maybe I will,” Jack responds. She purses her lips in anticipation. Jack, however, unaware of this, drives off in search of Sylvia, the gorgeous girl visiting from the big city. She is the one he loves. Unbeknownst to Jack, Sylvia loves another, the town’s rich boy, David. David loves her too. Then war breaks out. Both boys sign up for the air force. Jack visits Sylvia to say his goodbyes and mistakenly takes a keepsake locket meant for David. Then off they go to war.

Jack and David are both stationed at the same barracks. They don’t get along. Eventually a fight breaks out and by the end of it they are the best of friends. Jack still believes that Sylvia loves him. David, however, knows this not to be true but keeps it from his new best friend. Then off to France. They both see combat. Lots of combat. Then Mary makes an appearance in France. She finds Jack, drunk and in Paris on leave. He doesn’t recognise her. She is sent back home. Then comes the “Big Push” and the war nears its end. Jack and David have a fall out over Sylvia’s keepsake and head off into battle. Jack returns. David doesn’t. A distraught Jack rushes heedlessly into the next battle. He shoots down an enemy plane. Flying it was David, who had survived against all odds and escaped from behind enemy lines. He dies. Jack returns home.

Upon returning home Jack catches up with Mary. They sit together on the hood of the car they jovially fixed at the beginning of the film. A shooting star flies across the night’s sky. Jack turns to Mary and says, “Do you know what you can do when you see a shooting star?” Yes, she nods, “You can kiss the girl you love.” They kiss. The film ends.

Now, as classical melodrama goes, the story is nice enough but the film spends two and a half hours to tell it. But what is it all for? The only themes I can discern are that of luck and unrequited love which pop up throughout the film and then there is that overwhelming sense of patriotism that is constantly thrown at the audience. And this is the films biggest problem; it does not know what it wants to be. If Wellman wanted a big patriotic war epic then fine that is what he should have made. And if he wanted to make a beautiful melodramatic weepie about unrequited love then that would have been fine too. But as it stands the film is an epic mess.


Shane James

11 December 2013

Eureka! To Give First Oscar Winning Film Wings The Master Of Cinema Treatment

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Drama, Romance, War
Eureka! Entertainment
DVD/BD Release Date:
27th January 2014 (UK)
Pre-order/Buy Wings:
WINGS (Masters of Cinema) (Dual Format Blu-ray &DVD)

Eureka! Entertainment have announced the release of the first-ever Best Picture Academy Award (Oscar) winner, Wings starring the exquisite early-Hollywood actress Clara Bow and from the director of such golden-era classics as The Public Enemy, Beau Geste, and Track of the Cat, William A. Wellman. This thrilling effects-laden melodrama of World War I aerial combat will be released in a Dual Format (Bluray &a DVD) edition as part of Eureka! Entertainment's award-winning The Masters of Cinema Series on 27 January 2014.

Forever granted a place in cinematic history by winning the first ever Academy Award for Best Picture in 1927 and the only silent film to do so, William Wellman’s silent epic Wings is more than an Oscar winner, but an epic story of friendship with the type of thrilling action only practical effects can imagine…

Hometown best friends Jack (Charles "Buddy" Rogers) and David (Richard Arlen) compete for the affection of a gorgeous dame (Jobyna Ralston), though Jack doesn't realise that girl next door Mary Preston (Clara Bow) has eyes for him as well. But World War I is soon upon them, so the boys are off to France to fight against the Germans. Meanwhile, Mary follows Jack into enemy lines as a nurse.

Wellman's epic drama combines the most spectacular of stunts with the most classical of melodrama, along with one of Bow's greatest performances and the screen debut of Gary Cooper. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present this American classic in a beautiful new restoration on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK as part of a Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition.

Watch this fantastic clip from Wings


• Gorgeous newly restored 1080p transfer
• Video documentary Wings: Grandeur in the Sky
• Video documentary Restoring the Power and Beauty of Wings
• Video piece Dogfight!
• 40-PAGE BOOKLET featuring a new essay on the film by critic Gina Telaroli; excerpts from a vintage interview with Wellman; a 1930 profile of stuntmen from the film; a vintage piece on the production of the film; personal anecdotes from Wellman; rare archival imagery; and more!

25 November 2013

Eureka Video Announce Their Masters Of Cinema 2014 Early Releases

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Eureka Entertainment have announced via their twitter feeds (@eurekavideo and @mastersofcinema) their forthcoming releases in The Masters of Cinema series for the months of January, February and March 2014.

With a slate of titles that ranges from the most recent and 1980s American cinema (and, separately, the emergent Australian independent cinema), through to masterworks of the Italian cinema, and on to silent, and 1970s Hollywood, The Masters of Cinema Series runs the cinephile gamut once again with a seven-film January-March line-up that includes works by Federico Fellini, Samuel Fuller, Sidney Lumet, Francesco Rosi, William A. Wellman, Ted Kotcheff, and Andrew Bujalski. As if that weren't enough, Eureka Entertainment are also proud to announce an early summer release for one of Robert Altman's most revered films.

Producer of the Masters of Cinema Series, Craig Keller stated “In January, we welcome Andrew Bujalski into the Series for the first time with his smash indie-success Computer Chess (read review) that is currently enjoying a theatrical run across the UK following its British première at the London Film Festival. Alongside Computer Chess, William A. Wellman's Wings – the winner of the first ever Academy Award for Best Picture (1927-1928) will see its UK home-release premiere. Both titles will be released as Dual Format (Blu-ray + DVD) editions.

In February, we'll be releasing for the first time in the UK, a special edition Blu-ray and Ltd Edition Blu-ray SteelBook of Sidney Lumet's classic police drama starring Al PacinoSerpico (Original Theatrical Trailer ) Secondly, we'll be releasing a Blu-ray edition of Federico Fellini's 1972 epic colour spectacle, a love-letter to the past and present of the city he loved best: Roma .

Another Italian classic arrives in March in a Dual Format (Blu-ray + DVD) release: Francesco Rosi's gripping political procedural, Le mani sulla città [Hands Over the City]. March also finds us two of the most brutally unsparing and controversial independent works of the last forty years. The first is the long-awaited (and uncut) release of Ted Kotcheff's disturbing and subversive Wake in Fright, hailed by Nick Cave as "the best and most terrifying film about Australia in existence," and which Martin Scorsese has stated to have rendered him "speechless" — released in its brilliant 2009 restoration. Prior to its home-video release, Wake in Fright will be released theatrically in selected cinemas in the UK & Eire on 7 March 2014. Here is the brand new 2014 UK theatrical trailer . The second controversial release in March is Samuel Fuller's feverish White Dog, unavailable in the UK for decades, whose premise — a stray white dog turns out to have been conditioned to attack any black person on sight — was woefully misconstrued at the time of its 1982 release; it remains one of Fuller's most passionate anti-racist statements. Both of these works will also be released in Dual Format (Blu-ray + DVD) editions.”

Managing Director of Eureka Entertainment, Ron Benson added “The finest in world cinema abounds across these seven releases, supplemented as always with a spate of special features and extras, all presented with a meticulous attention to detail and design. The same ethos applies to a film we'll be releasing in May, and for which we're thrilled to be able to provide an early sneak-announcement: Robert Altman's epic 1970s ensemble classic, Nashville, released for the first time on UK home video, in a Dual Format (Blu-ray + DVD) edition.”