Film & Water #133 – Wings


Episode 133: WINGS

ScottX returns to discuss 1927’s WINGS, the silent era war epic directed by William Wellman starring Clara Bow, Richard Arlen, and Charles Rogers!

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14 responses to “Film & Water #133 – Wings

    1. Obviously, I love Eisenstein, Chaplin and Lang, but I just discovered Hitchcock’s The Lodger and loved that too. But silent films are still a hard ask for me. Rob, let’s do From the Earth to the Moon! It’s only about 12 minutes.

      1. I haven’t seen THE LODGER yet but it’s on the list to see…. eventually. It’s another great pick though. I could of sworn Rob made the joke that he could cover every Hitchcock so some of his early silent work are obvious targets. I read THE RING was made when he was only 28 and it’s his sole script.

        I took issue though with the trailer describing WINGS as the last great silent film. It’s always subjective but come on, Chaplin was stubbornly silent well into the ’30s, Harold Lloyd’s SPEEDY was 1928, Chaney died in 1930 shortly after his sole Talkie so he was still don’t them (I have a tattoo of him from a 1928 film). Whatever though, I’m glad we finally have Rob covering SOMETHING silent. It was a great episode too (of course)!

      2. I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t seen THE LODGER either. I am a big fan of Hitchcock’s work, so it is definitely on my “to see” list as well. It may have just moved up in the cue…

  1. I will admit I’ve never sat all the way through a non-horror silent film. Phantom of the Opera and Nosferatu are a given, but beyond that…its a hard sell for me too.

    But after the great discussion here, I will reconsider that for Wings. Great show fellas!


    1. Chris,

      Thanks for listening! I hope you do give WINGS a chance. I wasn’t sure about the movie at first but it really pulled me in.

      With regards to PHANTOM OF THE OPERA: A number of years ago, in celebration of Halloween, Indiana University Auditorium held a showing of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. The film was shown with a musical accompaniment by world renowned organist Dennis James (an Indiana University graduate). I was lucky enough get tickets. Watching a classic silent film on the big screen with live organ accompaniment (in much the way it would have been in its original theatrical release) was an INCREDIBLE experience!

      They have done this again in subsequent years (with different movies). I haven’t been able to get back to another show because of conflicting obligations.I do hope to go again this fall or sometime in the future when/if there is a performance. I would highly recommend it to anyone who can get there.

  2. When I teach my Intro to Film History class I usually include at least 1 silent film. Generally, I go with Chaplin’s City Lights for a comedy and Murnau’s Sunrise for a drama. Don’t let your unfamiliarity with the silent cinema conventions limit you. I also loved The Artist, a Best Picture winner. A real love letter to a bygone era.

    1. Does it hold up to rewatching? Not to spoil it, but it felt like a looooong wind up to a punchline for me. Wondering if the film holds up once the cat’s out of the bag – much like how Momento loses its oomph the second time around.

  3. Never seen this one but always intrigued. Now I’ll need to find it.

    The history of Cooper was fascinating! Thanks for retelling. Rob, ever think of reviewing a The Fountainhead?

    If looking for more silents, I’d say The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Metropolis, or Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler.

  4. Absolute stonker of an episode, it’s great to hear Scott X (any relation to Captain X of the RAF?) back. I’ve never seen Wings, but will have to seek it out… I suspect I do have a copy on DVD somewhere. I loved hearing about the invention of the dolly shot, yeah, I can picture plenty of films nicking that Paris bit… I’m sure I’ve seen it in the odd Busby Berkeley (it’s the anniversary of his death, coincidentally), for example.

    I’m thrilled to hear a silent film being discussed, I’d assumed they were off the table. In a couple of weeks I’ll be at the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival 2018 in Bo’ness, Scotland, at which lots of lovely restored prints are shown with live accompaniment, either improvised by folk who really know their stuff, or through-composed for the occasion and played live either or piano, by small combos or the odd multi-instrumentalist. This year’s entries include The Last of the Mohicans (1920), Underground (1928) and Seven Footprints to Satan (1929). La t year included Marion Davies in The Patsy (1928), The Hands of Orlac (1924), The Informer (1929), The Grub Stake (1923) and, presented at an outdoor screening at the local railway station, with tasty food, the comic double bill of The Hazards of Helen & hero dog movie Teddy at the Throttle (1915 and 1917). Seriously, guys who have a tough time getting into silents, try any of these, give yourself over to the experience… phones off!

    Check out the 30-second trailer here…

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