|Actor Richard Arlen had actually served as a pilot during WWI.|
Wings begins in small-town America. Jack Powell (Charles Rogers) would love to fly, but the best he can do is strip down and rebuild an old car, helped by his perky next-door-neighbour Mary Preston (Clara Bow). Mary is in love with Jack, but he can't see it, because he adores visiting city beauty Sylvia Lewis (Jobyna Ralston), who is in love with David Armstrong (Richard Arlen), the richest boy in town. David and Jack both sign up to join serve in the Great War, and owing to a misunderstanding Jack takes the locket Sylvia had wanted to give to David. (There's a romantic twist to this story: in real life, Arlen and Ralston got married after meeting while making this film.)
|The dogfight scenes are thrilling.|
You expect films of this era to be a little less graphic than modern ones, and it's true that there's not masses of blood and guts, but the ruined village and the British trench are both remarkable, and I was really struck by the wide shots, where the film makers recreated a flat land with only barbed wire and dead trees, and seen from above a strange, meandering network of trenches. It really did look like news footage I'd seen of the front, albeit rather drier and less strewn with bodies. I'd always imagined trenches to be in straight lines, but this gave me a completely different impression of how they looked from above. There are other details that people at the time would've remembered and expected to see but modern audiences might not expect: as well as other 'planes the fighters take on balloons reporting American troop movement, and there's even a mention of influenza.
|Mary does her bit as a driver - the part was rewritten for Paramount's biggest star|
|Mary is unimpressed with Jack's drunken antics.|
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