1929 Oscar winner ‘Wings' restored for DVD, Blu-ray
BY GENE TRIPLETT
“Wild Bill” Wellman’s first major movie mission was in danger of crashing numerous times before it finally landed at the first Academy Awards ceremony.
But “Wings” did make it to the 1929 Oscars, swooping up the very first best picture trophy and best engineering (special effects) honors to boot.
Now, with the 84th Academy shindig just weeks away, Paramount Pictures is celebrating its centennial year with the release of a newly restored version of the silent World War I epic on DVD and Blu-ray.
“It totally knocks me out,” said William Wellman Jr., son of the Oscar-winning “Wings” director who also helmed such classics as the 1937 version of “A Star is Born,” “The Public Enemy,” “The Ox-Bow Incident,” “Battleground” and “The High and the Mighty.”
“I mean, I have hosted the picture in five countries since 1993, and I’ve seen the picture many times,” Wellman Jr. said in a recent phone interview. “And when Paramount did this restoration and they showed me the final version I was speechless, how beautiful it is. It’s just incredible. … I couldn’t be happier.”
Andrea Kalas, vice president of archives at Paramount, said the restoration of “Wings” was accomplished in a meticulous frame-by-frame process, with state-of-the-art digital tools normally used to create special effects.
“It’s really just been in the last few years that digital restoration technology has evolved to a point where we could actually do what we did with this film,” Kalas said. “The element we restored from was compromised with things like printed-in nitrate deterioration, which literally softened the sides of the frame. And there were extreme vertical hairline scratches. To just bring the picture back to a basic viewable form involved major technology.”
On DVD and Blu-ray, the film now appears as sharp and clean as the freshly-struck prints shown in the first road show engagements of “Wings” in 1927, Kalas said.
The film stars Clara Bow — who was a superstar at the time — Charles “Buddy” Rogers and Richard Arlen in a story of two men and the woman they both leave behind as theygo off to become fighter pilots in the “Great War.” Gary Cooper also appears briefly — but memorably — in what was only his second screen role.
William Wellman — a former World War I flying ace himself — was a relative newcomer in the film business, having directed only a handful of B-movies when he received the “Wings” assignment.
“Paramount was the number one ranked studio in Hollywood because they had the best directors under contract,” Wellman Jr. said. “Cecil B DeMille, Victor Fleming, Allan Dwan …”
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 14589OKC Thunder: Thunder trio praise fans before potential departures
- 8609Oklahoma State football: Todd Monken thinks Wes Lunt should've stayed in Stillwater
- 6402Student shot dead during botched home invasion
- 6393Oklahoma medical examiner reports cause of deaths in Grand Lake boat crash
- 6018Soaring gasoline prices hurt Oklahoma City area retailers
- 5816Oklahoma football: Sooners get pair of commitments
- 4098As Boy Scouts' vote on gay members nears, faith groups weigh in
- 3659Oklahoma weather: Crews work to clear storm damage after tall metal utility polls fall in northwest Oklahoma City
- 3653Oklahoma City Thunder: Amnesty Kendrick Perkins?
- 3418Rockets guard Patrick Beverley bombarded with hateful Tweets after Thunder get eliminated
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients