starring Buddy Rogers, Clara Bow and Richard Arlen
September, 1927

A GREAT war spectacle of the air. Thrilling airplane fights and maneuvers in and above the clouds. Unfortunately, the story is weakly built and, with the exception of several touching scenes, missing conviction.

Two youngsters, both loving the same girl, quarrel ovr her just before battle. One lad is brought down within German lines and is lost in the marshes. He steals an enemy plane and makes his escape toward the Allied front. His pal goes on a len hunt for him, sights the German plane and blazes away at it. The other boy is shot to pieces and, dying, is recognized by his friend.

The two lads are splendidly played by Buddy Rogers and Richard Arlen. Clara Bow, as the girl, is too sophisticated for the part. By all means see "Wings."

starring Buddy Rogers, Clara Bow and Richard Arlen
November, 1927

In spite of the fact that Paramount is reported to have spent two million dollars on this production, the critics, while agreeing that it contains some of the most remarkable photographic shots ever made, somehow felt that "Wings' just missed being a great picture when it opened at the Criterion Theater in New York with considerable fanfare. The reviewers feel that something is lacking.
"'Wings' is well worth seeing," writes Langdon W. Post of the Evening World, "of that there is no question, but one walks from the theater wondering why a little more thought and ingenuity could not have been put into a story that contains such very remarkable incidents. It is comparable to a beautiful diamond set in a hideous ring. One admires, but one cannot enthuse." John S. Cohen, Jr., the Sun's critic, says that "the film represents the first attempt at using planes as a motif, and naturally 'Wings' is most thrilling when members of the audience are transported to the etherized spaces . . . For there, as though they were seated in another plane, they are privileged to watch at close range all manner of battles between. . . planes, all manner of tail spins and nose dives. Airplane stuff has never been done so well before . . . No doubt it will be extremely popular . . ." Regina Cannon, in the American, describes the scenes above the clouds as "rather startling."
The performance of Richard Arlen comes in for high praise. Charles Rogers and Clara Bow are also liked by the critics.

Starring Clara Bow, Buddy Rogers and Richard Arlen
November, 1927

I'm still up in the air. "Wings" is responsible. Next best to a real sky-ride. I recommend this latest big war picture -- that is, if you have a good, healthy constitution. You can have all the thrills of a sky-chaser at Coney, combined with nervous chills and fever, and still remain safely in your theatre seat. Hop off to see it -- but take a tip from me and don't get your seat too near the talented man who plays the kettle-drums in the orchestra. He's the real star of the show. How he does love his work! He records all the booms of the big guns, the rat-tat-tat of machine guns, and the noise that bombs make when exploding. Some night he is going to make a noise exactly like an airplane and fly away. Until then, much as I admire his skill, I advise you to steer clear of him. He knows so darned much about drums, he might get to work on your ear-drums, and "Wings" is harrowing enough as it is.

Thanks to the enlarged screen, you experience all the emotions of an aviator. You encounter enemy planes and vanquish them -- or not, as the case may be. You scatter death and destruction. You soar through the clouds, then swoop suddenly to earth. And how good that old earth under your feet does feel! After an hour in the skies, you'll have to get your land legs again. The shots of the planes in action are amazing. Many of the pictures are well worth framing, to hang with "We" on your walls. Photographically, "Wings" is an achievement. As a plot, it is a sort of "Rollo Boys in the Air." Richard Arlen and Charles "Buddy" Rogers are the American lads who fight their country's battles in the air over French fields. They are rivals in love for Jobyna Ralston; while Clara Bow, the little girl that Buddy left behind him, consoles herself by getting a job as an ambulance driver. You know all the time that one of the two boys is bound to make the supreme sacrifice, but I won't let you in on the secret. "Wings" offers Arlen and Rogers real opportunity, and they are equal to it. Buddy has a wholesome, boyish appeal; but Richard Arlen has a shade the best of it. After all the crowd of exciting new leading men who have cropped up in the past few years, Arlen stands out, to me, as the leader of them all. He has the heroic touch. He might pose for an authentic statue of "The Young American Aviator." His work has wings.

For more information, see "Wings" as our "Feature of the Month"

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