The first and only silent movie to win an Oscar for Best Picture is being re-released on DVD to mark the 100th anniversary of Paramount Pictures.
Wings is a 1927 production about World War One fighter pilots. At the time it won ringing praise for the quality of the flying sequences.
The director’s son, William Wellman Jr., said: “You have to understand that nobody had ever made a picture about the Great War from the air. So, it was like my father and his crew, they had to become inventors. They had to create the technology for aerial photography for the movies.”
Wings was considered lost for many years until a print turned up in the Cinémathèque Française film archive in Paris. It was quickly copied from the volatile nitrate reels to safety film stock.
Though the timing of the newly restored ‘Wings’ and the spectacular success of ‘The Artist’ may be purely coincidental, it is clear that silence remains golden in Hollywood.
Paramount archivist Andrea Kalas said: “The fact that people really understand the way a silent movie works — and it’s different than a sound picture — and (they) watch it and understand it. There is, definitely, a tribute to film history.”
A high-definition version of Wings, restored and remastered, is scheduled for release on DVD and Blu-Ray to coincide with Paramount’s centenary anniversary.