Wings (1927 Paramount) - anytime?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Eric Huffstutler, Feb 23, 2004.

  1. Eric Huffstutler

    Eric Huffstutler Screenwriter

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    With the Academy Awards upon us, I am curious why this movie, the historical first Oscar winner for best picture, hasn't made its way to DVD? From what I can tell it's available on VHS and was out on Laser Disc so why not DVD?
     
  2. Eric Huffstutler

    Eric Huffstutler Screenwriter

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    I am really disappointed as to how fast this thread sank to the bottom with so few viewers and no replies!

    Is everyone so wrapped up in getting the latest and greatest that they don't have time for the milestone classics that brought us here in the first place?
     
  3. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    It was on a poll made by Paramount, so who knows?

    The only Best Picture winners not on DVD yet are Wings, Broadway Melody (Warner), Cimmaron (Warner), Cavalcade (Fox), and The Life of Emile Zola (Warner). The Greatest Show on Earth (Paramount) and Around the World in Eighty Days (Warner) are coming in the next few months... (and it wouldn't hurt Fox to release Sunrise as a normal release, either [​IMG])

    I'd really like to see them make a "line" of silent classics consisting of:

    Wings (won Best Production Oscar in '27)
    The Covered Wagon
    The Wedding March (Erich von Stroheim)
    Docks of New York
    The Last Command (Best Actor winner for Emil Jannings in '28)
    Running Wild (W.C. Fields!)
    Old Ironsides
    The Ten Commandments (silent version)

    And there's always Kino and Milestone to license the films to..
     
  4. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    Eric, not everyone shares your taste in movies, nor do they share mine. I have started many threads to determine interest in some of my favorite (unreleased) titles and have had only a couple, or even zero, replies. It's frustrating, but don't take it personally. Others who want to see this come out may simply not have signed on to HTF since you posted - replies can come weeks later sometimes. I imagine that WINGS will find its way to us on DVD, either through Paramount or maybe even Criterion, as it is a landmark film in several ways.
     
  5. Eric Huffstutler

    Eric Huffstutler Screenwriter

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    Actually, Wings and Sunrise came out in competition the same year (1927) but the first Oscars went given out until 1929. [​IMG]

    No, I wouldn't like to see Sunrise come out "retail" because I just paid through the nose for a copy because I made all of my purchases prior to the limitations to get it free. [​IMG]

    I am not a big fan of Silent but one for completeness. Sunrise did hold my attention because the cinematography, sets, and acting wasn't the normal hokie standard of the day.
     
  6. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Additionally, Schindler's List (Universal) isn't out quite yet (two more weeks to go!), and both The Sting (Universal) and Chariots of Fire (Warner) have yet to be released in their OAR.
     
  7. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    Yes I just got the R2 of Sunrise and it looks great. I don't agree that silents had necessarily standard hokie acting, sets and particularly poor cinematography though. The visuals were vital and told the story making silent film-making very cinematic. Yes Sunrise is a cut above the standard silent drama of 1927 but I think Eric you will be surprised with the sophistication of many silent films. Please don't stop at Sunrise, see more silents and not just Academy Award winners either. If I'm preaching to the converted, sorry.

    In fact Wings is one silent which I believe hasn't weathered the years too well. The flying scenes are great but when I saw this in a TV screening a few years ago the rest seemed slow-moving and boring. Not that I wouldn't consider buying a DVD release and its the only silent Paramount even seem to have considered so far.

    The rumour about Wings must be a couple of years old at least but now that they've released most of their sound classics post 1948 maybe a silent line is a possibility. I'd certainly love to see many of the titles Patrick mentions : I recently bought John Ford's The Iron Horse in R2 which would be a nice contrast to The Covered Wagon and I'm fascinated by Von Stroheim so I'm sure I would enjoy The Wedding March.

    Apart from Warners none of the majors appear to have even tentative plans for a line of silents although in the Fox chat I think they mentioned the possibility of double features. Warner looks like our best bet for big studio silents at the moment : hopefully the chat in a fortnight will confirm we are getting more MGM silents this year. Their Lon Chaney set is just great and I seem to remember an executive said it had been selling well. If we get the big MGMs like Greed(Goldwyn), Ben Hur (1925 version), The Big Parade, The Crowd, The Cameraman, Show People etc maybe Paramount will join the party.
     
  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Well, not every silent was a A+ movie, but a great majority of the surviving films are anything but "hokie." Films such as Napoleon, The Unknown, The Crowd, Safety Last, The Kid, Sherlock Jr., and The Strong Man are shining examples of the excellence of silent cinema. I still feel that films such as The Great Train Robbery and A Trip to the Moon still hold up well today.
     
  9. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    Martin Blythe was on another forum back in 2002 soliciting input for what titles Paramount should devote its limted resources for Special Content to - Wings was either on the list of choices, or eles it was brought up in conversation, and Mr Blythe did mention that the film was on their radar and they were looking to release it eventually.

    some of the other titles menitoned back then like Captain Kronos have already made it out.
    others like Murder On The orient Express, If, Day of The Locust, and Foul Play are still yet to be released (although a couple of these have been 'leaked' to be due later this year.
    Paramount still has a lot of important and popular catalog titles left to release.
    Wings will make it out eventually.
    i'm a Clara Bow fan, and this is a very entertaining movie, so i'll be looking forward to picking it up too.
     
  10. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Anything that has Clara Bow in it is worth watching. End of discussion [​IMG]
     
  11. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    I thought that Sunrise was also stunning and the music played a big part in my opinion.

    Eric

    If you have a multi region player, check out the r2 of John Ford's The Iron Horse from www.bfi.org.uk with the same George O'Brien from Sunrise

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

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    Wings isn't that well-loved. It did win the first Oscar for Best Picture but, as a film, it wasn't that good. The plot is simplistic and predictable and the IT Girl doesn't have much screen time and Gary Cooper even less. There are some great dogfight scenes but that's about it. Personally I think that, of this genre, Hell's Angels is the better film.

    Silent film acting is a different animal from talkie acting. Silent actors had to convey emotion and verbal information visually without relying on intertitles. Otherwise you'd just see actors standing around talking, downplaying far too much to hold an audience's interest. This is one of the reasons so few silent stars made it to talkies. Once they got into sound they found themselves overacting and looking ridiculous.

    Some silent film acting was intentionally "hokey". The premise of the highly influential and astonishing German Expressionist movement was that nothing nor no one was to be "natural". An actor performing in an Expressionist film had to over-act, over-react, make gestures, emotions, far bigger than in other cinema. It was much more important to convey the intensity of the subject or emotion than appear natural in doing so. It wasn't bad acting, it was the style. Indeed, consider two very famous silent actors who worked in Expressionist cinema, Emil Jannings and Conrad Veidt. Jannings was so broad in his acting Pauline Kael once referred to him as, "...that old ham.", but he went on to win a best actor Oscar for his roles in The Last Command and The Way of all Flesh. Conrad Veidt who personified Expressionist cinema in his role as Cesare in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari had a successful Hollywood career which reached its zenith with the role of Major Heinrich Strasser in Casablanca.

    F.W. Murnau, one of the founding fathers of German Expressionism, directed Sunrise. What we now know as modern cinema owes an enormous debt to the pioneering work done in Germany from 1917 to 1933.

    What some consider to be the finest acting performance ever captured on film, Falconetti as Jeanne d'Arc, in The Passion of Joan of Arc, comes from a silent movie. The performance would have been impossible in a talkie.

    I'd like to suggest you take a look at some of the better silent films. Silents can be surprisingly frank, far more so than the later talkie films under the watchful eyes of the Breen code, and sophisticated. People weren't as naive as we might think and the film of the period reflects that. You will be astonished at how revelant the storylines can be and just how much current cinema owes to the silent pioneers. Take a look at The Silent Era for a list of the best films, most of which survive in watchable condition.

    P.S.- The eyes in the Silent Era's logo belong to Louise Brooks (aka Lulu), an American actress lightyears ahead of most actresses of the time and who found her best roles with a German, G.W. Pabst.
     
  13. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    Paul : when you say Paramount has a lot of catalog titles to release do you mean the 50s and 60s as they don't own much from before then (Universal has much of the pre 1948 titles possibly apart from the silents) ? Personally I can't think of many must own Paramounts post 1950 that aren't already out.

    What I mean is classic films here ; really only The African Queen and Ace In the Hole come into the category for me so thats why I was hopeful for the silents.Paramount in the 50s is pretty well catered for and that really represents the last great decade of classic Hollywood so for fans of classic cinema I would have thought the silents were the next logical step. If catalog to you or to Paramount means everything up to the last few years we might have much longer wait in store.
     
  14. Charles H

    Charles H Screenwriter

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    Paramount has retained the rights to Preston Sturges' MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK (possibly because they made a remake of this--ROCKABYE BABY with Jerry Lewis). They have promised a remake of this for several years--missing an oportunity for an Eddie Bracken audio commentary, but Betty Hutton is still alive. The Sturges website (prestonsturges.com) still suggests that it might be released later this year. SAMSON AND DELILAH was released in Korea. There are rumors that ACE IN THE HOLE is/was being prepared for a video debut on dvd. (Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, and Robert Arthur are still alive!) I'd love to see Bob Hope's quasi-serious BEAU JAMES--a bio of Jimmy Walker--and other Hope films controlled by Paramount. Bing Crosby gave wonderful performances in THE COUNTRY GIRL and LITTLE BOY LOST.

    WINGS is a solid and historically interesting film but Paramount controls many interesting silent and talkie classics.
     
  15. Brandon Gantt

    Brandon Gantt Second Unit

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    Wings wasn't actually one of the 11 titles Martin Blythe had listed on the "Special Features" poll on DVDTalk, but a lot of people brought it up. Whether those request made an impact is unknown.
     

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