Blu-ray, DVD Release: Wings (1926)

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Jan. 24, 2012
Price: DVD $24.99, Blu-ray $29.99
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment


WingsThe very first Best Picture Academy Award winner, 1926 film Wings, was fully restored for its DVD and Blu-ray debut.

The World War II drama looks at the effects of war through the stories of two men who go to battle and the women they leave behind. Starring Clara Bow, Charles “Buddy” Rogers and Gary Cooper in one of his first feature films, Wings is a love story with aerial dogfights and epic battle sequences.

The movie, a major undertaking for Paramount way back when, was made with the cooperation of the largest garrison of U.S. Army troops in the U.S., at the time in San Antonio, Texas. Battlefields were built on more than five acres of land near the barracks, and thousands of real soldiers appeared in the film’s ground scenes.

Wings was one of the first films in which actors went up in real planes, and they activated mounted cameras themselves. For Rogers, flying was a new experience, much less acting and filming himself in the air.

Wings Blu-ray boxAt $2 million, the budget for Wings was bloated for movies of that day, but it paid off, because the film was a hit when it was released, playing for more than a year at its original New York theater.

For the DVD and Blu-ray, Wings was restored frame by frame, a must since much of the original negatives were damaged. Original tints and color effects, among others, that were embossed on the film strip were digital recreated based on the film’s continuity script and tinting/toning guides from the period.

The original score was obtained from the Library of Congress and recorded with a full orchestra. And Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt (Star Wars) and the sound engineers at Skywalker Sound added World War II sound effects that are true to the period.

In other words, this classic film has never looked or sounded as good as on this DVD and Blu-ray.

But there’s more, the Blu-ray includes three new documentaries:

  • Wings: Grandeur in the Sky,” which looks at the cinematic achievements of director William Wellman and his filmmakers (also on the DVD)
  • “Dogfight,” which explores the history of aeronautics
  • and “Restoring the Power and Beauty of Wings,” which, yep, shows the restoration process.
Buy or Rent Wings (1926)
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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.