Filled Under: Clara Bow
“We had individuality. We did as we pleased. We stayed up late. We dressed the way we wanted. I used to whiz down Sunset Boulevard in my open Kissel, with several red Chow dogs to match my hair. Today, they’re sensible and end up with better health. But we had more fun.” ~ Clara Bow
“Even now I can’t trust life. It did too many awful things to me as a kid.” ~ Clara Bow
“The more I see of men, the more I like dogs.” ~ Clara Bow
“A sex symbol is a heavy load to carry when one is tired, hurt and bewildered.” ~ Clara Bow
“I ain’t real sure.” ~ Clara Bow, when asked what “It” was.
“Of all the men I’ve known, there was a man.” ~ Clara Bow on director Victor Fleming.
Mary Preston (Clara Bow): Do you know what you can do when you see a shooting star?
Jack Powell(Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers): No, what?
Mary Preston(Clara Bow): You can kiss the girl you love.
Wings (Paramount Pictures 1927) is a silent film set during WWI. Wings stars Clara Bow, Charles “Buddy” Rogers, Richard Arlen and Jobyna Ralston. Gary Cooper had a brief secondary roll which helped launch his Hollywood career. The premise of the movie is pretty simple. Two young rivals (“Buddy” Rogers and Richard Arlen), from a small town USA are both in love with the same woman (Jobyna Ralston) and are vying for her attention. Clara Bow plays the girl next door who desperately loves one of the young men herself. The two rivals enlist to become combat pilots in the Air Service during WWI. Clara Bow’s character joins the war effort as an ambulance driver. They all wind up in France to fight the Germans. I won’t go into any more detail as to the plot because I hate giving away what happens, but suffice it to say, this movie is one of the best war movies of all time. The story is very well done, the acting superb, and the camerawork during the arial battle scenes magnificent. You need to remember this movie was made in the mid 1920’s, but the battle scenes with the hundreds of extras on the ground, the explosions, and the arial scenes rival anything you would see today. Richard Arlen and Buddy Rogers did their own stunt flying during filming. Arlen had been a WWI pilot himself, although he saw no combat, but Buddy Rogers had never flown a plane before in his life, but by the end of production he was piloting his own plane.
Wings, completed with a budget of 2 million dollars, was an immediate success in the United States. Opening August 12, 1927 at the Criterion Theatre, Wings was shown for 63 consecutive weeks before being moved to “secondary” theatres. Critics also loved the film, calling the realism of the arial and battle scenes impressive. The film was one of the first to ever show a male on male kiss, be it a fraternal one, during a death scene towards the end of the movie. It was also one of the first to show nudity, as you get a very brief glimpse of Clara Bow nude during one scene. Wings went on to win an Academy Award for Best Picture, being the only silent movie to ever do so. In 1997, Wings was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”