Two young men from the same town but different social classes end up as fighter pilots in WW1. Jack Preston is a keen auto mechanic, building and modifying cars. David Armstrong comes from a wealthy family. They are both in love with the same woman, Sylvia. Her heart belongs to David but she doesn't let Jack know and plays along with his infatuation. Meanwhile, Jack's neighbour, Mary, is deeply in love with him but he just views her as a friend. WW1 interrupts the romantic entanglements as Jack and David enlist in the US Army Air Service (Air Service of the AEF at the time). They are initially bitter enemies, due to them both vying for Sylvia's affections. Over time, however, they become very good friends. They are both posted to the same fighter squadron in France, where being a fighter pilot means every day could easily be your last.Written by
Much of the film was based on the experiences of director William A. Wellman as a combat pilot during World War I. While stationed in France, he joined the French Foreign Legion's Lafayette Flying Corps, N.87, les Chats Noir (Black Cat Group). The plane he flew was a Nieuport 24 fighter, which he named "Celia" after his mother. He was credited with three recorded "kills" of enemy aircraft, plus five probable kills. Wellman was shot down in combat and survived the crash, but walked with a limp for the rest of his life. He received the Croix du Guerre for his service. After the war, he returned home and joined the US Army Air Corps for two years, where he taught combat tactics to new pilots at Rockwell Field in San Diego. See more »
When Schwimpf is punched and falls down, he drops his coat on the ground, but it is on the table in a following shot. See more »
John "Jack" Powell:
Li'l Bubbles... I'm gonna kiss you!
[puts his forefinger up next to Mary's lips, she closes her eyes, opens her lips, and swoons]
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You could justifiably criticize WINGS lesser moments: the naive, "gee-whiz" dialog...the less than comedic "champagne" sequence in Paris...any of the romantic scenes...the idealized view of military life.... But as light entertainment, WINGS manages to hold its own, despite the passage of years. The battle scenes, easily the highlight of the film, may not have the intensity of later films, but the narrative is clear and precise. And this was not meant to be the last word in documentary accuracy: it's an adventure film tinged with romance, with engaging aerial fight scenes that capture your attention whenever they occur.
And personally, I felt that the music from the Wurlitzer organ tied together the film's various themes, musical and narrative, quite tidily.
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