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Wings (1927) Several New Scores? Which One Will We Hear???


gagman66
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Next week, February 4th in Prime-Time during it's Annual 31 Days of Oscar Tribute, TCM USA is airing WINGS (Paramount, 1927), for the first time ever! The precursor to a possible DVD release later this year? The mystery surrounding what Musical score we might hear for this debut is profoundly intriguing to say the very least! Might anyone here have the details?

 

It appears that several new scores to the William Wellman Classic have been preformed live over the past few years at screenings around the world! While I am still hoping TCM airs the film with the Carl Davis score, two other scores with a "feminine touch" have been touring about at festivals. One is by a somewhat familiar name to Silent Movie Music fans, "Gillian Anderson". The other was composed by "Alexandra Gordon", who I am sorry to say I am not familiar with in the least?

 

Don't be surprised if it turns out to be Robert Israel either? He has scored many Silent films for TCM in the past. I will be very disappointed if the movie debuts with the Gaylord Carter Wurlitzer score recorded for the Paramount laser-disc release in 1985. Not that the Carter Score isn't good, it's one of his better scores, but why would TCM air an over 20 year old transfer of this picture, when it was newly restored just a few years ago? Makes no sense!

 

As Paramount is providing the print though, they may have been just plain to lazy to spring for an upgraded scorng? As they were on the DVD extra of Cecil B. De Mille's THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1923). I sure hope not!

 

I expect to see the film fully re-mastered, and hopefully with a brand-new recording of the Davis score from the rarely seen Thames presentation of the film. The Thames edition aired on British Television only once as far as I have been able to determine, and may have never been seen in the United States before?

 

WINGS has been shown on Television here in America, it aired a few times on the old American Movie Classics between 1990, and 1991, with the Gaylord Carter's Wurlitzer score. But the Thames presentation as far as I know, has not been run? It could have aired on PBS back in the late 80's to early 90's, but I know that I never saw it personally?

 

The restored version shown at the ACADEMY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES in April of 2003, reinstated the original tint's, and contained a Full-Orchestral score with sound effects. But the notes on the TCM Movie Data-Base under "Alternate Versions", do not specifically state that this was the Carl Davis score?

 

The Original film in 1927 also had a few sequences that were filmed in 2-Strip Technicolor. Unfortunately, I do not know if those still exist? Some sources say that WINGS had a Vintage recorded score in 1927, while others state that it contained only sound-effects on a separate strip of film. Which was played right along with the live accompaniment in some of the big movie palaces hastely wired for sound. In any case, score or sound-effects this material is apparently lost?

 

Although, that's what I though about the vintage William Axt-David Mendoza score to Garbo's A WOMAN OF AFFAIRS (1928). Carl Davis composed a new score in 1989, so the original must be lost, right? Wrong! Incredibly, thanks to my good friend Jorge, I just ran across a version of this film the other day with the vintage Western Electric track still in-tact! So now I have two different scoring versions of one of Garbo's very best Silent films, and both prints are I am very pleased to say of excellent quality!

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deadroll,

 

Oh Phooey! Are you saying that TCM will be running the exact same version that AMC showed nearly 20 years ago? Will the print at least be re-mastered? The 1923 version of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS was! The movie looked fabulous on the DVD extra!

 

Very disappointed if TCM couldn't get the rights to the Carl Davis score! They had close to a whole year to do it! I first heard about TCM signing a pact to air WINGS last March or so! What a joke!

 

I already have a superb enhanced recording of WINGS from Laser-disc on DVD-R. I'll be able to tell pretty fast if any additional work has been done!

 

Meanwhile, what's the word on Colleen Moore's LILAC TIME, I was also told a year ago last March, that Movie was being restored? Got any info?

Also is TCM or Warner's planning to have the newly re-discovered and restored Colleen Moore feature HER WILD OAT (1927) scored?

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Blast! The brief Paramount Trailer for WINGS on the TCM Movie Data Base has the same Gaylord Carter score! Nothing different!

 

The trailer also suggests erroneously that Clara Bow is the "Girl that Buddy Rogers, and Richard Arlen both left behind"! Not so, rather She was of course the beautiful Jobyna Ralston!

 

I could have made a better Trailer in about a Half-hours time than this one is!

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I watched the trailer and it is weird how they put it together. The thing that jumped out at me was after they announced it was starring Clara Bow the very next cast member was Gary Cooper. Now I'm a huge fan of his (as everyone probably knows by now ;) ) but he's in the movie for a little over 2 minutes and did not even receive a screen credit. They most likely listed those two first b/c they are the most recognizable by modern audiences. While I'm sure most of us here know who Buddy Rogers, Richard Arlen, and Jobyna Ralston (who married Arlen after meeting him during this film) are; most people today probably don't.

 

What really bothers me though, is the mispresentation of the storyline with Clara as the girl they left behind as Jeff pointed out. Neither one was even slightly interested in her until the end of the movie. That is just carelessness. I was reading a book about Gary written by Stuart Kaminsky and it was full of stuff like that. I had to stop reading about 30 pages into it when I realized I knew more about him than the author. He said he received four Oscar nominations and he actually got 5; something that would have been very easy to research. He also got the costars and details wrong of a handful of his silent films that are still in existence so he could have watched them and gotten the info correct.

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coopsgirl,

 

If TCM shows the same old version released on VHS, and Laser-disc in the Mid 80's what really irks me about the matter is this, the Gaylord Carter scored version has been bootlegged all over the place. In Japan, in China, even in the United States! I have not bought any of these bootleg's but I know that they do exist.

 

One of them with fancy packaging even purported to be a "Limited Collectors Edition Paramount Oscar Classics" release! From what I understand all of these are taken directly from the old Paramount laser-disc, or maybe even the early 90's AMC airings!

 

It's possible that the Thames presentation with the Carl Davis score, is even a couple years older than the Gaylord Carter one? Possibly 1983, where the Carter version was released in 1985. So in both cases, it is likely to be the same print from Paramount. But they certainly could re-master it just like Warner's did with FLESH AND THE DEVIL. The degree of improvement over the old Thames transfer was truly remarkable!

 

I was thinking that maybe the Carl Davis scored Kevin Brownlow-David Gill Photo-play Productions edition might actually be a couple years older? This could explain why that version is almost impossible to find, all but disappeared? Than again maybe not Paramount also issued a VHS in 1987 of Erich Von Stroheim's THE WEDDING MARCH (1928) with a Carter Wurlitzer score, yet Carl Davis scored a Thames Silent's Edition of that movie as well.

 

Or maybe as with Thames Silent's presentations like Fairbank's THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (1924), and Valentino's THE EAGLE (1925), and much more recently the Photo-play Productions edition of De Mille's THE GODLESS GIRL, it was simple economics? The rights to a Carl Davis Musical score, just do not come cheap! Image passed on the Davis score to THE GODLESS GIRL simply to cut production cost's' Instead offering a inferior alternative, on the TREASURES FROM THE AMERICAN FILM ACHIEVES 3 release.

 

So many of Davis brilliant scores are frustratingly just not available! Yet I have been fortunate enough, to have managed to collect all but about 5 or 6 of them. About the only ones that I am missing I believe are MUSKETEERS OF PIG ALLEY, INTOLERANCE, GREED, THE FRESHMAN, WINGS, AND THE WEDDING MARCH. I hope to have the Griffith picture very soon.

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Since I had the vhs release of "Wings" and the tape broke many years ago, I don't care which verison of the feature Tcm shows, as long as I can see it again.These "31 Days Of Oscars" are usually dull ever year(with more current films being shown), but TCM is showing more Oscar related silent films, which is great.

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I'm glad TCM is showing this great film again! As much as I like Clara Bow and Jobyna Ralston, the film belongs to Richard Arlen and Buddy Rogers.... each of them is excellent and each gives his best performance. While it's fun to see future superstar Gary Cooper in a scene, Rogers and Arlen provide the emotional punch that this film will KO you with.... the aerial footage is amazing as well!

 

Bravo, TCM!

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my copy has the organ score by Gaylord Carter, which I think is great..... of course I have not heard the Carl Davis score..... his work is always superb.

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Ed,

 

I agree, Rogers and Arlen are both fantastic in this film! Poor Jobyna Ralston is the one that really got short-changed for Screen-time! And for Clara Bow fan's who haven't seen this picture yet, they might end up being fairly disappointed with just how little she is actually in it too.

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La La La- WINGS Night is finally here! And SUNRISE too!

 

SilentEra's updated Top 100 list has these two at #29 and #3 respectively and many of my favourites are in the second 100 list-sheesh! As much as I love Mr. Keaton I'll never understand why THE GENERAL (1929) is always #1. But these lists are good entertainment in any case.

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Kate,

 

The simple fact is THE GENERAL has been the most visible Silent film for pretty much the past 45 to 50 years! Screened more often than anything else.

 

It has never, ever been one of my favorites, and I have seen it dozens of times since 1979, in at least 6 or 7 different versions! Including with a Carl Davis score! To me the picture is vastly overrated! But if so many people have not seen much else when it comes to Silent films, they have very little basis of comparison!

 

I am a big Keaton fan but THE GENERAL honestly isn't really all that great! The biggest problem is that it's way more a Drama than a comedy, and even the drama part of it seems pretty old hat! The laughs, are few and far between! Would have a rough time making my top 50 list of Silent's let alone number one! Anyway Silentera.com, has not updated their poll even once since at least 2003!

 

Critic's and fan's had to be thinking at the time, this is a Keaton film? Where are all the sight-gags? The grandeur and scope of the film would have been largely overlooked as well, audiences were accustomed to that in 1926! Sweeping Epic's and high brow production value were commonplace. Even the attention to detail and historical accuracy Buster demanded was likely to go virtually unnoticed!

 

Anyone who has seen the likes of THE BIG PARADE, SEVENTH HEAVEN, THE KING OF KINGS, FOUR SONS. or even THE GODLESS GIRL should be able to tell that THE GENERAL doesn't even come close!

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Thanks TCM for two silent films, back-to-back in primetime on a weeknight! Amazing historical on the ground and aerial airforce footage in WINGS from a director who knew what he was talking about and a story that stands the test of time in today's war weary world. And what would SUNRISE be without that fabulous score that's in a class of its own and Janet Gaynor was like a tiny wounded bird in the palm of my hand. Beautiful silent films...

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yes Gulch... SUNRISE and WINGS are 2 of the greats!

 

Too bad TCM can't show Emil Jannings in THE LAST COMMAND as part of its 20s Oscar fete.... what a great performance THAT is!.... along with William Powell and Evelyn Brent.

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*Wings* is definitely Arlen and Rogers film and they do wonderful jobs with their characters. Neither one had a lot of experience under their belts (previous work for Arlen had been mostly uncredited roles and Rogers only had about 3 films, I think, to his credit so far) and then here they are thrust into the epic picture that had to be very physically and emotionally draining and they carried it beautifully.

 

Here's the blurb about Gary from the article on TCM's site.

 

Movie buffs will note that Wings was a pivotal step in launching Gary Cooper to big-screen prominence. Cooper - who plays a heroic, not-long-for-this-world pilot ? only appears in one rather brief scene. But his piercing eyes and broad-shoulder bearing burn a hole in the screen.

 

He had appeared in *The Winning of Barbara Worth* a year earlier in a supporting role which he got good reviews for but *Wings* was such a high profile film that it really got him noticed. Gary, Arlen, and Rogers would become good friends during the filming and they were known as the Three Musketeers around the Paramount lot afterwards. Knowing that makes their brief scene together even more poignant to me.

 

Clara Bow being in the film was more of an afterthought as she was such a huge star at the time they knew she would draw in the crowds so the studio put her in the film. She did not like the uniform she had to wear and she kept trying to make it look more girly by wearing a tight belt around it :).

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No one is interested in learning about the cursing scenes in ?Wings?? They were during some of Jack?s close-ups during a couple of the dogfights in the air, when, several times, Jack was angry and he called the Germans ?bas****s?. If you watch closely, you can read his lips. This type of thing was fairly common in some old silent films, and I?ve read that some deaf people complained about it because they could read the lips of the actors. Many of the silent films had spoken-dialogue scripts, because audiences got used to lip-reading words like ?Hello,? and phrases like ?I love you,? even though no one could actually hear them.

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