The rare 35mm print is in possession of The Museum of Modern Art, and the opportunities to attend a screening are scattered, the gaps between them spanning decades. The film is the equivalent of tabloid print and its values (or lack thereof to be precise) on the big screen. While it is quite imperative to judge any type of work (and I am reluctant to preface this word by “art” here) within its historical context, there is nothing naïve about the film that would warrant perceiving it merely as a “product of its time.” The movie is quite obviously exploitative, even vile, the dialogue often unnatural, the acting theatrical, and yet I would encourage people to see it – if they get a chance, that is.
Wings is notable as the very first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, or as the category was then titled: “most outstanding production.” Also recognized for Engineering Effects, the aerial fights and battleground scenes were unparalleled at the time. Some think of Wings as the film that launched Gary Cooper’s career, albeit his appearance was very brief.