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Silent Era Films on Home Video
Reviews of silent film releases on home video.
Copyright © 1999-2014 by Carl Bennett
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Wings
(1927)
 

This first Academy Award® winner for Best Picture features Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers, Richard Arlen, Clara Bow and a youthful Gary Cooper in a tale of two young aviators fighting the European war during World War I. William A. Wellman established himself as an A-list director with the production of Wings (1927).

2012 Paramount Home Entertainment Blu-ray Disc edition

Wings (1927), color-tinted and color-toned black & white, 144 minutes, not rated [Canada PG].

Paramount Home Entertainment, 14481, UPC 0-97361-44814-5, ISBN 1-4157-6211-2.
Pillarboxed 16:9 1080p MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, one single-sided Blu-ray Disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, DTS-HD 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, French, Portuguese and Spanish language subtitles, chapter stops, standard BD keepcase, $29.99.
BD release date: 24 January 2012
Country of origin: USA
This Blu-ray Disc edition of William A. Wellman’s Wings (1927) has been remastered in high-definition from a duplicate 35mm negative held by Paramount. The film underwent a frame-by-frame digital restoration of the picture, removing emulsion scratches and nitrate decomposition. Special color effects and color tints, replicating the original release prints, are a feature of this new home video edition.

Much of the film is presented in a yellowish color toning. After the intermission, the Paris sequence is presented in traditional sepia toning.

The film is accompanied by a new recording of the orchestral music score by J.S. Zamecnik arranged by Dominick Hauser and with pianist Frederick Hodges, is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 surround sound, with period sound effects have been added to the soundtrack by Academy Award winning sound designer Ben Burtt to evoke a silent era viewing experience. Uncharacteristic of the silent era, the music takes a backseat to the sound effects when the action starts.

An alternative accompaniment is the beloved theatre organ music score performed by Gaylord Carter in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
2012 Paramount Home Entertainment DVD edition

Wings (1927), color-tinted and color-toned black & white, 144 minutes, not rated [Canada PG].

Paramount Home Entertainment, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 1, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, French, Portuguese and Spanish language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $24.99.
DVD release date: 24 January 2012
Country of origin: USA
This DVD edition of William A. Wellman’s Wings (1927) has been remastered in high-definition from a duplicate 35mm negative held by Paramount. The film underwent a frame-by-frame digital restoration of the picture, removing emulsion scratches and nitrate decomposition. Special color effects and color tints, replicating the original release prints, are a feature of this new home video edition.

The film is accompanied by a new recording of the orchestral music score by J.S. Zamecnik arranged by Dominick Hauser and with pianist Frederick Hodges, is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 surround sound, with period sound effects have been added to the soundtrack by Academy Award winning sound designer Ben Burtt to evoke a silent era viewing experience. An alternative accompaniment is the beloved theatre organ music score performed by Gaylord Carter in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
200? eMoviez DVD edition

Wings (1927), black & white, 139 minutes, not rated.

eMoviez, no catalog number, no UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD-R disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $22.99.
DVD release date: 200?
Country of origin: USA
This DVD-R edition made have been mastered from 16mm film elements.

The film is accompanied by a music score performed on theater pipe organ.

 
This Region 0 NTSC DVD-R edition is available directly from EMOVIEZ.
1999 BoYing DVD edition

Wings (1927), black & white, 138 minutes, not rated.

BoYing, BD108, no UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered? DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound (processed from stereo source) and AC-3 5.1 surround sound (processed from stereo source), English language intertitles, permanent Chinese language subtitles, 12 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, unknown suggested list price.
DVD release date: 1999
Country of origin: Hong Kong

Ratings (1-10): video: 7 / audio: 7 / additional content: 0 / overall: 7.

This Chinese DVD edition, which is occasionally available from sellers on eBay, reveals an OK-looking disc (mastered from a substandard source) that is a little on the dark grey side overall. This edition has nonremoveable Chinese subtitles.

The presentation features the same Gaylord Carter pipe organ music score that was available on Paramount Home Video editions of the film on laserdisc and VHS videotape.

This would be an OK disc for collectors who can’t wait for Paramount Home Video to decide to release the film on an American DVD edition. Owners of the laserdisc edition may not want to bother tracking down this one.
1997 unidentified Chinese DVD edition

Wings (1927), black & white, 138 minutes, not rated.

Unidentified home video company, GU-X4062, no UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one double-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, PCM 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, permanent Chinese language subtitles, 8 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, unknown suggested list price.
DVD release date: December? 1997
Country of origin: Hong Kong

Ratings (1-10): video: 7 / audio: 7 / additional content: 0 / overall: 7.

This early Chinese DVD edition of Wings popped up for sale on eBay in 2000. Be aware that often these discs are usually directly mastered from inferior video sources like laserdisc or VHS videotape and are manufactured under less than ideal conditions. These discs are cheaply manufactured to turn a quick and sometimes illegal buck, and the manufacturers often show little care for the quality of the final product.

There is no indication of manufacturer on the packaging or the label of this two-sided ‘flipper’ disc, which has been mastered from a reasonably good quality video source. The disc is likely to have been mastered from the American laserdisc edition from the 1990s, given that the A side of this disc is just over 48 minutes long (the length of the A side of the three-sided laserdisc edition?), with the bulk of the film on the B side.

The film is presented with the Gaylord Carter pipe organ music score that accompanies all known home video editions of Wings.
Other silent era CLARA BOW films available on home video.

Other silent era CHARLES ‘BUDDY’ ROGERS films available on home video.

Other silent era RICHARD ARLEN films available on home video.

Other silent era GARY COOPER films available on home video.

Other WORLD WAR I FILMS of the silent era available on home video.

Other AVIATION FILMS of the silent era available on home video.
 
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