This new era of re-releases has definitely got its perks. Whether it’s seeing a modern classic like Jurassic Park return home to theaters or a movie from out of the mist of the past, it’s the kind of cash-grab that should be celebrated. What other time in your life would you be able to see the 1927 silent flick about pilots in WWI bravely battling (and kissing each other) as it was meant to be seen?
Cinemark Theaters will play Wings – the first Best Picture Oscar winner – in select theaters on Wednesdays May 2nd and 16th. Those participating theaters can be found on the Cinemark website. The print has been completely restored. What’s crazy is that they’re showing in their Extreme Digital auditoriums, which means they much have restored the hell out of it.
The movie itself is one of William A. Wellman’s masterpieces. It also represents big budget studio thinking in the earliest years of commercial movie production; Paramount poured $2m into the Clara Bow, Richard Arlen and Charles Rogers-starring epic. That’s a modern equivalent of $24m, which doesn’t seem like much, but at the time movies typically topped out at $1m budgets, so doubling it was a huge investment to make in the mid-1920s. This re-release is an excellent opportunity to see it in all of its large-scale glory. And, of course, to witness the first same-sex on-screen kiss. This flick was groundbreaking in more ways than one.
On a separate note, if we all support re-releases like this, imagine what other classic films might get paraded in front of us. If the studios see an advantage to sending the oldies back into theaters, there’s no telling what kind of lost marvels we might be able to witness in that larger than life magic that only the theater provides.