The first film ever to win the Best Picture Oscar, William Wellman’s silent WW1 fleeting epic soars thrillingly while it’s airborne, but on the ground it plods.

Wellman served as a pilot during the war and put his experience to potent use. The action sequences still impress, but Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers is a bland hero and it’s hard to care about his romance with Clara Bow’s girl next door.

The guy who should have played the lead shows up, and star quality suddenly blazes from the screen: Gary Cooper in one of his earliest bit-parts.



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