a film by William A Wellman
1927 | 141 mins | US
›› Wings
the most well known manly encounter of the silent era.
Wings by William A Wellman Some films deserve specific mention in the Gay Hall of Fame and this is one such occasion. Not that this Academy® Award winning feature is anything but a stirring depiction of the bloody reality of World War I. Yet it is also a film that holds one of earliest celluloid depictions of the close bond and read into that what you will, between two men.

Not that Jack (Charles 'Buddy' Rogers) and David (Richard Arlen) were close to begin with, given affairs of the heart were soon to take centre stage in the form of local girls Sylvia Lewis (Jobyna Ralston) and sweet girl next door Mary Preston (Clara Bow). Only and like any good melodrama, love naturally does not run smooth, as Mary has a crush on Jack, only for Jack to have fallen for Sylvia, who in turn has the hots for David. Yet who David loves is open to interpretation, holding Sylvia’s love letters close to his heart, whilst extending longing glances into the eyes of Jack, all of which prompted many at the time and in later years, to view this film from a different perspective. And suffice to say that as in real life, it is a story in which not everyone who enlisted in the Armed Forces, made it out alive.

Wings by William A Wellman Noted for being the film to win the Most Outstanding Production (forerunner to the Best Picture) Oscar® at the first ever Academy® Award ceremony, here director and noted World War I fighter pilot William A Wellman crafted his personal tribute to the Flying Corps. Yet in showcasing the valour of their service by way of a series of memorable air battles, Wellman did not shy away from depicting the bloody brutality of war and inparticular the horrors of trench warfare. Yet this work is equally remembered for its gay kiss in the closing reel, namely how the bravest of the brave were not afraid to show their feelings to each other.

That it remains one of the first films to feature an overt male-to-male kiss, goes without saying, having become one of the earliest surviving and consequently the most well known manly encounter of the silent era, one that was already living on borrowed time, given the dawn of the talkies lay just around the cinematic corner.

Gay Visibility - male-to-male kiss. 
Nudity - brief bare-arsed cheek. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 
starring: Clara Bow, Charles 'Buddy' Rogers, Richard Arlen, Jobyna Ralston, El Brendel,
Richard Tucker, Gary Cooper, Gunboat Smith, Henry B Walthall, Roscoe Karns,
Julia Swayne Gordon and Arlette Marchal
Copyright 2010 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #291
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