Film runs 139 mins. or 144 mins., depending on which score is played.
This first Academy Award winner for Best Picture is truly a marvel of motion picture making. By bolting cameras to airplanes, the film creates some of the greatest battle sequences ever shot. Via the 2012 Paramount restoration, we can finally see the film the way director William A. Wellman wanted it to be seen. The color tinting is restored, the hand-painted flames are there, and most importantly, a new recorded version of the original orchestral score has been paired with the film, sound effects included. At the original 1927 screenings, sound effects were incorporated behind the screen while a full orchestra played the score for the audience. The film tells the story of two young men in World War I. They both love the same woman, although the one who carries her picture is just mistaken in her affections for him. He is loved by his neighbor and friend, played beautifully by Clara Bow. I do feel the film is a bit too long, and the "bubbles" segment gets tiring pretty quickly, but overall it's a masterpiece. Stay away from the beta, VHS, and laserdisc releases. These are only in black and white, very poor picture quality, and feature a dreary organ score. The 2012 DVD and blu-ray releases feature the new restoration, and the 1980s organ score is also available on a separate audio track, if you wish to put yourself through such torture.
Original theatrical aspect ratio: 1.33:1
John Monk Saunders
Hope Loring and Louis D. Lighton
William A. Wellman