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Silent film 'Wings' turns 85, will be on DVD

January 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The 1927 silent film "Wings" is back. The 85-year-old movie was the first film to win the Academy Award for best picture, and it becomes available on DVD for the first time next week.

"Wings" is a World War I story about two fighter pilots and the woman they both love. It has been meticulously restored to all its former glory - and maybe then some - and it becomes available on DVD for the first time next week.

The late director, William Wellman, made "Wings."

"He was the only director under contract to Paramount that had frontline battle experience. He was a fighter pilot, a decorated fighter pilot in the Lafayette Flying Corps, so he understood this film, the battles. He had been a part of it for real," said his son, William Wellman Jr. "They had to invent the technology for aerial warfare in the movies."

"Even though it's 1927, the movie actually stands the test of time and that's what makes great movies," said Tom Sherak, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Tuesday's event at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrated just one of Paramount Pictures' many Oscar-winning films.

"It's an extraordinary moment for us and it launches our 100th anniversary, which is a year that will be full of events for older films, newer films and a celebration of cinema and what we've done at Paramount," said Brad Grey, chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. "It's a wonderful night."

It's also pretty special for a guy who originally saw the film 85 years ago.

"I saw this in a theater with my parents in the Bronx, New York, and it was the most extraordinary, exciting thing I'd ever seen," said Carl Reiner.

The Academy's grand lobby currently has an exhibition of items on display from Paramount's 100-year history.