This 1927 silent feature won the first Academy Award for best picture, establishing a tradition of silliness that hasn't been broken to this day, but there is some thrilling flying footage and impressively expensive spectacle. Director William Wellman was a veteran of the World War I dogfights portrayed in the film, but he doesn't let experience stand in the way of boyish fantasy. A love story with nurse Clara Bow as the apex of a romantic triangle has been superimposed on the action, though Wellman—typically—invests all the film's warmth and sentiment in the friendship between her two suitors, Buddy Rogers and Richard Arlen. With Jobyna Ralston and a supporting appearance by Gary Cooper.
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