The video version of this review (which I made in March 2014) can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkZ9o_hO7_0
Something I neglected to mention in my last installment of this series is that Wings (1927) was the first silent film, and also the last until The Artist (2011), to win a Best Picture Academy Award. Wings, despite any problems I have with it, epitomizes how far silent movies had come since the late 1800s. Motion pictures were no longer filmed plays nor little scenes designed to simply show off the novelty of moving images. Cinema could now tell epic stories about war (Wings) and small, intimate tales about two people experiencing severe marital problems (Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, 1927). Simply put, filmmakers had learned and mastered the grammar of silent pictures and knew how to make them.
Then came talkies, and everything had to be relearned. For the first time, many Hollywood writers, directors, and actors had to deal with dialogue, the new recording equipment, and the tool of sound in general, all three of which could hinder the storytelling abilities of early sound filmmakers. While Hollywood was in the middle of reshaping itself, films like The Broadway Melody (1929) were being made. Continue reading