First Best Picture Winner Wings To See First-Ever Release On Blu-ray And DVD This January

Paramount Pictures to kick off its centennial celebration by releasing the first Best Picture Oscar winner Wings.

In an early announcement to retailers, Paramount Home Entertainment has told us to expect a “meticulously restored” Wings in store on Jan. 24, 2012. The 1927 World War I drama explores the devastating effects of war through the story of two men who go off to battle and the woman they both leave behind.

Michael Bay would take a similar approach with Pearl Harbor, but besides both being cinematic spectacles, Wings has the distinction of being the first film awarded an Oscar for Best Picture. This landmark in cinema stars Clara Bow, Charles “Buddy” Rogers and Richard Arlen, and also features Gary Cooper in one of his first feature film roles.

Because the original negative was lost decades ago, Paramount resorted to using state-of-the-art digital tools to have the film meticulously restored frame-by-frame. Original tints and effects, such as colors that were embossed onto the film strip to give flames and explosions a fiery look, were also digitally recreated based on a detailed continuity script that still existed and tinting/toning guides from the period.

For this release, the film’s original score was recorded with a full orchestra. Like many silent film scores, the music was a combination of original composition, popular songs of the period and themes from classical music. Musicians with expertise in silent film music were chosen to recreate a truly orchestral experience.

In addition, Academy Award-winning sound designer Ben Burtt (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark) and the outstanding team of sound engineers at Skywalker Sound added World War I sound effects as authentically as possible using library sounds from earlier eras to give viewers a true-to-the-period experience.

The Blu-ray includes the new documentaries “Wings: Grandeur in the Sky,” which gives perspective on the remarkable cinematic achievements of William Wellman and his team of filmmakers; “Dogfight“, which explores the history of early aeronautics; and “Restoring the Power and Beauty of Wings“, which details the painstaking process of returning this monumental epic to its original glory.

The Wings Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition with a newly-restored musical score by J.S. Zamecnik in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and an organ score by Gaylord Carter in 2.0 Dolby Digital that Wings fans may be familiar with, as well as French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

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