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Sunday, June 8, 2008

THE WINGS OF EAGLES (1957)

You’ve got to wade thru a mighty sea of ham-fisted Army/Navy slapstick donnybrooks to reach the often extraordinary heights in John Ford’s bio-pic of his friend & collaborator Frank ‘Spig’ Wead. At its best when detailing the impossible romantic bond between John Wayne’s Spig & his wife (Maureen O’Hara), there’s also a compellingly odd love match between Wayne & his loyal Navy-mate Dan Dailey, especially during their workouts when Spig becomes paralyzed. It’s a one-of-a-kind epic, alternately tender, romantic, pig-headed, coarsely obvious & emotionally devastating. Wayne, playing under his own hair, is amazing here, and there’s good fun in watching Ward Bond ‘do’ John Ford in a cameo perf. Just be prepared to hold tight during the many cringe-worthy bits, the payoff is worth the effort.

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