Wings of the Morning


Drama / Music / Romance / Sport / War

IMDb Rating 5.8 10 216


Downloaded times
March 21, 2020



Henry Fonda as Charles
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
802.25 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
87 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.45 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
87 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 6 / 10 / 10

A Scandalous Marriage, A Derby Horse

Wings of the Morning is both the title of the film and the name of a gypsy horse who rides in the English Derby at Epsom Downs. It was the first modern technicolor film to be shot in the British Isles. To insure quality cinematographer Ray Rennahan who was THE color guy in Hollywood was brought over and he did a first rate job. I guess for good luck Henry Fonda who appeared in the first outdoor technicolor film in the USA came over to appear in this one. In the tradition of Americans appearing in British productions, Fonda plays a Canadian horse trainer with the Irish name of Kerry Gilfallen replete with his Nebraska twang. In fact most of this British production is shot in Ireland and I hope that Wings of the Morning is available to folks in Ireland in any format. Their country is really nicely captured in some really lush greens. And there is some nice color footage of London and the Epsom Derby in the middle Thirties. There are two stories, a brief prologue involving gypsy princess Annabella and the Irish Lord Clontarf played by Leslie Banks. They wed against all convention and soon after, Banks is killed in a riding accident. Of course most of the family snubs the widow and she returns to the gypsies. Fast forward some forty years and Annabella is now playing her own great granddaughter and she's back in Ireland having fled Spain from the revolution going on there. She flees like Katharine Hepburn did in Sylvia Scarlett, in the guise of a boy and fools everybody including horse trainer Henry Fonda. Of course the romance develops and a pair of horses get trained and primed for the Epsom Derby. Horse stories are no different in the UK then they are the USA and if you've seen enough of them on the silver screen you have an idea how the rest of the film goes. Champion jockey Steve Donoghue makes an appearance in Wings of the Morning and lucky indeed we are to have a technicolor filmed appearance of the great John McCormack who favors us with four songs sung at a party scene at Clontarf castle. McCormack was an icon in many an Irish and Irish American household. A great concert singer, he and an Italian tenor named Caruso share equal credit in developing the record industry as they both signed with Edison's fledgling RCA Victor label back in the day. You couldn't find too many Italian households without a Caruso record back in the day nor many Irish households without a gramophone and McCormack records to play on them. During his sequence McCormack sings and reads material, lyrics I'm sure he must have sang a gazillion times. My guess is that he was 53 when Wings of the Morning was made and may have been sustaining memory problems. McCormack died in 1945 and had not sung for several years at that point. Wings of the Morning were it not for McCormack and technicolor would be a rather ordinary race track story. Still it's good entertainment and for folks in Ireland, a must.

Reviewed by Doylenf 7 / 10 / 10

A second try at watching this film was unsuccessful...

It's surprising to read everyone talking about the wonderful early British use of Technicolor for this film, when in fact the color photography (as seen in the print shown on TCM tonight) can best be described as murky, even in the close-ups. Aside from the color, the script is a garbled hodge-podge of strangely related events, clumsily crafted and given stiff acting even by the lovely ANNABELLA. For a better view of this French actress, I suggest you watch one of her later U.S. films called 13 RUE MADELEINE, to fully appreciate her acting abilities. The disjointed story, combined with the lackluster direction and the lame dialog, only undercuts whatever merits are in the film's script. ANNABELLA does nothing here to indicate that she's on the brink of better things in her future and her line readings are less than professional as delivered in her French accent. Why Technicolor was wasted on this below average story is a mystery to me. Fans of Annabella and Henry Fonda are sure to be disappointed. Fox would have been more successful if they'd filmed this horse story here in the U.S. in sunny California for both the interior and exterior shots. Surprised that this unrestored print was the best TCM could do.

Reviewed by trevorwomble 7 / 10 / 10

A slightly odd but historically important film

This is the first true technicolor feature to be made in the UK. The story concerns a beautiful young Spanish gypsy woman (French actress Anna Bella) who flees to England where she falls in love with a Canadian horse trainer (Henry Fonda) against a back drop of the UK's premier horse race, The Derby. The story is a bit unoriginal and the dialogue extremely clunky in places. There is also an element of tweeness to the depictions of gypsy life. Yet despite the so-so plot and (at times) wooden acting there is a certain charm in the film. The Technicolor photography is gorgeous and it provides a very rare colour record of what England & Ireland looked like prior to the second world war. The scenes on Epsom downs are also remarkably well filmed (considering the technical limitations of early technicolor filming on location) and the colour really brings an otherwise very average film to vivid life. There are one or two moments which would make the politically correct viewer squirm, such as the depiction of black & white minstrels. If this film had been made in black & white i suspect it would have been long forgotten now, but as a curio it is a fascinating insight into another era. The photography is beautiful at times and make the film watchable. If only the same care had been taken with the script. Its a shame that this DVD only seems to be available in the U.S. though as i think it is calling out for a decent release.

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