Who’s watching and making predictions for the Oscars tonight? Since Little Women is the only nominated film I’ve seen (Adapted Screenplay and Costume Design), I can claim no rights to make any valid predictions.
What I will be curious to hear is whether any discussion around the Best Picture nominee, 1917, includes talk of the very first Best Picture winner at the 1927 Awards show: WINGS. Released nine years after the end of WWI when silent movies were taking Hollywood by storm, WINGS tells the story of the daring aces of the Lafayette Air Corps. Directed by William Wellman, who went on to other movie fame and received the Directors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, the movie is loosely based on Wellman’s experience as an American aviator during WWI as told in the novel, Go Get ‘Em, which he wrote. Or, so the story goes.
The introduction to Go Get ‘Em was penned by one Eliot H. Robinson, my grandfather. Given the style of prose and his future success in publishing, Robinson family lore contends Eliot ghostwrote Go Get ‘Em for Wellman, who was a family friend from Brookline, MA. My grandfather died in 1942 before any of his grandchildren could ask him about the truth of the story. But, it’s an interesting thought to consider and a myth to carry on.
For my beta readers of Eliza’s story to date, you’ll notice references to Go Get ‘Em. Like Sam Mendes who notes the inspiration for 1917 came from stories he heard from his grandfather, I have also been inspired by stories about my grandfather. Family history is rich fodder for ideas for novels, especially historical fiction.
If 1917 wins tonight, and even if it doesn’t, I wonder if the allure of it is large enough to create a shift in publishing? Will historical fiction finally plug the onslaught of stories tied to WWII and creep back in time to WWI? I’ll be keeping a close eye on new releases, with the hopes that by the time Eliza’s story is finally published, the chapters devoted to the era and events around WWI, will help to capitalize on that hoped for trend.
For anyone interested, WINGS, is available on Amazon Prime Video to rent for $3.99, click HERE. Starring Clara Bow, an actress my mother used to mention, and a small appearance by Gary Cooper, it’s a great look back to the heydays of Hollywood, and makes you appreciate all the more the advances in cinematography.
Eliot H. Robinson, Sr. served in WWI as a Field Secretary for the American Expeditionary Forces and fitness trainer with the YMCA, ended up as an ambulance driver.
Of course, I’ll also be watching tonight for the red carpet fashions. Our niece, Maggie, works in celebrity relations for Louis Vuitton. I’m always excited to see who she’s worked with to showcase dresses from LV. Last year’s dress for Emma Roberts at the Golden Globes was beautiful, IMHO. Fashion Forward, January 13, 2019.
And, anyone interested in the early days of Hollywood, I recommend City of Flickering Light by Juliette Fay. More information on the book and my connection to Juliette here, Shine a Spotlight, April 30, 2019.
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