Wings was fully restored and released on Blu-ray on January 24th, 2012.
Because the original negative was lost decades ago, contemporary audiences have only seen WINGS in a compromised form. The restoration process utilized a duplicate negative housed in the Paramount archive, but despite this being the best element available, the negative was beset by damage, including entire reels that were strafed with scratches and printed-in nitrate deterioration that was literally eating into the edges of the frames. Using state-of-the-art digital tools normally used to create special effects, the film was 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.
Andrea Kalas, Paramount’s VP of Archives, said: ” It wasn’t so much a lost film as much as one that couldn’t really be restored until now because the digital restoration technology had to advance. So many films from the silent era do not have original negatives preserved because the concept of film preservation and archiving came many years after the silent era. Our first step was to look around the world to find the best existing original element and it turned out to be one in our own vault. After we had determined we had the best possible material to start with we then did the technical work of scanning that original picture and began correcting the image. Significant scratches, dirt from a film projector — the condition of the image was compromised with age so digital technology allowed us to really honour the original look of the film. It took longer to research than it did [to restore].”
This is amazing they did something like this with “My Fair Lady” as that was damaged.