Lilac Time (1928, starring Gary Cooper!)

Full of spectacular aerial battle scenes unprecedented for the late Twenties — as well as equally explosive romantic fireworks between an impossibly fresh-faced Gary Cooper and radiant silent era superstar Colleen Moore — Lilac Time is the long-forgotten perfect companion to Wings, the 1927 dogfight opera that won the very first Best Picture Oscar. Modern audiences will be familiar with Lilac Time’s swooning war story, in which a beautiful young French girl falls in love with the dashing English soldier who stumbles into her life, but will surprise you is the subtlety and warmth with which this film unfolds. On a virtual suicide mission during WWI, Cooper’s Air Force captain happens upon Moore, a lilac farmer’s daughter — and while the brutal realities of war threaten to derail their soaring romance (lovingly and gently rendered amongst breathtaking pastoral settings), the intensity of their resolve escalates along with the challenges that keep them apart. Come revel in Lilac Time’s stunning sights, presented in a Library of Congress archival 35mm print!
Dir. George Fitzmaurice, 1928, 35mm, 80 min. (Archival 35mm print courtesy of the Library Of Congress)