Banks is a member of the Irish gentry, circa 1889, who falls in love with Annabella, a beautiful Spanish gypsy. In spite of pressure applied by Banks's uppercrust family and peers, the two are wed. Their marriage ends tragically when Banks dies after being thrown from a horse. Annabella
goes back to Spain where she is once more accepted into the gypsy fold. Three generations pass, and the woman (now played by Vanbrugh) returns to Ireland, bringing with her a horse she plans to enter in the famed Epsom Downs Derby. Also joining Vanbrugh is her granddaughter, played by Annabella in
a dual role. Annabella disguises herself as a boy, hoping to ride her grandmother's horse in the Derby. She meets Fonda, a Canadian horse trainer, who quickly learns the girl's secret. At a party Fonda sees Annabella dressed in a lovely evening dress, and is immediately smitten. Despite
Annabella's engagement to Underdown, the two fall in love and work together at winning the Derby. Their efforts, despite some trials and tribulations, pay off when Vanbrugh's horse wins the race. Underdown realizes Annabella loves Fonda, so he breaks their engagement, leaving his ex-fiancee free
to marry. This was the first British film shot in Technicolor, and the process was utilized to its fullest extent. WINGS OF THE MORNING is subtle in color, using soft tones to capture the English and Irish countrysides. Compared with the often garish use of Technicolor by American filmmakers, the
effect is marvelous, creating a genuinely beautiful film that never overpowers the eye with brilliant hues. (Oddly, Fonda had starred in the first outdoor all-Technicolor feature, TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE, made in the US the previous year.) The simple story doesn't ask much of its players but
their combined talents make for a pleasant movie. This was Annabella's first English language film. The French actress--best known to American and British audiences for her work in Rene Clair's LE MILLION--handles her dual role well, though there are moments where her French accent is difficult to
decipher. Fonda is affable in an easygoing role which doesn't require much work on his part. The actor agreed to make this film simply because it gave him an excuse to take his first trip abroad. He enjoyed working on screen with Annabella, but, when the actress tried to extend their amour to
private life as well, Fonda took to leaving the set immediately after the day's shooting was completed. Annabella was a married woman, and Fonda had no desire to get involved in a sticky extramarital affair. He successfully dodged the actress but one day was confronted by Annabella's husband. The
man had received a letter from his wife claiming she and Fonda were now lovers. Fonda was able to convince the man no such affair was taking place, and the production continued with no further incidents between the costars. However, Fonda did find romance during the film's shooting in a most
unexpected manner. A group of Americans touring England paid a visit to the set after asking permission to see a film in production. Among the visitors was socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw. She and Fonda were taken with one another and were eventually married.
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- Review: Banks is a member of the Irish gentry, circa 1889, who falls in love with Annabella, a beautiful Spanish gypsy. In spite of pressure applied by Banks's uppercrust family and peers, the two are wed. Their marriage ends tragically when Banks dies after being… (more)