Now We're in the Air

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Now We're in the Air
Now We're in the Air poster.jpg
Directed byFrank R. Strayer
Produced byAdolph Zukor
Jesse L. Lasky
Written byMonte Brice
Keene Thompson
Thomas J. Geraghty
StarringWallace Beery
Raymond Hatton
Louise Brooks
Music byJames C. Bradford (music compiler) (uncredited)
CinematographyHarry Perry
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • October 22, 1927 (1927-10-22)
Running time
60 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)
Lobby card with Beery at right

Now We're in the Air is a 1927 American silent comedy film directed by Frank R. Strayer, starring the late-1920s intermittent comedy team of Wallace Beery and Raymond Hatton.[1] In a supporting role, Louise Brooks plays twins, one raised French and the other raised German.[2]

Wallace Beery and Louise Brooks worked together the following year in the taut drama Beggars of Life, a well-received early sound film. Hatton also sometimes appeared paired in films with Beery's older brother Noah Beery.


Wally (Wallace Beery) and Ray (Raymond Hatton) are cousins whose grandfather, Lord Abercrombie McTavish (Russell Simpson), is an aviation enthusiast who wanted to sign up as a pilot in the war. Wally and Ray are intent upon getting the fortune of their Scottish grandfather, and decide to show him that they are just as interested in aviation.

Wally and Ray enlist in the United States Army Air Service, and are caught up in the aerial battles over the World War I front lines. When the duo flies over the enemy lines in a runaway balloon, through a misunderstanding, they are honored as heroes of the enemy forces.

The Germans send the aviators back to the U. S. lines as spies for the Kaiser. Here they are captured and almost shot, but everything ends happily. Along the way, Wally and Ray fall in love with twin sisters, Grisette and Griselle (both played by Louise Brooks, one loyal to the French, the other to the Germans).



Beery (right) and Hatton

With the working title of We're Up in the Air Now , Now We're in the Air was the third in a series of war comedies starring Wallace Beery and Raymond Hatton. It followed on the heels of the popular Behind the Front and We're in the Navy Now (both released in 1926).[3]

Most of the footage in Now We're in the Air features Beery and Hatton creating mayhem around a World War I airfield.[4] Along with original aerial scenes, the aerial battle footage was left over from Wings (1927) and intercut into the action.[5] Frank Tomick was hired as the stunt pilot to create additional scenes. He operated out of Griffith Park air field where Paramount had leased the airfield and the National Guard Curtiss JN-4 "Jennies" stationed there.[6][N 1]


Now We're in the Air was popular in its time, although not as well received as the earlier military farces from the Beery/Hatton team. The aerial scenes were an interesting aspect of the production. In a modern re-appraisal, however, reviewer Janiss Garza commented: "In spite of a dual role, Brooks doesn't have much to do; Moving Picture World felt that 'any intelligent extra girl' could have handled the part."[8]

Preservation status: 23 Minutes[edit]

Louise Brooks (in black tutu), Raymond Hatton and Wallace Beery

Now We're in the Air was long believed to be a lost film. Three fragments were discovered in 2016 in a Czech archive: most of the surviving material was incomplete and badly deteriorated but approximately 23 minutes of the original 6 reel film was able to be preserved to the point of crystalline clarity, including a lengthy sequence in which Louise Brooks wears a black tutu. The print was found in Prague at the Czech Národní filmový archiv (the Czech Republic’s National Film Archive) by film preservationist Robert Byrne.

"When Byrne inspected the elements for Rif a Raf, Politi (the Czech title for Now We’re in the Air), he found the film had only partially survived in a state which also showed nitrate decomposition. Additionally, the surviving scenes were found to be out of order, and there were Czech-language titles in place of the original American titles. Byrne spent more than eight months reconstructing the surviving material, including restoring the film’s original English-language intertitles and original tinting."[9]

The preserved print of Now We're in the Air was shown for the first time at The San Francisco Silent Film Festival on June 2, 2017.[10]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Tomick tricked a camera operator who wanted a parachute by giving him one that was packed with a "pillow".[7]


  1. ^ Farmer 1984, p. 322.
  2. ^ Brooks 1982, p. 38.
  3. ^ "Catalog: 'Now We're in the Air'.", 2019. Retrieved: July 16, 2019.
  4. ^ Pendo 1985, p. 79.
  5. ^ Paris 1985, p. 41.
  6. ^ Wynne 1987, p. 59.
  7. ^ Wynne 1987, pp. 59–61.
  8. ^ Garza, Janiss. "Review: 'We're Up in the Air Now'." 2019. Retrieved: July 16, 2019.
  9. ^ Gladysz, Thomas. "Long missing Louise Brooks film found." Huffington Post, October 23, 2017. Retrieved: July 16, 2019.
  10. ^ Gladysz, Thomas. " 'Now We're in the Air' travels the world." San Francisco Silent Film Festival program, June 2, 2017. Retrieved: July 15, 2019.


  • Brooks, Louise. Lulu in Hollywood. New York: Knopf, 1982. ISBN 978-0-39452-071-1.
  • Farmer, James H. Celluloid Wings: The Impact of Movies on Aviation. Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: Tab Books Inc., 1984. ISBN 978-0-83062-374-7.
  • Gladysz, Thomas. Now We're in the Air. New York: PandorasBox Press, 2017. ISBN 978-0-69297-668-5.
  • Paris, Barry. Louise Brooks. New York: Knopf, 1989. ISBN 978-0-39455-923-0.
  • Paris, Michael. From the Wright Brothers to Top gun: Aviation, Nationalism, and Popular Cinema. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1995. ISBN 978-0-7190-4074-0.
  • Pendo, Stephen. Aviation in the Cinema. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1985. ISBN 0-8-1081-746-2.
  • Wynne, H. Hugh. The Motion Picture Stunt Pilots and Hollywood's Classic Aviation Movies. Missoula, Montana: Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., 1987. ISBN 0-933126-85-9.

External links[edit]