6.6/10
643
30 user 12 critic

The Sky's the Limit (1943)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 13 July 1943 (USA)
Flying Tiger Fred Atwell sneaks away from his famous squadron's personal appearance tour and goes incognito for several days of leave. He quickly falls for photographer Joan Manion, ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(original screenplay), (original screenplay)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $17.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Blue Skies (1946)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Jed Potter looks back on a love triangle conducted over the course of years and between musical numbers. Dancer Jed loves showgirl Mary, who loves compulsive nightclub-opener Johnny, who ... See full summary »

Directors: Stuart Heisler, Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Joan Caulfield
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Lady Alyce Marshmorton must marry soon, and the staff of Tottney Castle have laid bets on who she'll choose, with young Albert wagering on "Mr. X." After Alyce goes to London to meet a beau... See full summary »

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Fred Astaire, George Burns, Gracie Allen
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An aviator and band leader who is always getting his group fired for his flirtatious behavior with the female guests soon finds himself falling for an engaged woman.

Director: Thornton Freeland
Stars: Dolores del Rio, Gene Raymond, Raul Roulien
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After his wife discovers a telltale diamond bracelet, impresario Martin Cortland tries to show he's not chasing after showgirl Sheila Winthrop. Choreographer Robert Curtis gets caught in ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Lanfield
Stars: Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Robert Benchley
Carefree (1938)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A psychiatrist agrees to hypnotize his friend's girlfriend in order to convince her to accept his proposals of marriage, but she ends up falling for the psychiatrist instead.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Ralph Bellamy
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The Acunas, a rich Argentine family, have the tradition that the daughters have to get married in order, oldest first. When sister #1 gets married, sisters #3 and #4 put pressure on Maria, ... See full summary »

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Adolphe Menjou
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A successful but constantly-feuding husband and wife musical comedy team threatens to break up when the wife entertains an offer to become a serious actress.

Director: Charles Walters
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Oscar Levant
Fantasy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Johnny Riggs, a con man on the lam, finds himself in a Latin-American country named Patria. There, he overhears a convent-bred rich girl praying to her guardian angel for help in managing ... See full summary »

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Fred Astaire, Lucille Bremer, Frank Morgan
Roberta (1935)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In Paris, a man clueless about fashion suddenly inherits his aunt's dress shop, while his bandleader friend reunites with his old flame.

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Irene Dunne, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers
Second Chorus (1940)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

When perennial college students Danny O'Neill and Hank Taylor are forced to make it on their own, the competitive pair get jobs with Artie Shaw's band and reunite with ex-manager Ellen Miller.

Director: H.C. Potter
Stars: Fred Astaire, Paulette Goddard, Artie Shaw
Biography | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The story of married couple Irene Castle and Vernon Castle, sensational ballroom dancers prior to World War I.

Director: H.C. Potter
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edna May Oliver
Royal Wedding (1951)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Tom and Ellen Bowen are a brother and sister dance act whose show closes in New York. Their agent books them in London for the same period as the Royal Wedding. They travel by ship where ... See full summary »

Director: Stanley Donen
Stars: Fred Astaire, Jane Powell, Peter Lawford
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Phil Harriman
...
Reginald Fenton
...
Mrs. Fisher
...
Canteen Hostess
Freddie Slack ...
Freddie Slack - Leader of His Orchestra
Freddie Slack and His Orchestra ...
Freddie Slack's Orchestra
Edit

Storyline

Flying Tiger Fred Atwell sneaks away from his famous squadron's personal appearance tour and goes incognito for several days of leave. He quickly falls for photographer Joan Manion, pursuing her in the guise of a carefree drifter. Written by Diana Hamilton <hamilton@gl.umbc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Here's a thrill, new and gay! It's a dance filled holiday!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 July 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lookout Below  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Joan Leslie's mouthed words at the fadeout were intended to be indecipherable. See more »

Goofs

When Fred's escort in the parade shows him to the door at the hotel, she turns as the hotel room doors open. The next frame, they are back together in their original positions before the door opened. This is supported by the later photo of them that Robert Benchley shows Fred at the bar after creating the Flying Tiger drink. See more »

Quotes

Joan Manion: [Fred and Joan have just finished a dance number] Where did you learn to dance like that?
Fred Atwell: Arthur Murray.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in White Collar: Countermeasures (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Cuban Sugar Mill
(uncredited)
Written by Freddie Slack
Danced by Fred Astaire
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
One reason to watch: "One For My Baby"
10 June 2006 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

The Sky's the Limit is one of Fred Astaire's least known movies, but it contains one of the best solos he ever did. The dance, in which Astaire breaks glasses with his feet, is legendary, but the movie as a whole does not support it. There are, disappointingly, only three dance numbers in the film, the plot never jells and much of the movie hovers somewhere between low-key charm and apathetic tedium. But "One for my baby," which comes near the end of the movie, is well worth the wait.

In this wartime drama Astaire is cast, rather improbably, as a decorated Air Force pilot, home on leave and expected to act as a cardboard hero on an inspirational tour. Irritated by the whole affair, Astaire goes AWOL and winds up in New York, where he encounters Joan Leslie, a bright-eyed photographer who also sings (not very well.) Here's where things get odd. Fred (the main characters bear the actors' real first names) determines to win over Joan in the short space of his leave, but he doesn't tell her that he's in the army, allowing her to think he's a shirker who can't hold down a job and doesn't want to serve his country. Naturally, Joan will have nothing to do with him under these circumstances, even though she likes him. The question is: why does Fred keep his identity secret? Is it because he's afraid of getting caught by the MPs? Because he's simply playing a game with Joan and wants to give himself a handicap? Because he doesn't want her to love him for his uniform and exploits, or because he is bitterly sick of the war and wants to forget it? All of these are possibilities, and if Fred's motivation were fully explored, this might be a really interesting movie about life during wartime. Instead Fred's subterfuge comes across as an excuse to keep the plot going, and it's hard to believe Fred really wants Joan so badly when he won't do the one thing that would allow him to win her. Interesting undercurrents are eliminated by a cop-out ending, in which Joan sees Fred in his uniform and, instead of demanding an explanation, simply melts and gives him a hero's send-off.

Astaire and Leslie have two duets. The first, "I've Got a Lot in Common With You," is up-tempo and extremely charming. The song's flirtatious, bickering lyrics capture the characters' relationship better than the screenplay ever does, and the dance suits Leslie's perky style. She is entertaining the troops in a canteen; Astaire insists on joining her, and she tries to cover up for him until she realizes—that he's Fred Astaire. As they take their bows she asks, "Where did you learn to dance like that?" and Astaire responds sarcastically, "Arthur Murray." (Arthur Murray ran a chain of dance studios that would, in the words of a contemporary song, "teach you dancing in a hurry.") The second duet is the standard romantic adagio, set to the soaring Harold Arlen song "My Shining Hour." It's just fine, though Leslie lacks Ginger Rogers's slenderness and fluid grace.

When Fred believes he has lost Joan for good, he begins bar-hopping; his drunken gloom and the forlorn late-night settings are both well evoked. It's a revelation to hear Astaire sing the Arlen standard "One For My Baby." Frank Sinatra's definitive version is sung way behind the beat, slow and pensive, while Astaire's version has a driving blues rhythm. He winds up alone in a fancy hotel bar with a wide marble floor, a mirror and shelves of glasses. He slumps on a stool, precariously off balance; when he sets down his brandy glass the stem breaks, and he snaps too. He starts pacing like a caged beast, lashes out and breaks another glass on a low table with his foot. Hearing a snatch of "My Shining Hour," he dances a few steps of the remembered duet. Then the blues rhythm comes back and he leaps onto the bar and starts tapping. His movements are taut, fierce, edgy. This dance fully explores the danger in Astaire's explosive tapping; its rhythm is not crisp and regular like Gene Kelly's but erratic, unpredictable, violent. This quality comes out playfully in Top Hat when he "shoots" the male chorus-members, and in the "firecracker" solo in Holiday Inn. Darkness and dramatic tension appear in "Let's Face the Music and Dance," from Follow the Fleet, which starts with despair and attempted suicide. All of those were stage numbers; this one is for real, and there is more depth, nuance and emotional weight in the dance than in the rest of the movie. While the solo is inspired by destructive anger and climaxes with Astaire kicking over shelves of glasses and finally hurling a stool at the mirror, it transforms violence into grace and restores Astaire's equilibrium. After paying off the shocked bartender, he flips his hat up off the floor with his foot and saunters out with that inimitable swinging, one-hand-in-the-pocket walk. The movie should end here; it's clear that Fred will get over losing Joan, and it would be right if he paid for his self-defeating behavior. But this is a romantic comedy and a happy ending is required.

A genuinely touching moment occurs before that ending. Robert Benchley, as Joan's boss, has been his usual buffoonish self, and delivered one of his patented dithering, scrambled lectures. He knows the truth about Fred and deliberately sends Joan where he knows she will encounter him, despite being in love with her himself. Benchley tells the excited Joan that he'll be at the airport to see her off and she'll recognize him: "I'll be the fat man with the broken heart."


23 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?