IMDb > The Sky's the Limit (1943/I)
The Sky's the Limit
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The Sky's the Limit (1943/I) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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Director:
Writers:
Frank Fenton (original screenplay) and
Lynn Root (original screenplay)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Sky's the Limit on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
13 July 1943 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Flying Tiger Fred Atwell sneaks away from his famous squadron's personal appearance tour and goes incognito for several days of leave... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more »
User Reviews:
One reason to watch: "One For My Baby" See more (29 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Fred Astaire ... Fred Atwell aka Fred Burton

Joan Leslie ... Joan Manion
Robert Benchley ... Phil Harriman

Robert Ryan ... Reginald Fenton
Elizabeth Patterson ... Mrs. Fisher
Marjorie Gateson ... Canteen Hostess
Freddie Slack ... Freddie Slack - Leader of His Orchestra
Freddie Slack and His Orchestra ... Freddie Slack's Orchestra
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Fred Aldrich ... Pilot (uncredited)
Robert Anderson ... Officer (uncredited)

Bobby Barber ... Canteen Waiter (uncredited)
Brooks Benedict ... Dinner Guest (uncredited)
Joseph E. Bernard ... Third Bartender (uncredited)
Eric Blore ... Jackson - Phil's Butler (uncredited)
Ralph Bucko ... Cowboy (uncredited)
Roy Bucko ... Cowboy (uncredited)
Georgia Caine ... Charwoman (uncredited)
Jack Carr ... Customer (uncredited)
James Conaty ... Officer at Dinner (uncredited)
Richard Davies ... Richard Merlin (uncredited)
Henri DeSoto ... Headwaiter (uncredited)
Norma Drury Boleslavsky ... Mrs. Leo Roskowski (uncredited)

Neil Hamilton ... Navy Officer on Train (uncredited)
Al Hill ... Sergeant - Canteen Doorman (uncredited)
Olin Howland ... Driver (uncredited)
Paul Hurst ... Dock Foreman (uncredited)
Dorothy Kelly ... Phil's Secretary (uncredited)
Joseph Kim ... Chinese Official (uncredited)
Clarence Kolb ... Harvey J. Sloan (uncredited)

Peter Lawford ... Naval Commander (uncredited)
Jerry Mandy ... Italian Waiter (uncredited)
Rita Maritt ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Frank McClure ... Officer at Dinner (uncredited)
Ed McNamara ... Mac - First Bartender (uncredited)
Frank Melton ... Navy Office on Train (uncredited)
Ella Mae Morse ... Singer (uncredited)
Al Murphy ... Fourth Bartender (uncredited)

Clarence Muse ... Colonial Club Doorman (uncredited)
William J. O'Brien ... Bartender (uncredited)
Victor Potel ... Joe - Second Bartender (uncredited)
Rhoda Reese ... Powers Model (uncredited)
Larry Rio ... Dancing Soldier (uncredited)
Dick Rush ... Railway Conductor (uncredited)
Clint Sharp ... Cowboy (uncredited)
Jack Shea ... Officer in Nightclub (uncredited)
Ida Shoemaker ... Flower Woman (uncredited)
Anne G. Sterling ... Attractive Woman in the Canteen (uncredited)
Ann Summers ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Ferris Taylor ... Cook (uncredited)
Amelita Ward ... Southern Girl (uncredited)

Directed by
Edward H. Griffith 
 
Writing credits
Frank Fenton (original screenplay) and
Lynn Root (original screenplay)

S.K. Lauren  uncredited
William T. Ryder  story (uncredited)

Produced by
David Hempstead .... producer
Sherman Todd .... associate producer
 
Original Music by
Leigh Harline (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Russell Metty (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Roland Gross 
 
Art Direction by
Carroll Clark 
Albert S. D'Agostino 
 
Set Decoration by
Claude E. Carpenter (set decorations) (as Claude Carpenter)
Darrell Silvera (set decorations)
 
Costume Design by
Renié (gowns)
 
Makeup Department
Mel Berns .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ruby Rosenberg .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
James G. Stewart .... rerecordist
Richard Van Hessen .... recordist
Terry Kellum .... sound (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Vernon L. Walker .... special effects
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Harold Arlen .... music by
Leigh Harline .... musical director
Johnny Mercer .... lyrics by
Sidney Cutner .... music arranger (uncredited)
Maurice De Packh .... music arranger (uncredited)
Gil Grau .... music arranger (uncredited)
Philip Green .... music arranger (uncredited)
Phil Moore .... music arranger (uncredited)
Jack Virgil .... music arranger (uncredited)
Roy Webb .... music arranger (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Fred Astaire .... dances created and staged by
Robert T. Smith .... technical advisor (uncredited)
 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
89 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Iceland:L | UK:U | UK:U (video rating) (1986) (1997) (2010) | USA:Approved (PCA #9127)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
During the build-up to the finale of "I've Got a Lot In Common With You", Fred's part of the routine passively disturbs the soldier he met before the number who needed to go to town when he dances.See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: Joan (played by Joan Leslie) refers to polyps as "little fish", when they are actually a structural form of cnidarians. Common polyps include Coral, Sea Anemones, Hydras, and Jellyfish.See more »
Quotes:
Joan Manion:You know, purely in a sociological way, you interest me. A little.
Fred Atwell:Well, it's a beginning, isn't it?
Joan Manion:Don't get me wrong! What interests me is this passion you seem to have for having your picture taken.
Fred Atwell:Let's talk it over.
[to bartender]
Fred Atwell:I'll have the same, please.
Joan Manion:You know, I'm supposed to be taking pictures of celebrities.
Fred Atwell:Couldn't I be the fellow who never gets his name mentioned? The one they call 'a friend'? You know: 'Ginger Rogers - and friend.'
See more »
Soundtrack:
Touch of TexasSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
21 out of 23 people found the following review useful.
One reason to watch: "One For My Baby", 10 June 2006
Author: imogensara_smith from New York City

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."

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