100 New Code Films – #50: “The Sky’s the Limit” from 1943

100 New Code Films

Today is Sunday, so it’s time for the second 100 New Code Films article of the week. This is the 50th article, so we’re halfway through this series! Since this is the end of the twenty-sixth week in 2020, we are also halfway through the year, so we’re right on schedule. The purpose of this series is for me to watch and review 100 American Breen Era (1934-1954) movies which I have never seen before. I will achieve this by watching two new Code movies in all but four weeks this year. In those four extra weeks, I will only watch one new movie.

The Sky's the Limit (1943) - IMDb

Today’s topic is The Sky’s the Limit from 1943. This movie came up on Amazon Prime when I searched Fred Astaire. I was surprised that I had never heard of the film or its leading lady. When I needed to watch my second new Code film of the week on Thursday evening, I decided that this sounded like a nice option. Fred Astaire’s movies are always charming, and I haven’t reviewed a musical in a while.

The Sky's the Limit (RKO, 1943). Half Sheet (22" X 28") Style B ...

Plot

A World War II pilot is given a ten-day leave and is sent on a goodwill tour with the other heroes in his outfit. However, he wants to meet a girl who will learn to like him as a person, not just a war hero. He gets off the train goes to a nightclub, where he sees a beautiful female photographer. Determined to meet the young lady but not spend all their time together talking about his war deeds, he persistently follows her and introduces himself under a false name. He takes a room in the building where she lives, determined to win her heart in the few days he has. She finds herself falling for him, so she is eager to give the shiftless nobody some purpose in life.

The Sky's The Limit (1943) Original Movie Poster at Amazon's ...

Cast

This movie stars Fred Astaire, Joan Lesli, and Robert Benchley. Supporting actors include Robert Ryan, Elizabeth Patterson, Marjorie Gateson, and Freddie Slack and His Orchestra.

The Sky's the Limit (1943)

Production Notes

This movie was directed by Edward H. Griffith. It was produced by David Hempstead with associate producer Sherman Todd. The production company was RKO Radio Pictures. The original screenplay was written by Frank Fenton and Lynn Root. This film introduced three original songs with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Johnny Mercer, “My Shining Hour,” “A Lot in Common with You,” and “One for My Baby.”

The Sky's the Limit (RKO, 1943). Title Lobby Card (11" X 14 ...

Code Compliance

This is a good Code film. It is completely wholesome and decent. There is no content in this film which would make it objectionable for any viewer. Every line, costume, dance, lyric, and scenario is Code compliant. This is one of those lovely, lighthearted, clean musicals which just lifts your spirits. It is a beautiful example of a good Code film.

From The Warner Archive: Fred Astaire vs. Gene Kelly | the diary ...

Recommendation

I highly recommend this film. It is really enjoyable. Fred Astaire’s full talent is on display in this movie. He doesn’t wear his famous top hat and tails ensemble, but he is just as suave and charming in more casual costumes. His dancing is amazing, his singing is charming, and his acting in this funny but determined role is really endearing. For the first part of the film, I was disturbed by the fact that I didn’t recognize leading lady Joan Leslie by name or appearance. However, when she and Fred were performing “A Lot in Common with You,” Fred said, “Where’s Hayworth?” and Joan said, “Where’s Cagney?” I remembered that Rita Hayworth was in two movies with Fred Astaire in 1942, so I began wondering if Miss Leslie was in a movie with James Cagney. Suddenly, I recognized the dancing actress as the leading lady in Yankee Doodle Dandy from 1942. I enjoyed her performance even more after recognizing her. She gives a very good performance as the motivated young photographress who is eager to do something useful in the world and is bothered that Fred doesn’t feel the same way. She is very caring. She doesn’t do her own singing, but her dancing is very good. She really keeps up with Fred in “A Lot in Common with You,” their big dance number. I thought the best musical number in this film was “One For My Baby,” Fred’s big number in a tropical bar which reminded me of Disneyland’s Tiki Room. I had no idea that this Frank Sinatra tune that starts “Set ’em up, Joe” originated in this film. Fred’s rendition is really charming. After singing it in an increasing state of drunkenness during a montage showing multiple bars, he performs an amazing dance routine in the bar which involves tap dancing on the counter and breaking real glasses with his feet. One of the funniest but oddest moments in the film is when Phil Harriman (Robert Benchley), Joan’s employer and devoted admirer, gives an introductory speech at a banquet. He is unbelievably awkward, clumsy, and yet completely unaware of how boring his speech is. It was so realistic that I was getting uncomfortable just from watching it! The World War II setting gives this film an interesting background. This is a fascinating musical voyage into America during World War II. It shows that, even in the midst of crises, Americans can stay strong by helping each other.


My Post

 Click here to join our monthlong celebration of nothing but American Breen Era (1934-1954) movies in honor of the Production Code Administration’s anniversary, #CleanMovieMonth2020!

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Click here to join our upcoming blogathon about American Breen Era movies adapted from classic literature, the Code Classics Blogathon!


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4 thoughts on “100 New Code Films – #50: “The Sky’s the Limit” from 1943

  1. I’ll agree that this is a wonderful movie! Ranks up there as one of my favorite Fred Astaire musicals! I really like Fred’s version of “One For My Baby” (heck, I even did a dance routine to it myself a few times), and I just about can’t stand any other version of the song by anybody else. As far as the dance duets go, I actually prefer Fred and Joan’s duet to the instrumental of “My Shining Hour” over “A Lot In Common With You,” but they’re both fun to watch! Also like Fred’s earlier reference to his former co-star/dance partner Ginger Rogers, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Neil,

      This is a great movie! I’m glad to hear that you really like it, too. After hearing Fred’s rendition of “One for my Baby” only once, I think it’s my favorite, too! “My Shining Hour” is a great duet. The references to his previous partners were really interesting! Thank you for commenting.

      By the way, I don’t think I have invited you to our upcoming events. I would like to invite you to join two events we are hosting in July. Firstly, we are hosting the Code Concepts Blogathon in the middle of the month to celebrate American Breen Era (1934-1954) adaption of classic literature: https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2020/06/06/announcing-the-code-classics-blogathon/. Also, we are hosting a month-long celebration of Code movies called #CleanMovieMonth2020: https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2020/06/09/announcing-cleanmoviemonth2020/. We could really use your talent!

      Yours Hopefully,

      Tiffany Brannan

      Liked by 1 person

        • Dear Neil,

          You’re welcome! I understand if you can’t think of a topic. If you feel inspired to contribute even one post to either event, I would be delighted to feature it. In your other comment, you mentioned how much you like Spencer Tracy. I agree. I too have never seen a performance of his which I didn’t like. “A Guy Named Joe” is a great feature for him! Regarding the Code Classics Blogathon, I don’t know if you have seen this movie, but “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” from 1941 would be a great entry topic. I just thought of that because it stars Spencer Tracy, and you mentioned that you like him. If you decide to participate at the last minute, you can just publish your article and link to the blogathon!

          Yours Hopefully,

          Tiffany Brannan

          Like

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