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The Sky's The Limit

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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(Apr 19, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

Fred Astaire finds a new dance partner in Joan Leslie in this delightful wartime musical. Fred portrays an ace with the highly regarded Flying Tigers squad. On leave in New York City on an eight-day furlough, Fred decides to forego any possible hero worship because of his uniform and dons civilian clothes. It so happens he meets and falls for Joan, a magazine photographer, and sets out to win her heart at all costs. The twist is that Joan is dedicated to the war effort and considers Fred - who is keeping his military role a secret - a n'er-do-well for not displaying any interest. But the pair are interested in each other and manage to set New York awhirl with some great dance numbers before Fred must return to the wartorn skies.

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Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Leslie, Robert Benchley, Robert Ryan, Elizabeth Patterson, Marjorie Gateson Fred Astaire
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Archive
  • DVD Release Date: April 19, 2012
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007MDR7R2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,027 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
To save stocking fees (I guess) Amazon prints some of these (more obscure) DVDs after an order is placed. This is great because it makes the DVD accessible. However, the print quality is just acceptable and there are no special features included. More importantly and frustrating about the print "on demand" DVDs is that they do not include a chapter menu where one can go directly to a specific scene if necessary.
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The terms Icon and Iconic are freely used by the erudite and the uninformed, as well, to characterize the place of this temporary star or that occasional player as they spin their way in and out of the spotlight never to be heard from again. In Fred Astaire, Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, we have three guys who, time and again over long careers could be counted upon to deliver the real goods (and some clunkers occasionally). Alec Wilder, in his study of American Songs in the first half of the twentieth century, spoke glowingly of Shining Hour as a song almost prayerful in its resonance; although not here given the performance it should have had by Astaire (who does only a nice parody of it). Nonetheless, it is haunting in its role as a reverberant theme throughout the film. Astaires performance of the barroom song, beginning "Its quarter to three..." became and remained the classic boozy lament; true, for younger audiences who did not remember the earlier version, Frank Sinatra captured the song for himself (as he made a Paul Anka song his trademark though the songwriter/performer had designed it for Paul Anka to sing), Sinatra does one of his best jobs on it and deserves full credit, but Astaire's rendition remains sui generis. How better to characterize Fred's dancing than as dances by Astaire. There were none better than him...and he came first. By highlighting the three who made the film, I don't ignore Robert Benchley, humorist of the baffled average man. His defeated second fiddle lover is distinctive and, in addition, we get a brief illustration of the monological style which earned him an Oscar for a short subject he did.Read more ›
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I had the opportunity to watch this film on the big screen many decades after its release (mid 1990s?)at the Stanford Theater in Palo Alto California (the theater restored in all its Art Deco glory). Joan Leslie, Astaire's costar, was present with her family and the theater did it right; Leslie was driven up in a vintage Packard limosine, with clieg lights waving across the sky. At the start of the film Leslie spoke about her making of the film (she was 17, and Astaire was in his mid fourties), and how, because she was so young at the time and had a very tight schedule between school, making movies, etc, that she had never seen the Hollywood premier. She was incredibly gracious and articulate and it was fun seeing her children and husband watch their mother/wife treated like Hollywood royalty for the first time in their lives. The memory has stayed with me and given the film a special place in my heart and in my movie collection.

The film centers on Astaire, a Flying Tigers pilot home on leave from China before the US entry into WW II, posing as a diletante and Leslie (working for an aircraft manufacturer) trying to "rehabilitate" this intriguing man she just met, all while they are romancing and falling in love. It's a fun B&W movie getting America ready for war and another Astaire "everyman" role with lots of story telling through song and dance. The movie provided a nostalgic trip down memory lane and is highly recommended!
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Format: DVD
With Fred Astaire's most lauded works being readily available to the public, I've always thought it a great treat to stumble into his lesser known, harder-to-find films. THE SKY'S THE LIMIT qualifies as such, and it's a darn good movie. Here, Astaire has a more dramatic role than usual and he proves to be capable in it. Meanwhile, there's the usual excellent dancing and the showcasing of two great song standards.

Fred plays Fred Atwell, an ace pilot of the world famous Flying Tigers. After another successful mission, the Tigers are sent on a stateside promotional tour, but Fred, wanting to get away from it all for a bit, decides to skip out and have fun on his own. He ends up in a New York nightclub and meets fledgling magazine photographer Joan Manion (Joan Leslie), whom he rapidly rubs the wrong way. Not wishing to be bombarded with questions re the Flying Tigers, he presents himself as a carefree, out-of-work fella named Fred Burton. Fred goes on the chase and eventually wins Joan over. But it doesn't take long before she begins to question Fred's casual work ethic and seemingly aimless nature (as set in the WW2 backdrop, these are especially frowned on qualities). Things get even more thorny when his casual fling turns serious as Fred, knowing that he's only on a short leave and must soon depart, finds himself falling hard for Joan.

THE SKY'S THE LIMIT, released in 1943, isn't one of Fred Astaire's best when compared to his many classic pictures (I still rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars). When viewed strictly on its own merit, it becomes a more accomplished work. Part of the reason that this film didn't perform as well as hoped in the box office was that it was promoted strictly as a lighthearted musical-comedy.
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