7.2/10
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58 user 38 critic

Cabin in the Sky (1943)

Passed | | Fantasy, Musical | 9 April 1943 (USA)
A compulsive gambler dies during a shooting, but he'll receive a second chance to reform himself and to make up with his worried wife.

Directors:

Vincente Minnelli, Busby Berkeley (uncredited)

Writers:

Joseph Schrank (screen play), Lynn Root (based upon the book of the musical play by)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ethel Waters ... Petunia Jackson
Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson ... Little Joe Jackson
Lena Horne ... Georgia Brown
Louis Armstrong ... The Trumpeter
Rex Ingram ... Lucius / Lucifer Jr.
Kenneth Spencer Kenneth Spencer ... The General / Rev. Green
John W. Bubbles ... Domino Johnson (as 'Bubbles' [John W. Sublett])
Oscar Polk ... The Deacon / Fleetfoot
Mantan Moreland ... First Idea Man
Willie Best ... Second Idea Man
Fletcher Rivers Fletcher Rivers ... Third Idea Man (as Moke [Fletcher Rivers])
Leon James Poke Leon James Poke ... Fourth Idea Man (as Poke [Leon James])
Bill Bailey Bill Bailey ... Bill
Ford Washington Lee Ford Washington Lee ... Messenger Boy (as 'Buck' [Ford L. Washington])
Butterfly McQueen ... Lily
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Storyline

Chronic gambler and carouser "Little" Joe Jackson is shot by Domino Johnson at Jim Henry's gambling club over an outstanding gambling debt. Little Joe's wife, the God-fearing Petunia Jackson, prays not only for her husband's mortal life, but also his eternal soul as she's afraid that if he dies now, he, despite not being an evil man, won't make it into heaven. As Little Joe is close to death, he is visited by agents of both the Lord and of Lucifer. They make a deal with him: they will give him six months to atone for the errors of his human life. Once back on Earth, he won't remember the deal but both the Lord and Lucifer will be watching over him, trying to get him to see things their way. As both sides try to get Little Joe's soul, they figure that some of the most powerful tools they have at their disposal are the women in Little Joe's life: Petunia on behalf of the Lord, and Georgia Brown, a gold-digging floozy, on behalf of Lucifer. As hard as both the Lord and Lucifer try to get... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hell | shooting | prayer | church | singer | See All (46) »

Taglines:

Lena Horne (Gorgeous Song-Bird) See more »

Genres:

Fantasy | Musical

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 April 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cabin in the Sky See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$662,141 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,606,624, 31 December 1943
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is generally credited with the first appearance of the "moon walk" dance step. It is performed by Bill Bailey, brother of Pearl Bailey. See more »

Goofs

During the final fight scene, Little Joe kicks Domino Johnson across the room and into a table. Over the table you can see the cable that pulled the actor across the room. See more »

Quotes

Jim Henry: [Petunia orders a drink at Jim Henry's] What'll it be, Miss Jackson?
Petunia Jackson: You may get me a double King Kong!
See more »


Soundtracks

Things Ain't What They Used to Be
(1942) (uncredited)
Written by Mercer Ellington
Performed by Duke Ellington Orchestra and dancers
[Played as the dancers pair up and move from the sidewalk into the Paradise Club]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Enjoy the DVD... Beware the commentary!
20 January 2006 | by benoit-3See all my reviews

This exquisite first film by Vincente Minnelli just came out on DVD along with another all-Black musical of the period starring Lena Horne, "Stormy Weather". As delightful as both those films are, and although they are produced by two different companies, their DVD presentation is marred by audio commentaries by the very same Dr. Todd Boyd, Professor of critical studies at USC. To call the man a pompous bore would be to imitate him by stating the obvious. These commentaries, which are all about painfully deconstructing every single aspect of the racial clichés and supposedly harmful depictions of Black people contained in those films and are full of precious profundities like "Notice how the dancers smile too much, which is a hateful racial stereotype", were evidently put together in a commendable spirit of political correctness. Unfortunately, the good Doctor has a tendency to repeat every worthwhile point he makes at least five times and is totally blind to the wonderful qualities of those films, with the end result that he robs the viewing experience of all joy, discovery, wonderment and spontaneity. He also fails to point out the qualities and positive aspects of each production and is totally unreliable when it comes to identifying wonderful performers (and performances) who will otherwise remain eternally nameless, undocumented and unpraised. The harm done is less pronounced on the "Cabin in the Sky" DVD, where his debunking and killjoy duties are somewhat mitigated by the presence of his colleague Prof. Drew Casper, who is at least knowledgeable about the films of Minnelli, and relatives of Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, who do a good job describing the human side of the real star of the film. "Cabin in the Sky" is one of the best fantasy-comedy-musical films ever made and boasts some of the best stage and recording talents of the XXth Century. When you watch it, do yourself a big favour: Enjoy it for what it is - a masterpiece - and turn Professor Boyd's platitudes off!!!


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