The Vintagent Classics: The films that inspired us.

NO LIMIT (1935)

Run Time: 1:20:00
Director: Monty Banks
Writer: Walter Greenwood
Key Cast: George Formby, Florence Desmond, Howard Douglas


No Limit is a British musical comedy starring George Formby and Florence Desmond. The film, which was directed by Monty Banks, was made on location at the TT motorcycle race on the Isle of Man. It was the first of eleven films that Formby made with Associated Talking Pictures.

Although Formby had already made two moderately successful films (Boots! Boots! and Off the Dole), No Limit was the film that put him on the road to stardom. It is still regarded as one of his best and funniest, featuring good songs, humorous scenes and numerous stunts.


George Shuttleworth is convinced that he has the talent to win the Isle of Man TT races, despite what his neighbours back home in Wigan may think. During the trials, the brakes go on George’s bike, ‘The Shuttleworth Snap’, which he made himself. As a result, he breaks the TT lap record, becoming an instant motor-cycling star. As the big race approaches, George soon realises that other jealous riders will stop at nothing to make sure he does not take part in the race. An early George Formby film and probably his best.

Bikes: Real motorcycle manufacturers are not referenced in the film, and instead contemporary motorcycles were customized and given fictitious names. For example, Formby rode for the “Rainbow Motorcycle Company” on a 1928 AJS H5 that had been modified and ‘streamlined’ by his character to become the Shuttleworth Snap. Other bikes that were used include a 350cc Ariel that had been flown to the Isle of Man, partly dismantled, in a de Havilland Dragon Rapide.

Stunts: Many of the racing scenes in the film were performed by motorcycling riders from the Isle of Man such as brothers Bertie and Harold Rowell. They were paid £75 per day for their appearances. Members of the Peveril Motor Cycle Club also carried out some of the stunts, including Cyril Standen who crashed into the front-door of the Ballacraine Hotel and the crash into the river at Sulby. Jack Cannell also featured as a stunt rider wearing bib number 15.

Harold Rowell ended up performing more of the rider scenes than any other member of the Peveril Motorcycle and Light Car Club. At one stage members of the club, engaged in the stunts, staged a walkout in order to gain a better financial deal. They were originally offered £2 per day, but they subsequently discovered that the two professionals and a number of less experienced riders were being paid £20 per week, plus accommodation at the Majestic Hotel.

Formby did perform some stunts himself including the scene where his character weaves in and out of his rival’s machines on the Cronk-y-Voddy Straight. At the climax of the film, Formby needs to win the race by pushing his bike the final 500 yards to the winning line. In the scene used in the film, Formby is seen collapsing. This was real; after doing 15 takes in hot weather, he fell down and a doctor was requested.


Watch the full film on The Vintagent VIMEO channel HERE