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A Southern Yankee (1948)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 321 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 2 critic

A hapless bellboy in a St. Louis hotel near the end of the Civil War is recruited by the Union secret service to impersonate a notorious Confederate spy.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
...
George Coulouris ...
Maj. Jack Drumman aka The Grey Spider
Lloyd Gough ...
Capt. Steve Lorford
...
Capt. Jed Calbern
Minor Watson ...
Gen. Watkins
Charles Dingle ...
Col. Weatherby
Art Baker ...
Col. Clifford M. Baker
Reed Hadley ...
Fred Munsey
Arthur Space ...
Mark Haskins
...
Hortense Dobson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Byron Foulger ...
Mr. Duncan (scenes deleted)
Edward Gargan ...
Male Nurse (scenes deleted)
Bert Moorhouse ...
Capt. Jeffreys (scenes deleted)
Edit

Storyline

Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton) is a bumbling bellboy in a Missouri town who pesters the Union officers there; he desperately wants to be a spy for the North in the American Civil War. When Filmore accidentally waylays an infamous Confederate spy known as "The Grey Spider" and is mistaken for him by the Rebels, the Union brass see it as an opportunity for real espionage - and though Filmore is a coward as well as a fool, his real motivation for derring-do is a sweet Southern girl named Sallyann, whom he will see again behind Southern lines. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

See Red in a Union Suit with Southern Exposure! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | History | War | Western

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 August 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Superspion  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

No one could figure out a simple, yet funny way to get Aubrey out of the house when he was being held captive by the angry dog. Buster Keaton, employed by MGM as a roving gag man, was called to the set, looked at the set up, and came up with the idea of removing the door hinges and letting the dog in as Aubrey got out. The most famous gag in the movie took Keaton all of five minutes to devise. Buster also contributed other gags some of which he'd done himself years earlier. See more »

Goofs

Mention of prisoner exchange is mentioned by the colonel. Prison exchanges were stopped by Grant in 1864, the first union commander who realized the road to victory lay through attrition. See more »

Quotes

Union Cavalry Sergeant: How old are you?
Aubrey Filmore: Only twenty-six.
Union Cavalry Sergeant: Twenty-six - Yhat's a ripe old age for a jackass.
See more »

Connections

Spun-off from The General (1926) See more »

Soundtracks

Yankee Doodle
(uncredited)
18th Century Anglo-American song
Used as leitmotif under main titles and in association with Northern cause.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Skelton the Spy...Civil War shenanigans in capable hands
19 August 2009 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

St. Louis bellhop, anxious to get in on the action during the Civil War's final days, manages to nab himself a Southern spy nicknamed "The Grey Spider"; he switches places with the Spider and infiltrates the Confederate party, falling in love with a Belle along the way. Whether they were working with Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, or Red Skelton here, comedy masters Melvin Frank and Norman Panama (credited as the story writers, alongside screenwriter Harry Tugend) know how to pull off a great gag--whether it be verbal or visual--and manage to keep it going, in the manner of the great silent comedies. A double take can turn into a pratfall, which turns into a lot of pratfalls, which turns into slapstick chaos. No matter what your taste about physical shtick, Frank and Panama usually employ their prowess with bright efficiency, and "A Southern Yankee" has many laugh-out-loud sequences (the double-sided flag, the pine cone on the stump, and all the early business in the hotel). Director Edward Sedgwick maybe should have let Melvin Frank direct as well, as several of the nutty set-pieces (such as the dentist's office) look too much like staged gags. However, when the pacing grows cold there's always Skelton to rely on, and he's very funny and ingratiating throughout (particularly the way he says "Sallyann"). Amusing premise isn't just an excuse for the slapstick, but functions quite well on its own, and the costumes and battlefield sequences are rather impressive. **1/2 from ****


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