Pirdy is accident prone. He has been denied insurance from every company in town because he is always getting hit or hurt in some way. On the day that he meets the lovely Ellen of the ... See full summary »
Joe, inventor in an American Small town of 1895 has problems with his new invention, a car, driven with a gasoline motor. Everybody is making fun about his "crazy invention", only his girl ... See full summary »
Lowly clerk Aubrey Piper has a fondness for exaggerating about himself to impress people. His fantastic tales of visiting China and working as a manager at his place of employment charm his... See full summary »
Ambrose C. Park (Red Skelton), left on a park bench as an infant with an impulsive need to find his parents, is an assistant to a diamond cutter. Shyster lawyer Remlick (James Whitmore), in... See full summary »
Peg and her father live a simple life in an Irish fishing village. One day Sir Gerald arrives at the village to tell Pat that Peg is heir to estate of her grandfather, who hated Pat. The ... See full summary »
Robert Z. Leonard
J. Farrell MacDonald
Al Marsh, Tony Naylor and Jerry Ralby, Broadway producers, are desperately looking for backers. Al is one of the heirs of a dress salon in Paris, but this is almost bankrupt. The two other ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
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 »
Although with Buster Keaton working as gag man on this film and while he did have a lot of influence on this film, A Southern Yankee had other influences besides Keaton's famous general. For myself I caught a bit of Duck Soup in the mix and also the plot premise is the same one as two very serious previous films.
The idea of two spies falling in love with each other was done as serious drama in the British film Dark Journey with Vivien Leigh and Conrad Veidt. Later on it was used by MGM in their musical The Firefly that starred Jeanette MacDonald and Allan Jones. But I think someone at MGM must have thought this could be the basis of a comedy, it may have been Buster Keaton who thought it would be a good film idea for Red Skelton.
A Southern Yankee finds Red Skelton as a bellboy in St. Louis who is a northern sympathizer and wants to do something for the Union cause. Given that he's a klutz, Red's dismissed by all the parties involved.
But when he accidentally captures a notorious Confederate agent, the army sees a chance to use him and sends him south with some fake plans for a southern general and a message for one of the Union undercover men.
Red's willing, but the spirit is weak especially around Arlene Dahl who is the daughter of Confederate general Charles Dingle. And he's got some other double agents and triple agents to deal with like Brian Donlevy, John Ireland, and George Coulouris.
It's hard to describe A Southern Yankee from here on because the gags come fast and furious. Red's two trips to the dentist was one long sustained gag and very good. Of course the gag remembered best is the one where Red is trapped with both the Blue and Gray firing at him from opposite directions. He manages to escape that predicament in a truly interesting manner I won't reveal.
And if you don't think that A Southern Yankee might have had a bit of inspiration from the serious films I cited, if you've seen both Dark Journey and The Firefly, you'll know exactly A Southern Yankee ends.
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