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 »
The identity of the Gray Spider is allegedly only known by Generals Lee, Johnson, and Jackson. Stonewall Jackson had actually died two years earlier in 1863. See more »
Skelton fans should get a laugh-fest out of this nifty slice of slapstick. Seems Red's a Union-loving bellboy in the Civil War South. Through typical Skelton mishaps, he's mistaken for the South's best spy, The Grey Spider. Only instead of spying for the South, he's persuaded to do same for the Yankees. Except as a spy, he keeps switching uniforms from one side to the other. Naturally, this leads to a rollicking series of mishaps, with Red scoring more mugs and pratfalls per minute than a road racer's RPM's. But that's got nothing on the uniform changes that are faster than a hooker in a rain storm. My guess is the scripters must have gone home in a permanent daze. But don't feel bad for our hero. He does get to romance the South's most delectable magnolia, Arlene Dahl, and right away I'm wondering where I can join up on her side.
All in all, it's a fine vehicle for Red's brand of comedy. Just one thing—I always thought the War was fought on the East Coast. But now I know it was really fought inside greater LA's scrublands. Thanks MGM for setting the history books straight.
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