A Southern Yankee

Movie review of A Southern Yankee (1948) starring Red Skelton, Arlene Dahl, Brian Donlevy

Movie review of A Southern Yankee (1948) starring Red Skelton, Arlene Dahl, Brian Donlevy

Buy from Amazon.com  A Southern Yankee is a very funny movie, set at the tail end of the American Civil War, where Red Skelton plays the role of Aubrey Filmore, an inept bellboy at a Northern hotel, who manages to catch €œthe Grey Spider €, a very famous (and dangerous) Southern spy.  

Red Skelton disguised as a Confederate soldier with Arlene Dahl in Southern Yankee

He quickly falls in love with Sallyann, a Southern nurse (played by the lovely and talented Arlene Dahl), who has come to lead the Grey Spider to a meeting with other Southern undercover spies in the North, who have pieced together the Northern strategy for an upcoming battle.   In short order, Red Skelton is tasked with continuing his impersonation, taking false plans to the Confederacy, and bringing back information from a Northern undercover spy as well.

It’s a very funny movie, one of my favorite Red Skelton films.   There are several funny scenes, including Red unwittingly sitting on a pine cone, the scene displayed on the cover of the VHS where Red has to cross the line between the Northern and Southern troops while they’re engaged in a furious battle, which he does by wearing a Northern army uniform on one side and a Southern army uniform on his other side, while carrying a flag, also with an American flag on one side €”which works well, until the wind blows the flag the other way, displaying his trick.

My favorite comedy scene, however, is an extended scene in a Southern hospital, once Red has made it across the Mason-Dixon line, where a team of dentists pull one €’bad € tooth’ that doesn’t need to be pulled – and then another.   Many other clowns have done hilarious dentist scenes (Laurel and Hardy and Tim Conway come to mind), but no one has done it better than this.

I truly enjoyed A Southern Yankee, and I hope that you do as well.   I rate it 4 clowns out of 5.

Funny movie quotes from A Southern Yankee starring Red Skelton, Arlene Dahl

A Southern Yankee, 1948 - Red Skelton - Brian Donlevy - Arlene Dahl - He's a spy for both sides! - MGM's laugh-packed comedy

Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): I €™d like to join your Secret Service outfit.
Colonel Baker: You’ve been talking to me about that for three years.
Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Well, that goes to show I’m a man who don €™t know the meaning of the word €œsurrender. €
Colonel Baker: Well, look it up and stop bothering me.

Grey Spider: You’re a very clever young man.
Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): You wouldn’t think it to look at me.
Grey Spider: I certainly wouldn’t.
Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Thanks!

Colonel Baker: The paper’s in the pocket of the boot with the buckle. The map’s in the packet in the pocket of the jacket.   Understand?
Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Hmm?
Colonel Baker: And if you get them mixed up, you’re a dead goose.
Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Oh, well let’s see now. The paper’s in the pocket of the macket with a jacket, and the . . No, I see, the packet’s in the ..

Sergeant: Don’t want to lose a valuable man like you.
Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Thanks.
Sergeant: … prematurely.

Sergeant: How old are you?
Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Only 26.
Sergeant: 26 … that’s a ripe old age for a jackass.

Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Sallyann, if you found a Northern spy, would you turn him in to be shot?
Sallyann Weatharby (Arlene Dahl): No, I don’t think so.   I’d shoot him myself.

Colonel Weatherby: I wish all of my officers were as stupid as you.
Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): So do I!

Sallyann Weatharby (Arlene Dahl): I’d like to have you to meet my cousin, Elektra.
Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Morning, Elektra.

Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Save me a dance for later, we’ll sit it out.

Colonel Weatherby: Now, if you don’t mind, the map, if you please.
Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Oh, the map, the map, the map . . . [to himself] The map’s in the packle of the bucket with the jeckle.   No, the jacket’s in the buckle of the pocket with the poodle – the boodle.
Colonel Weatherby: Major Drummond, the map!
Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Yes, the map, the map, the map  .. . [to himself] The map’s in the packle of the bugle with the pickle.   No, no. The pocket of the boo – with the bagel. Not the bagel, the bugle, er, the buckle [aloud] That’s it, the boot with the buckle. [He hands over the wrong document] I always carry my secret papers in the boot with the buckle. They’d have to kill me to get it, Sir. A soldier always dies with his bookles on, er, his bagels buckled, er, his . . Nice pair of shoes, don’t you think?

Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Sally Ann, Will you marry me after the war?
Sallyann Weatharby (Arlene Dahl): No, I refuse to wait so long.   It’s either now, or it’s now.

Sallyann Weatharby (Arlene Dahl): Your father?
Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Yeah, I always promised Pappy I would never get married unless he was there to give me away.
Sallyann Weatharby (Arlene Dahl): It’s customary to give the bride away, not the groom!
Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Yeah, but my Pappy don’t care nothing about customs.   He used to say to me when I was a little boy, he’d say, “Son,” he always called me ‘son’, he’d look at me wistful-like and he’d say, “Son, I’d be happy if I could give you away.”

Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): I don’t want to die now! I want to be a husband, a father, a grandfather.   Do you think they’ll wait?

General Watkins: After this, they’ll probably make you a colonel.
Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): I’d rather they’d make me a civilian.

Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Whatever happens, Sally Ann, always remember that I love you.   And believe me, something’s going to happen!

Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Who’s a coward?
Major: You are, you belly-groanin’ lizard!
Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Well, that’s different.

Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): [about to be executed by firing squad] I’m dyin’ for a smoke!
Kurt Devlynn: Don’t worry, you’ll be smoking later.
Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): Fine time for a joke.

Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton): What did you save me for, anyway?
Sallyann Weatharby (Arlene Dahl): For a fate worse than death! [they kiss]