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. Red Skelton plays the role of Aubrey Filmore, an inept bellboy at a Northern hotel. He manages to catch “the Grey Spider”, a very famous (and dangerous) Southern spy.  

Red Skelton and Arlene Dahl in a publicity photo from Southern Yankee
Red Skelton and Arlene Dahl in a publicity photo from Southern Yankee

He quickly falls in love with Sallyann, a Southern nurse (played by the lovely and talented Arlene Dahl). She has come to lead the Grey Spider to a meeting with other Southern undercover spies in the North. They’ve 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.

Comedy highlights

Southern Yankee -- Red Skelton in both uniforms from the American Civil War

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. Special mention to 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. he does so by wearing a Northern army uniform on one side and a Southern army uniform on his other side. While carrying a Confederate flag, also with an American flag on one side. This 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. 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.

Enjoy the funny movie quotes from A Southern Yankee as well