A Southern Yankee (1948)

90-91 mins | Comedy | 24 September 1948

Writer:

Harry Tugend

Producer:

Paul Jones

Cinematographer:

Ray June

Editor:

Ben Lewis

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Randall Duell

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Spy . S. Sylvan Simon, who directed the principal filming of the picture, did not receive a screen credit. Simon, who had made several pictures at M-G-M, left the studio after principal production on the film ended in Feb 1948. A HR news item indicates that Edward Sedgwick was assigned to direct the film in May 1948, when two weeks of added scenes were ordered. Sedgwick directed many films in the silent era, and this picture marked his first film since Air Raid Wardens (1943, see above). Red Skelton's biography, relating information provided by screenwriter Harry Tugend, indicates that Skelton did not want to appear in the film. Tugend claimed that Skelton "deliberately dogged" the production in the hope that M-G-M would release him from his contract. Modern sources indicate that silent comedian Buster Keaton wrote sight gags for the film. While some modern sources also call the film a re-working of the 1926 Keaton silent film The General , the two films bear few similarities. ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Spy . S. Sylvan Simon, who directed the principal filming of the picture, did not receive a screen credit. Simon, who had made several pictures at M-G-M, left the studio after principal production on the film ended in Feb 1948. A HR news item indicates that Edward Sedgwick was assigned to direct the film in May 1948, when two weeks of added scenes were ordered. Sedgwick directed many films in the silent era, and this picture marked his first film since Air Raid Wardens (1943, see above). Red Skelton's biography, relating information provided by screenwriter Harry Tugend, indicates that Skelton did not want to appear in the film. Tugend claimed that Skelton "deliberately dogged" the production in the hope that M-G-M would release him from his contract. Modern sources indicate that silent comedian Buster Keaton wrote sight gags for the film. While some modern sources also call the film a re-working of the 1926 Keaton silent film The General , the two films bear few similarities. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 Aug 1948.
---
Daily Variety
6 Aug 48
p. 3.
Film Daily
9 Aug 48
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 47
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jan 48
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Feb 48
p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Feb 48
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 48
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Aug 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Dec 48
p. 12.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Apr 48
p. 4139.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Aug 48
p. 4265.
New York Times
25 Nov 48
p. 47.
Variety
11 Aug 48
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
George DeNormand
James Horne
Bob Wilke
Bert Moorehouse
Chris Frank
Gene Stutenroth
Glen Strange
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc
COSTUMES
Cost des by
MUSIC
Mus score
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hairstyles des by
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Spy
Release Date:
24 September 1948
Production Date:
mid January--late February 1948
retakes began early May 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 July 1948
Copyright Number:
LP1748
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90-91
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13018
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

At the Palmer Hotel in St. Louis in 1865, the bumbling bell boy Aubrey Filmore dreams of catching Confederate spies. He asks the head of the Union Secret Service, Colonel Clifford M. Baker, if he can join his elite group, but Baker once again refuses. Soon after, Baker tells his men to post notices warning about a dangerous Confederate spy nicknamed The Grey Spider. The next day, Major Jack Drumman comes to the hotel and when Aubrey discovers that he is really The Grey Spider, he forces Aubrey to change uniforms with him and plans to shoot him, thus making everyone to believe that the spy is dead. Just as Aubrey accidentally knocks out Drumman, Drumman's accomplice, the beautiful Sallyann Weatharby, appears at the door and Aubrey immediately falls in love. Pretending to be Drumman, Aubrey goes along with her to a meeting of the top Confederate spies, tipping off Baker before he leaves the hotel. At the meeting, Aubrey receives the Union battle plans, which he is to deliver to Confederate General Watkins, and is told to meet Sallyann at Morgan's Landing, a hospital at the battlefront. When he returns to the colonel, Baker falsifies the battle plans and reluctantly gives them to Aubrey to take across the enemy lines, still posing as Drumman, and deliver them to a Union spy in the South. Aubrey places the fake battle plans in his jacket and the instructions for the spy in his boot, but seems confused about which is where. At the front, Aubrey tries to escape by walking down the middle of the battle line wearing half of the Confederate uniform and half of the Union uniform, but ... +


At the Palmer Hotel in St. Louis in 1865, the bumbling bell boy Aubrey Filmore dreams of catching Confederate spies. He asks the head of the Union Secret Service, Colonel Clifford M. Baker, if he can join his elite group, but Baker once again refuses. Soon after, Baker tells his men to post notices warning about a dangerous Confederate spy nicknamed The Grey Spider. The next day, Major Jack Drumman comes to the hotel and when Aubrey discovers that he is really The Grey Spider, he forces Aubrey to change uniforms with him and plans to shoot him, thus making everyone to believe that the spy is dead. Just as Aubrey accidentally knocks out Drumman, Drumman's accomplice, the beautiful Sallyann Weatharby, appears at the door and Aubrey immediately falls in love. Pretending to be Drumman, Aubrey goes along with her to a meeting of the top Confederate spies, tipping off Baker before he leaves the hotel. At the meeting, Aubrey receives the Union battle plans, which he is to deliver to Confederate General Watkins, and is told to meet Sallyann at Morgan's Landing, a hospital at the battlefront. When he returns to the colonel, Baker falsifies the battle plans and reluctantly gives them to Aubrey to take across the enemy lines, still posing as Drumman, and deliver them to a Union spy in the South. Aubrey places the fake battle plans in his jacket and the instructions for the spy in his boot, but seems confused about which is where. At the front, Aubrey tries to escape by walking down the middle of the battle line wearing half of the Confederate uniform and half of the Union uniform, but is attacked by both sides. He is then taken unconscious to Morgan's Landing, where Sallyann waits for him and tells her jealous fiancée, Kurt Devlynn, that she now loves Drumman. After a series of mishaps in the hospital, Aubrey finds the boots and jacket with the information and escapes. Meanwhile, Devlynn tells his cohort, Captain Jed Calbern, to dress his men as Union soldiers, ambush Drumman and steal the plans. Aubrey, thinking that Jed's men are allies, unintentionally confuses them and they run off. At the plantation of Sallyann's father Colonel Weatharby, Aubrey gives Weatharby the spy instructions instead of the battle plans, sparking a long chain of events in which Aubrey, his Union contact Captain Steve Lorford, Devlynn and Jed repeatedly switch and steal the two sets of papers, until finally the battle plans get into General Watkins' hands and Lorford gets the instructions. At a party that night, Lorford tells Aubrey to obtain the Confederate battle plans from Watkins and bring them back them to Colonel Baker, but Aubrey dawdles to court Sallyann, who insists on a quick marriage. Meanwhile, Devlynn knows that a Union spy is in the house and the Confederates set a trap for him, but manage only to capture the true Grey Spider, who has escaped from the Union prison and returned to the plantation to carry out his original mission. Believing that the real Drumman is actually the Yankee spy, Watkins gives the plans to Aubrey, but just then Drumman's father, who has secretly been invited to the wedding by Sallyann, arrives and identifies the real Drumman as his son. With Aubrey's deceit now revealed, he is taken out to be shot, but is rescued by a still-loving Sallyann just as the war is declared over. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.