• Red Skelton played the radio sleuth known as "the Fox" in three comic mysteries of the early 1940s. All had the word "whistling" in the title.

    This is the second of the three, and by far the weakest.

    The first one, "Whistling in the Dark," was an excellent remake of the 1933 film of the same. The last one, "Whistling in Brooklyn," was an extremely enjoyable farce. I recommend both.

    "Whistling in Dixie" can be funny at times, but too often it's boring. I suspect it was made simply because the title seemed irresistible. The phrase "whistling 'Dixie' " was popular American slang at the time. And Ann Rutherford, who co-starred as the Fox's love interest in all three movies, was best known for her role in a Southern epic, "Gone With the Wind."

    This movie is full of corny "Southern" dialog, and there are some dated portrayals of African-Americans. Nothing here is any more more offensive than what you'd find in the typical 1940s film about the segregated South. But gosh, this kind of stuff was tired even then.

    Skelton's slapstick routines are weaker than usual. He and Rags Ragland, his sidekick and foil in all three "Whistling" films, work very hard, but some of the material falls flat.

    If this movie leaves you cold, don't rush to judgment. You may like the other two "Whistling" entries, because they are much better. And if you love this one, you will definitely want to see the other two.