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Terry O. Morse
Eddie Foy Jr.
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While visiting Paris in 1908, upper class Lord Burnstead loses his butler playing poker. Egbert and Effie Floud bring Ruggles back to Red Gap, Washington. Effie wants to take advantage of Ruggles' upper class background to influence Egbert's hick lifestyle. However, Egbert is more interested in partying and he takes Ruggles to the local 'beer bust'. When word gets out that "Colonel Ruggles is staying with his close friends" in the local paper, the butler becomes a town celebrity. After befriending Mrs. Judson, a widow who he impresses with his culinary skills, Ruggles decides to strike out on his own and open a restaurant. His transition from servant to independent man will depend on its success. Written by
Gary Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Ruggles of Red Gap" is the kind of comedy film that is rarely made by Hollywood anymore: a film with the emphasis on characterization without the cheap and obvious jokes of today's films. The plot is a good one. The services of a third-generation English Butler (Charles Laughton) are won in a poker game to an American couple (a very funny Charlie Ruggles and Mary Boland) who reside in Red Gap, Washington. Ruggles' former employer, Lord Burnstead (a fine Roland Young) reluctantly gives him up to the couple but assures him that he will come back for him as soon as possible. Once in America, however, Ruggles gets a newfound sense of freedom and after being inadvertantly fired by the uncouth American couple, decides to open up his own restaurant with the help of a widow (Zasu Pitts) who he has much affection for. The movie was nominated for Best Picture and the performances are outstanding, particularly Charles Laughton as the butler/servant who sees freedoms and opportunities in America that he never would have had if he remained in England. The standout scene in the movie is when Laughton is in a local Red Gap bar and someone mentions Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. When no one in the bar can seem to remember what Lincoln said, Laughton (the Englishman)recites the speech in its entirety with enough emotion and dramatic flair to bring tears to one's eyes. The underlying theme of the movie is basically about Anglo American relations and the common ground and friendship between both nations. This is a "must see" for anyone still interested in how great Hollywood was in its heyday, and particularly how wonderful and original the comedies were in that early and Golden Age of film-making.
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