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>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
[Ruggles and Prunella are looking at the rough and cluttered store space that Ruggles will use for his restaurant]
It's a mess isn't it?
Well, I don't see anything wonderful about it.
You don't? My father was a gentleman's gentleman... and his father before him. And from that heritage of service miraculously there comes a man. A person of importance, however small. A man whose decisions and whose future are in his own hands.
It's wonderful, isn't it?
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Stoic British dignity versus the rambunctious Old West
This certainly is a hilarious study of opposites -- staid British decorum transplanted to America's rough and tumble Old West. Laughton's excursion into comedy is along the buffoonery line at times (said with all due respect, of course) and anyone can see his true talent lies in drama. I'd say the real scene stealer is Charles Ruggles as Egbert who displays a wry wit all his own as he endures his wife's determined efforts to remodel him. His choice of words are so amusing: "Hey cab, give us one with a horse on it," and, to his wife when dining, "Effie, what you need is some of this imprisoned laughter of the pleasant maids of France." Also, it brought back memories to hear the old song, "By the Light of the Silver Moon" sung by Nell in the movie. A very comical film that's enjoyed more each time you see it.
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