During the Great Depression, a wealthy banker throws away his wife's expensive fur coat; it lands on the head of a stenographer, leading to everyone assuming she is his mistress and has access to his millions.
Young Princess Sophia of Germany is taken to Russia to marry the half-wit Grand Duke Peter, son of the Empress. The domineering Empress hopes to improve the royal blood line. Sophia doesn't... See full summary »
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>
According to the autobiography of Elsa Lanchester, Charles Laughton's wife, Paramount bought the story and appointed Leo McCarey as director at Laughton's request. Before the film began shooting, Lanchester states, Laughton worked with McCarey and the film's writers on the script, and hired an old friend, 'Arthur MacRae', who later became a playwright in England, to add the "necessary Englishness" of Ruggles. See more »
When Effie tells Ruggles to take her husband to the art museums she shows him a book that he uses to record his impressions of the art he's viewed, when the camera angle changes the book has changed from her hands to her husbands hands without any pause in her lines. See more »
Last night I watched this film for the first time in several years, though it has always been a favorite. Why did it suddenly come to my mind? Because I knew that it would be a great remedy for cynicism and could lift my spirits. It worked: this minor masterpiece is heart-warming without being sappy-sentimental, primarily because so much of the actions and portrayals is hilarious; especially the early scenes in Paris, when the tradition-bound valet Ruggles learns that he has been the stakes in a poker game and that his "master" has lost him to a rugged millionaire from far-west America and his social-climbing wife (both parts played to perfection). What had never impressed me quite so much before is the subtlety of Laughton's portrayal. He could convey more humor with a simple twist of his lips or lowering of his eyelids than a Jerry Lewis or Jim Carrey can with their overdone mugging. Brilliant! And of course he had one of the great recital voices of all time; he was called on to repeat his recitation of the Gettysburg Address over radio many times, especially during World War II. Anyone who wants to take a course in acting would be advised to view Laughton's performances in a wide range of roles over a 20 year period. He even pulled off a potentially weepy "It's a Wonderful Life" type ending, simply by standing before the "He's a Jolly Good Fellow"-singing crowd with a broad smile that radiates joy, then reverting to his innate reserve and heading back into the kitchen of his restaurant. No pretty wife and cute kids to hug: only a former servant who realizes he has come into his own as a man in a new country where (ideally) class structures do not exist and a man is valued for what he is, not who.
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