7.7/10
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Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Romance | 8 March 1935 (USA)
An English valet brought to the American west assimilates into the American way of life.

Director:

Leo McCarey

Writers:

Harry Leon Wilson (novel), Walter DeLeon (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Charles Laughton ... Ruggles
Mary Boland ... Effie Floud
Charles Ruggles ... Egbert Floud (as Charlie Ruggles)
Zasu Pitts ... Prunella Judson (as ZaSu Pitts)
Roland Young ... George--Earl of Burnstead
Leila Hyams ... Nell Kenner
Maude Eburne ... 'Ma' Pettingill
Lucien Littlefield ... Charles Belknap-Jackson
Leota Lorraine ... Mrs. Belknap-Jackson
James Burke ... Jeff Tuttle
Dell Henderson ... Sam
Clarence Wilson Clarence Wilson ... Jake Henshaw
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Storyline

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 <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SH-H-H-H! TONIGHT'S YOUR NIGHT TO HOWL! And howl you will at this funniest of all comedies...

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

8 March 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Det begyndte i Paris See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Edward Dmytryk, the film's editor, said that Charles Laughton became so emotional during the scene in the saloon where he recites the Gettysburg Address that it took director Leo McCarey 1-1/2 days to complete shooting it. According to Dmytryk, the preview audiences found Laughton's close-ups in the scene embarrassing and tittered through the speech. When substitute shots of Laughton from behind were inserted, the audience found the reaction shots of the other people reacting to him very moving, and the second preview was extremely successful. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Ruggles: Oh, no. Always bring the pot to the kettle - never bring the kettle to the pot.
Prunella Judson: Listen, Colonel, I've been making tea for longer than I can remember.
Ruggles: Don't let's get into difficulties about this. But you must listen to an Englishman about tea. If it were coffee I should be your pupil. Where making tea - and WHEN making tea - always bring the pot to the kettle and NEVER bring the kettle to the pot.
Prunella Judson: Oh, Colonel, your knowledge is surprising.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown over various silhouettes of a butler. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Daffy Dilly (1948) See more »

Soundtracks

Maple Leaf Rag
(uncredited)
Music by Scott Joplin
Played when Ma and Ruggles ride past the Silver Dollar Saloon
Also played later during the scene in the saloona
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Really good
14 December 2002 | by zetesSee all my reviews

American comedy was at its strongest in the 1930s and '40s. Ruggles of Red Gap is a great representative of that era. There hasn't been an American movie in the past two, maybe three decades that's as funny as this one. Ruggles of Red Gap begins with one of the funniest premises imaginable: a British butler, Marmaduke Ruggles (Charles Laughton), is won from his lord (Roland Young) in a poker game by a wily American (Charlie Ruggles) whose pretentious wife (Mary Boland, Ruggles' constant co-star) wants the butler to teach him some manners. The first half-hour is easily the strongest section in the film, with Ruggles (I'll be referring to the actors) the fish-out-of-water in Paris, trying to sidestep his conniving wife and teach Laughton, steeped in the servant tradition, to let himself go and have some fun. When the two men are supposed to be at the Louvre, Ruggles drags his new manservant to a sidewalk establishment and orders them some beers. A fellow resident of Red Gap (the town in Washington State where Ruggles and Boland live, and to where they will later take Laughton) sees Ruggles there and they cause a huge scene with their Wild West antics. They even get poor Laughton drunk, for perhaps the first time in his life, and he learns the most useful of American phrases: "Yippee!" He also learns how to smile. Boland is at her strongest in the first section, as well. Her attempts to speak French are hilarious. "Trays amazing!" she bungles.

When the crew arrives in America, the film loses a bit of its steam, but not much. It has a great story, unlike many of the other great comedies being made at the time (which relied on caricatures like W.C. Fields and the Marx Brothers), and that keeps it entertaining. Laughton is such a delight to behold, and he meets up with a lovely woman played by the undervalued character actress Zasu Pitts, best remembered for her neurotic wife role in Erich von Stroheim's 1925 masterpiece Greed. I have only seen her in two non-Greed movies, counting Ruggles of Red Gap, but she's obviously a huge comic talent. Laughton may be the star, but Charlie Ruggles, also a semi-forgotten comic master, steals the movie from him. Boland is funniest when the film is in Paris, but she's still pretty good afterwards. Another scene stealer is Roland Young. I love his mumbling way of speaking. He comes back later in the movie and has a great scene where he learns to play the drums. Leo McCarey is one of comedy's finest directors in comedy's finest era. What a wonderful film this is! 9/10.


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