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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 ... 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

Leila Hyams retired from the film business the following year at the age of 31. She still remained active in Hollywood circles thanks to her marriage to leading agent, Phil Berg. 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

Earl of Burnstead, aka George: I say, do you believe in love at first sight?
Nell Kenner: No. Do you?
Earl of Burnstead, aka George: No. That's why I'd like to stay for a while, if I may.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: Video Guide 2010 (2010) 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

 
great film about Americana
7 July 2013 | by cafescottSee all my reviews

Some pretty good reviews have been turned in so far. I recommend "All's Right With the World" (telegonus from brighton, ma; 16 August 2002). Also, jayjerry regards it as "My All-Time Favorite" (jayjerry from Burbank, CA; 2 February 2007).

In "Making Your Way In A New World" (bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York; 6 October 2006) we get good background on Charles Laughton's personal interest in the story. In "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" (lugonian from Kissimmee, Florida; 18 December 2010) we are provided the film history of the story.

In "What did Lincoln say at Gettysburg, anyway?" (theowinthrop from United States; 20 May 2006) we get criticism of the pacing of some scenes, along with the gags that don't entirely work.

"Ruggles at Red Gap" starts out as a (not laugh-out loud) comedy about manners. As the story moves from Paris to the Western US, it acquires great depth by way of Laughton's extraordinary reciting of Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" to a saloon filled with cowboys who can't recall a word of it.

As freedom and liberation emerge as new themes, love also arrives. Laughton's Ruggles (convincing as a heterosexual) finds a widow (Zasu Pitts as Mrs. Judson) with whom a restaurant adventure is undertaken. Among the first patrons of this restaurant is his former Parisien employer (Roland Young as the Earl of Burnstead) who has found a very charming Washington socialite (Leila Hyams as Nell Kenner).

Acquiring richness until the satisfying finale, "Ruggles at Red Gap" should be regarded as among the best films about Americana. Three scenes are standouts: Laughton's exceptional Gettysburgh recitation, Roland Young's musical flirting scene with Leila Hyams and the restaurant sequence climaxed by a rousing finish.

Laughton's transformation from a dour and proper man servant to a more popular figure comes with the help of two instigators; i.e., wealthy ranchers Egbert (Charles Ruggels; yes that's confusing) and Effie Floud (Mary Boland). Egbert is a particularly corrupting influence on Ruggles by introducing him to drink and repeatedly insisting that they both share the same class.

Each cast member is superb. Leo McCarey is very interesting visually. Note how in this cinematic period how few closeups there are; how often there seems to be a bit much space above characters heads and how far away a group stands from the viewer's perspective, as if seen from a stage.

In real life in Washington State (around 1908) there probably would be more than one enemy for Ruggles to contend with; for being out of place, foppish, proper, literary and theatrical. As with many of the other films from the 1930s, common people are depicted idealistically.

Somehow McCarey made this beautiful, rich and rewarding commentary about liberty, finding love and gaining acceptance before he appeared as a friendly witness to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) witch hunt. This is not explained by "Ruggles."


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