Ruggles of Red Gap

Ruggles of Red Gap

DVD - 2009
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A stuffy British butler, Marmaduke Ruggles, is traded in a poker game from an English Duke to a wealthy and rowdy American, Egbert Floud. Ruggles' new home is Red Gap, Washington, where he is introduced by Egbert as "Colonel" Ruggles. The town ladies are quite taken by the sophisticated servant in disguise as he enamors them with fictitious stories of battles gone by. Ruggles proves his newfound patriotism in one of the best scenes of the film, his recitation of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in the Silver Dollar Saloon. The dream of freedom leads him to open his own restaurant, where one of his first customers is the Duke, who has come to reclaim his former servant.


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May 07, 2017

You're a Slave, Jeeves. Charles Laughton yearned to be like Stan Laurel, and in this film from early in this career, he tries a little too hard: crossed eyes, pratfalls and so on. But this is a minor quibble about Ruggles of Red Gap, by legendary comedy director Leo McCarey. The story -- a butler finds freedom and independence in the U.S.A. -- was close to Laughton's heart. His family owned a hotel, and had to deal with the many of the movie's situations in real life. Laughton moved to the U.S. as soon as his career took off. The supporting cast is also top notch, especially Roland Young as Ruggles' dry as dust feudal employer.

Mar 13, 2015

Set in 1908, Leo McCarey’s Academy Award nominated comedy of cultures follows the adventures of a proper English butler after he is set adrift in the wilds of the American west. Faithful and fastidious to a fault, Ruggles (Charles Laughton, magnificently mousey) has been the personal valet of the current Earl of Burnstead (Topper’s Roland Young) all his adult life, just like his father and grandfather before him. But when the Earl “loses” him in a game of poker to a wealthy American couple—social upstart Effie Floud and her husband Egbert, an unapologetic mountain man who’d rather drink whisky and spit tobacco than wear a top hat and spats—Ruggles finds himself bundled up and headed for Red Gap, Washington; a booming hick town of cowboys, saloons, and boorish nouveau riche. Mistaken for a revered officer of the English army, Ruggles is immediately set upon by Red Gap’s gaggle of upwardly mobile society wives and quickly becomes the toast of the town much to the dismay of Effie and her snobbish brother-in-law—and the secret amusement of Egbert and Maude, her no-nonsense mother. Torn between the dictates of his strict class-conscious upbringing and his newfound desire to partake in the American Dream by going into business for himself, not to mention a growing fondness for local widow Prunella (the great Zasu Pitts), Ruggles has a monumental decision to make—especially when his former employer journeys to Red Gap in order to reclaim him… Overflowing with clever one-offs and hilarious asides (Effie’s attempts to speak le français are priceless, as is her allusion to the “Mayor of Canada”), McCarey directs with tongue firmly in cheek as he plays the stereotype card for all it’s worth—whether it’s a stuffy exchange between British aristocrat and lowly manservant or a raucous tavern of drunken cowpokes trying to remember “What did Lincoln say?” until hushed to sudden sobriety by Ruggles’ recitation of the Gettysburg Address. A big loveable farce from Hollywood’s golden age which has lost none of its sparkle or underlying wit in the ensuing decades.


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