Ruggles of Red Gap - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Ruggles of Red Gap Reviews

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September 16, 2017
Smart Patriotic Whimsical Historical Upstairs Downstairs without all the melodrama, spiced with sarcasm and HEART.
½ July 5, 2017
Old fashioned, but really charming. Great script, great performances.
September 25, 2016
A cute witty show juxtaposing a proper English man with the rustic western cowboys.
September 19, 2016
This was a surprisingly funny movie about a British Earl who loses his valet (named Ruggles) in a game of poker to a couple from America. The wife is very excited because she thinks the prim and proper Ruggles will make a more sophisticated gentleman out of her hick husband. It is so funny watching how Ruggles' exceeding politeness leads him to be influenced more by the people of Red Gap rather than him influencing them. The performance from Charles Laughton was great, and there's one scene where he recites the Gettysburg Address that was surprisingly moving. The comedy was strong throughout the film. A lot of the laughs were character driven, but there were also a few physical gags that I thought played almost like they were pulled straight from a silent film. The plot takes a number of twists and turns, some of them were exactly what you'd expect from a film of this type, but others actually surprised me a little. The conclusion was so satisfying, that I was smiling from ear to ear. It's not a complex or deep film, and it doesn't have much to say that is all that profound or original, however I enjoyed it more than a lot of deeper more meaningful films. Ruggles of Red Gap is the kind of film that I will gladly watch again, and might suggest to others.
½ February 23, 2015
Ruggles of Red Gap is a decent film. It is about an English valet that is brought to the American west and assimilates into the American way of life. Charles Laughton and Mary Boland give good performances. The screenplay is a little slow in places. Leo McCarey did an alright job directing this movie. I liked this motion picture because of the humor and romance.
½ November 24, 2014
Apparently Charles Laughton requested that Duck Soup director Leo McCarey be hired to guide him in his first comedy - and the result probably does have more in common with McCarey's droll screwball features (such as The Awful Truth, if not exactly the Marx Brothers) than with what we expect from Laughton. Indeed, his usual curmudgeonly persona is nowhere to be seen. Instead, he plays a demure valet (Marmaduke Ruggles) who finds himself surrendered in a high-stakes poker game (by his Lordship the Earl) to a turn-of-the-century nouveau riche family in the American West (Red Gap, Washington State). Well, only the wife (and her in-laws) are given to putting on airs; the husband (played by Charlie Ruggles) is a regular western yahoo (dressed in checkered suits) - but with a good heart. Expect sentimentality more than wit (and much less slapstick than that) and a gently amusing time.
August 28, 2014
What a delightful comedic classic! This movie feels undervalued as I've never seen it discussed anywhere before. Charles Laughton gives a hilarious performance, and his comic pairing of him and Charlie Ruggles (that must have been confusing on set) is classic and one that deserved a whole series. I've never seen a funnier depiction of someone drunk as the one Laughton portrayed. Sure it's over the top exaggerated, but the coy smile Laughton wears sells it. Charlie Ruggles' character may have a little too much Yosemite Sam in him, but it somehow still works.

The other real standout is Leo McCarey's direction. He helps the actor's nail there comedic timing and has a great sense of pacing. He's directed a great body of work that also seems unappreciated when compared to the notoriety of other great American film directors, and I'm starting to find him on par with Ford, Hawks, Huston, Ray, Curtiz, Minnelli, etc. McCarey is probably my third favorite classic comedy director after Hawks and Wilder (Wilder may also deserve more credit for having co-written many of his movies to one degree or another), and he's also capable of making some terrific drama (Make Way for Tomorrow is a classic and is sort of the American Tokyo Story).
May 8, 2014
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
½ March 8, 2014
a tale of the old west
Super Reviewer
March 5, 2014
A joy to view and with Charles Laughton in a non serious role for a change. He obviously relishes the opportunity and his reactions to the change in his environment are memorable.
½ August 30, 2013
Loved this one. Hysterical and fun. Charles Laughton is wonderful in a comedic role playing Ruggles a British manservant lost in a game of poker to a couple from the US who have new oil money. I thoroughly enjoyed so much of this. The reciting of the Gettysburg address was moving as well. If you have an opportunity this is a great film.
½ August 5, 2013
"Four score and seven years ago..."

If you're wondering why my opening quote features the beginning of the Gettysburg Address, it's because that speech plays a pivotal role in the film I'm about to review. It's Ruggles of Red Gap, a comedy starring Charles Laughton and Mary Boland.

Set in 1908, Ruggles (Charles Laughton) is a butler living in Paris with his master the Earl of Burnstead (Roland Young). When Ruggles is bought off by the American cowboy Egbert Floud (Charles Ruggles; no relations to the story in any way), Ruggles, Egbert, and his social wife Effie (Mary Boland) head to the American town of Red Gap. There, Ruggles is mistaken as a British officer, but becomes a popular fellow, though the social town leader Belknap-Jackson (Lucien Littlefield) is suspicious about it. Soon, Ruggles is intrigued by democracy and intends to make his mark in America.

The film also features Lelia Hyams as singer and dancer Neil Kenner and Zasu Pitts as the cook Mrs. Judson, who develops a crush on Ruggles.

Ruggles of Red Gap is famous for two things. First, it's famous for a scene where Ruggles recites the Gettysburg Address, which basically sums up the whole message of the film where foreigners can succeed in America like any other American. The other famous scene is where The Earl is taught how to play the drums. And yes, that sequence was pretty funny.

I enjoyed Ruggles of Red Gap cause it had heart. Charles Laughton was great as Ruggles. With his self-determination on the American Dream, his focus on American life makes me root for the character even more. The scene where he quotes the Gettysburg Address was known for moving audiences during the day, with many cheering after that scene, and it helped them survive The Great Depression, which was big at that time.

Charles Ruggles had some laughs as the American cowboy, Mary Boland is a hoot as Effie, the social-intending wife, and Lucian Littlefield is memorable as Belknap-Jackson. Roland Young was a bit of a bore as the Earl of Burnstead, but the scene where he plays the drums is surprisingly funny. The biggest miscast however, was Zasu Pitts as Ruggles' love interest. This woman annoyed me. Her voice sounded like she blew a ginormous balloon, released it, and felt all the helium. It's that annoying.

If I enjoyed the majority of the cast and the American patriotism in this, then why is my score not 100%, like the general Tomatometer score? Well, for starters, it lacked pure humor. Yes, there were some comedic sequences I enjoyed such as Mary Boland screaming, a drunken Ruggles hollering "Woopee", and the Earl learning to play the drums, but the majority of the humor focused on Laughton's facial expressions. While that kind of humor works in some comedies (look at Donald O'Connor in Singin' in the Rain), for the role of Charles Laughton as Ruggles, it didn't, cause Laughton is too big a guy to carry humor out of facial expressions. For someone his height, he should have done more "Whoopees" when his character was gassed. My opinions sound stupid, but that's what I felt about the majority of the humor in Ruggles of Red Gap.

But, that doesn't mean I hate Ruggles of Red Gap. In reality, I mostly enjoyed the film. Sure the film had a little too much focus on humor that isn't that super funny, but Ruggles of Red Gap had some entertaining performance, mostly coming from Charles Laughton and Mary Boland, some true American spirit, and some heart. It's not the funniest film I've seen, but with the patriotism, I give it a decently positive score.
Super Reviewer
August 4, 2013
Five wonderfully distinctive performers, Laughton, Charlie Ruggles, ZaSu Pitts, Mary Boland and Roland Young get to strut their stuff to great effect in this sharp comedy.
April 2, 2013
Love this laugh aloud comedy gem! Charles Laughton is simply wonderful as Ruggles.
December 12, 2012
A sweet little comedy, with a surprisingly social conscious message amidst the somewhat clunky dialogue.
September 27, 2012
great way to learn french.Charlie Ruggles great as always.
½ August 20, 2012
Hilarious at some times, heart-warming at others--Stoic British dignity versus the rambunctious Old West!!
January 4, 2012
I have waited many years to see this movie again. I have remembered the name for over 30 years since i first saw it, it was so fun. I thought the Charles Laughton version was filmed in 39' though.
½ August 16, 2011
Laughton shows his versatility in this wonderful innocent comedy. Every character was a joy and just nudged the ridiculous. This is the reason I love movies from this era. Wholly dependent on story and acting we get 90 minutes of pleasure.
July 26, 2011
One of the first entirely surreal films.
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