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4.0 out of 5 stars14
4.0 out of 5 stars
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"My father was a gentleman's gentleman... and his father before him. And from that heritage of service miraculously there comes a man. A person of importance, however small. A man whose decisions and whose future are in his own hands."

Rarely revived and never on UK TV, Leo McCarey's 1935 version of Ruggles of Red Gap was the third to reach the screen in just 17 years, but it's hard to imagine the other versions topping it. It's not a particularly credible plot, with Charlie Ruggles (not actually playing Ruggles despite the film literally having his name on it) `winning' Charles Laughton's reserved and soft-spoken gentleman's gentleman from Roland Young's vaguely lubricated English aristocrat and taking him out West with him, where his socially ambitious wife Mary Boland hopes he'll have a civilising effect on his wardrobe and manners. Naturally the opposite is the case, with the initially quietly horrified Ruggles the butler finding the Land of Opportunity - and widow Zasu Pitts - much to his liking...

The comic misunderstandings and mistaken identity shenanigans are pretty much standard issue and the comedy generally more restrained and understated than expected, yet it's such a charming and delightfully good-natured film it's practically impossible not to embrace it. Ruggles the actor has the down home commonsense speak-yer-mind nature to carry off a part that could potentially be irritating thoroughly likeably, while Laughton's quiet, buttoned down performance is a marvel of understated depth, doing so little yet revealing so much. At heart there's not much to the film, but thanks to the increasingly overlooked Leo McCarey's wonderfully restrained direction it's a very pleasing mixture of the accessible sophistication of Ernst Lubitsch and a rather more unfussy take on the populism of Frank Capra that hits all the right spots without hitting the audience over the head in the process.

Eureka's UK Blu-ray and DVD combo does the film justice with a very decent transfer, no fewer than three separate radio adaptations with Ruggles and Laughton, and audio recording of Laughton reciting the Gettysburg Address as per one of the film's most popular scenes (one that would get the film banned in Nazi Germany where the government didn't want any of that created equal guff polluting Aryan minds), and a booklet. There's also an interesting 17-minute interview with Laughton's biographer Simon Callow, who draws interesting parallels with the way the actor's own background in the family's hotel business (where Osbert Sitwell described him as looking "like an actor playing a waiter") and hatred of the British class system influenced both his approach to the film and his decision to take American citizenship.
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on 3 June 2013
Once I had got over the 'Ruggles' confusion, one a character, the other an actor, I enjoyed this as one of the very funniest thirties comedies. I actually laughed out loud at Laughton as a drunken Ruggles. Charlie Ruggles and Mary Boland are brilliant as the very American couple who win the very English butler Charles Laughton in a card game with an English Lord (Roland Young). it succeeds in being very pro-american without being anti-british, which is quite an achievement! Leila Hyams in her duet with (Lord) Roland Young is sensational!
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on 10 February 2013
Charmingly scripted gentle diversion with some great performances especially Roland Young in great form as mumbling upper-class twit and Charlie Ruggles (!) as Laughton's (Ruggles the butler's) millionaire hayseed employer. Laughton is a bit uneven perhaps - you start by expecting a comically stoical Anthony Hopkins from 'The Remains of the Day', but his unevenness is perhaps intended and brought about by the liberating effect of the 'true' Americans and not those desperate to ape their European cousins who correctly get their comeuppance. The famous Gettysburg address sequence perhaps anticipates a more tragic bar-room speech: Victor Mature's brilliant 'To be or not to be' from 'My Darling Clementine'. In its way, it's similarly moving. You'll not laugh your socks off, but charming can sometimes make '5 stars'!
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on 16 May 2013
Very old film, but thoroughly enjoyed it. Bought it for my Mother,but watched it as well,It was really good. It arrived on time and was in excellent condition.
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One of Leo MacCarey's greatests works is finaly on HD, and it is a great pleasure to revisit this work on such a fine restorarion form Universal.
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on 1 November 2015
As an avid movie buff, especially when it comes to classic films like this one, a definite welcome to my large and growing home library collection. My order arrived just fine and fast. I am one satisfied customer.
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on 16 June 2016
Excellent i every way
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on 3 September 2015
Very,pleased
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on 4 May 2015
Fine!
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on 14 January 2014
I wanted to see this picture because I remember seeing it in the cinema about 65 years ago. My recollection was fairly accurate especially Charles Laughton`s quoting of the Gettysburg address. I learnt it for a school project after being so moved by Laughton`s delivery of the lines.
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