Final Day! Tuesday, April 10
RUGGLES OF RED GAP
$7 Member $12.50 Regular
DIRECTED BY LEO McCAREY • STARRING CHARLES LAUGHTON • ARCHIVAL 35mm PRINT
"The most politically enlightened (and enlightening) comedy of the 1930s! A model of Hollywood broad strokes coalescing into a sophisticated whole... With the egalitarian warmth of Jean Renoir (himself a huge fan of the film), director McCarey spoofs stereotypes while investing them with knowing asides."
– Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
(1935) It’s a worst case scenario for Charles Laughton’s snobbish, third-generation gentlemen’s gentleman Ruggles: while on a 1908 Paris jaunt, his rather vague master, Roland Young’s Earl of Burnstead, casually informs him that he’s been lost in a poker game. And to Charlie Ruggles’ (that’s his real name) uncouth millionaire Egbert Floud and his très nouveau riche wife Mary Boland... of one-horse Red Gap, Washington, U.S.A.! Culture shock! But, post-relocation, and after Ruggles roguishly introduces him as “Colonel,” Laughton starts to find this equality thing okay, exchanging shy glances with dithery widow ZaSu Pitts, and even getting out-snobbed himself by Boland’s brother Lucien Littlefield. And doesn’t anybody here know the Gettysburg Address? With both story (previously silent film, play, and novel) and director McCarey his suggestion, this was Laughton’s favorite among all his parts, with his rendition of Lincoln’s speech a highlight of his one-man shows for decades to come. But then Laughton is here the lead in a lineup of comedy all-stars, with Young’s lord, whose “words proceed from his mouth with no movement of jaw or lip” (Simon Callow) and whose initiation into the intricacies of the “boom, boom, boom’” by Leila Hyams (it’s a drum solo) provides an equal highlight. Approximately 92 minutes.
A UNIVERSAL RELEASE
"KNEE-SLAPPING! Laughton is elegant rotundity in motion, a naughty, moonfaced cherub in his drunk scene, later sweetly surprised when finding himself elevated into a man by the Gettysburg Address, a recitation of which is the film's palpitating heart."
– Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice
Click here to read the full review.
“JUST ABOUT IRRESISTIBLE! THE CAST COULD HARDLY BE BETTER!”
– Pauline Kael
"ONE OF OUR OUTSTANDING COMEDIES! THE GLEE IS CONTAGIOUS!"
– Miriam Bale, The L Magazine
"The vision of American democracy as a frontier of psychotic sprawl to be endured rather than enslaved—the egg that McCarey laid and Sturges hatched—has yet to be improved on in film, or embraced with such staggering innocence."
– Joseph Jon Lanthier, Slant Magazine
Click here to read the full review.
"One of the great Laughton's funniest performances!"
– New York magazine
– The New York Times
“A COMPLETELY WINNING MOVIE!”
– Leonard Maltin
“The archetypal film they don’t make any more.”
– Time Out (London)
“Established McCarey as a major director with a flair for off-beat humor and seriocomic situations. His vogue lasted barely a decade, but in that period he left his stylistic mark on the American sound film. Jean Renoir said of McCarey in this period: ‘He is one of the few directors who understand human beings.’”
– Andrew Sarris
“A near-perfect comedy… Though Laughton gives a performance of resource and delicacy in the title role, he almost loses the film to Roland Young, whose bemused aristocrat, tempted by ladies, booze and the habits of Mr. Floud, is a lovely creation.”
– David Shipman
“Funny, genuinely touching, and may well be one of the best films ever made — including those by Capra — about the idea of America.”
– Paul Harrill, Senses of Cinema
Click here to read Farran Smith Nehme's MUBI review of Ruggles of Red Gap.