Ruggles of Red Gap

Ruggles of Red Gap is a 1935 comedy film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Charles Laughton, Mary Boland, Charlie Ruggles, and ZaSu Pitts and featuring Roland Young and Leila Hyams. It was based on the best-selling 1915 novel by Harry Leon Wilson, adapted by Humphrey Pearson, with a screenplay by Walter DeLeon and Harlan Thompson. It is the story of a newly rich American couple from the West who win a British gentleman's gentleman in a poker game.

Ruggles of Red Gap
theatrical release poster
Directed byLeo McCarey
Produced byArthur Hornblow Jr.
Screenplay byWalter DeLeon
Harlan Thompson
Story byHumphrey Pearson
Based onRuggles of Red Gap
1915 novel
by Harry Leon Wilson[1][2]
CinematographyAlfred Gilks
Edited byEdward Dmytryk[3]
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
February 19, 1935 (1935-02-19TUS)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States


In 1908 the Earl of Burnstead (Roland Young) gambles away his eminently correct English manservant, Marmaduke Ruggles (Charles Laughton). Ruggles' new masters, crude nouveau riche American millionaires Egbert and Effie Floud (Charlie Ruggles and Mary Boland), bring Ruggles back to Red Gap, Washington, a remote Western boomtown. Mistaken for a wealthy retired Englishman colonel, Ruggles becomes a celebrity in the small town. As Ruggles attempts to adjust to his unfamiliar new community, he learns to live life on his own terms, achieving a fulfilling independence as a result.

With deliberate irony, Ruggles bemoans his fate as having been relegated to America, "the land of slavery," after having his employment change hands with no input from himself.

A key part of the film is Laughton’s recitation of the Gettysburg Address in a saloon filled with rough Western characters held spellbound by the speech.

By the end of the film Ruggles finds a way of making a new life for himself on his own terms.



The film was shot on locations in Humboldt County, California.[4]

Awards and nominations

Charles Laughton won the New York Film Critics' Circle Awards for Ruggles of Red Gap (along with Mutiny on the Bounty) in 1935. The National Board of Review named the film the ninth best of 1935. [That year, Laughton's other two films, Les Misérables and Mutiny on the Bounty were sixth and eighth on the list, respectively]. The film was nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture and competed against two other Laughton films that were also nominated: Mutiny on the Bounty (which won the award) and Les Misérables.

In 2014, the film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.[5]

Other adaptations

Harry Leon Wilson's novel Ruggles of Red Gap was adapted for the Broadway stage as a musical in 1915, the same year that it was published.[6] It was first made into a silent film in 1918 and again in 1923 (the latter with Edward Everett Horton as Ruggles).

A musical adaptation called Fancy Pants was released in 1950, starring Bob Hope and Lucille Ball.[7]

Ruggles of Red Gap was adapted as a radio play several times. First on the July 10, 1939 episode of Lux Radio Theater; second on the December 17, 1945 episode of The Screen Guild Theater; and third on the June 8, 1946 episode of Academy Award Theater. All of these adaptations found Charles Laughton and Charlie Ruggles reprising their film parts.

A television musical version was produced on Producer's Showcase in 1957, starring Michael Redgrave, Peter Lawford, David Wayne, and Jane Powell. The songs were created by Jule Styne and Leo Robin.


  1. Sennwald, Andre (March 7, 1935). "Movie Review: Ruggles of Red Gap". New York Times Books. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  3. Dmytryk, Edward (1978). It's a Hell of a Life, but not a Bad Living. New York: New York Times Book Company. p. 34. ISBN 9780812907858.
  4. Hesseltine, Cassandra. "Complete Filmography of Humboldt County". Humboldt Del Norte Film Commission. Humboldt Del Norte Film Commission. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  6. "Ruggles of Red Gap Production Credits". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
  7. Osborne, Robert Outro to the Turner Classic Movies showing of the 1935 film (March 3, 2014)

Streaming audio

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.