Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy of Manners, Screwball Comedy  |   Run Time - 76 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Michael Hastings

Depression-era comedies don't get much better than this Leo McCarey effort , tailor-made to Charles Laughton's unique brand of deadpan, constipated charm. Ruggles of Red Gap sets up its central conceit at a leisurely pace, installing the title character in his Old West, nouveau riche setting with plenty of time for warm-hearted jabs at the recalcitrant socialite Egbert (played to perfection by the coincidentally named Charlie Ruggles) and his level-headed wife, Effie (Mary Boland). Even love interest ZaSu Pitts has a bumper crop of one-liners and turns of phrase (although her chemistry with the asexual Laughton is dubious at best). The movie gains momentum as the script fortifies Ruggles' backbone for the climactic, crowd-pleasing comeuppance of the picture's true snobs, shoehorns in a couple of high-spirited songs for good measure, and even manages to jerk some genuine tears along the way.