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Ruggles of Red Gap [Blu-ray]
(Leo McCarey, 1935)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Paramount Pictures
Video: Masters of Cinema Spine # 35
Region: 'B' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 32,641,189,881 bytes
Feature Size: 26,020,548,480 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: May 28th, 2012
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 619 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 619 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 16-bit)
Optional music and effects track: DTS-HD Master Audio English 738 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 738 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 16-bit)
English (SDH), none
• Optional music
and effects track
Description: The great Charles Laughton found one of his
most iconic roles in Leo McCarey’s definitive screen version
of Harry Leon Wilson’s best-seller Ruggles of Red Gap
– a wryly humorous tapestry of the American West at the turn
of the 20th century.
Laughton in a sympathetic, comic role. Writing in The New York Times,
Andre Sennwald raved, "Ceasing his normal traffic with Dr. Freud and
the devil, Mr. Laughton gives us a pudgy, droll and quite irresistible
Ruggles who reveals only the briefest taint of the Laughton pathology."
The film was cited, along with
Mutiny on the Bounty, when the New York Film Critics voted him
their first award for Best Actor. It also provided a boon for McCarey,
who used it to move into major pictures. The following year he would
direct Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in
The Awful Truth (1937), which brought him the OscarŽ for Best
Previously filmed in 1918 and 1923, Harry Leon Wilson's novel achieved movie classic status when it was remade by Leo... McCarey in 1935. The story opens in Paris, circa 1908. Ruggles, beautifully underplayed by Charles Laughton, is the ultra-obedient manservant to the bibulous Earl of Burnstead (Roland Young). During one of the Earl's nocturnal forays, nouveau riche American cattle baron Egbert Floud (Charles Ruggles) wins Ruggles in a poker game. Terrified at the prospect of being bundled off to the Wild West, Ruggles' resolve is weakened somewhat when he and the raucous but ingratiating Egbert spend a wild night on the town. (The besotted butler's periodic exclamations of "Whoopee!" are priceless.) Back in the frontier "boom town" of Red Gap, a misunderstanding obliges Egbert's social-climbing wife Effie (Mary Boland) to pass off Ruggles as an aristocratic British army officer, immediately arousing the suspicions of priggish social arbiter Charles Belknap-Jackson (Lucien Littlefield). The longer he spends in America, the more Ruggles grows to like the concept of democracy and self-determination. Of the film's many highlights, two are standouts: the scene in which Ruggles silences a rowdy saloon crowd with his recitation of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and the droll, semi-improvised vignette in which dancehall girl Nell Kenner (Leila Hyams) teaches the Earl of Burnstead how to play the drums. Ruggles of Red Gap was filmed for a fourth time in 1950 as the Bob Hope-Lucille Ball musical Fancy Pants.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Ruggles of Red Gap looks just exquisite on Blu-ray from The Masters of Cinema out of the UK. There is some contrast flickering but grain and piercing black levels are a triumph. This is dual-layered with a very high bitrate and the 1.5 hour, 1935, film is very impressive visually. Light scratches and marks appear under the surface and mostly frame specific. I never found them a distraction. There is almost a sense of depth and this appearance will rival the 5-years old City Girl amazingly rendered by the MoC gang. This Blu-ray video is mesmerizing in its strength of quality. Hopefully the lush richness of my presentation is visible via the below screen captures. I was blown away.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Both the isolated effects/score and original audio are both offered in an uncompressed DTS-HD Master mono track. Hollowness and other weakness associated with the original production are expected. Regardless, everything is clear and clean enough to make dialogue fully audible. Obviously there is no range or significant depth. MoC offer optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Masters of Cinema offer some viable supplements in their package. We get the afore-mentioned optional music and effects track in lossless, an exclusive 17-minute (black and white) video interview with Laughton biographer Simon Callow (Charles Laughton: A Difficult Actor). Included are three adaptations made for radio broadcast - Ruggles on the Radio. All three all feature Charles Laughton and Charlie Ruggles in a reprisal of their famous roles and there is two hours worth of audio (only). Originally released as a 78-rpm record in 1937, we get Laughton reciting Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address lasting 2-minutes. There is another professionally prepared liner notes booklet 32-pages featuring a new and exclusive essay by filmmaker and critic Dan Sallitt and rare archival imagery.
Trivia note: film editing on Ruggles of Red Gap is by Edward Dmytryk!
May 15th, 2012
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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