Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
USA, 1935. Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Walter DeLeon, Harlan Thompson, adaptation by Humphrey Pearson, based on the novel by Harry Leon Wilson. Cinematography by Alfred Gilks. Produced by Arthur Hornblow Jr.. Music by John Leipold. Production Design by Hans Dreier, Robert Odell. Costume Design by Travis Banton. Film Editing by Edward Dmytryk. Academy Awards 1935.
Leo McCarey made some of the most delightful comedies of the thirties and forties, though this excellent misadventure isn’t as well remembered as The Awful Truth or Duck Soup. It stars Charles Laughton as the picture-perfect butler to an English Lord (Roland Young) who is lost in a poker game to a nouveau riche American couple (Charles Ruggles, Mary Boland). The couple then inform Ruggles that they are transporting him from Paris to their home in frontier America. The culture clash that transpires, followed by Ruggles’ discovery of an independent life of his own, is full of hilarity, wisdom and even a few touching moments as well. Laughton’s hammy face is sometimes annoying but he fits the role to a T, and Zasu Pitts is terrific as his often-confused love interest. Naturally, Boland and her featherbrained antics steal much of the show.