Review: ‘The Ruling Class’

Peter Medak's Ruling Class, based on Peter Barnes' play of same name and scripted by the author, is a biting indictment of the so-called upper strata (British and/or other) of the old school tie thing.

Peter Medak’s Ruling Class, based on Peter Barnes’ play of same name and scripted by the author, is a biting indictment of the so-called upper strata (British and/or other) of the old school tie thing.

Barnes’ amusing but hardhitting script doesn’t tell as well as it plays in recounting the rise to the House of Lords of the allegedly insane 14th Earl of Gurney, who very topically believes he’s J.C. and whose unamused family wants wants him back in the nuthouse – once he’s fathered the child through which they hope to get their greedy hands back on the estate the Earl has unexpectedly inherited.

Symbols are up for grabs, of course, but pic avoids usual message film pitfalls in coming across almost throughout with amusing tongue-in-cheek finesse alternating with hilarious stretches.

1972: Nomination: Best Actor (Peter O’Toole)

The Ruling Class

UK

Production

Keep/Avco Embassy. Director Peter Medak; Producer Jules Buck, Jack Hawkins; Screenplay Peter Barnes; Camera Ken Hodges; Editor Ray Lovejoy; Music John Cameron; Art Director Peter Murton

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1972. Running time: 154 MIN.

With

Peter O'Toole Alastair Sim Arthur Lowe Harry Andrews Coral Browne Michael Bryant
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