The Ruling Class (The Criterion Collection)
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- New digital transfer of the full-length version supervised by the director
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Top Customer Reviews
This is one of my favorite films that examines a number of issues, particularly what is "acceptable" in a religion. It is extremely well-cast, with Peter O'Toole turing in one of his best performances. It is a pleasure to watch Alister Sim--the best Scrooge ever--as a befuddled Anglican bishop. Fans of the Blackadder will enjoy seeing "Nursey" as a village busy-body who wishes to bring back flogging.
The DVD is a wonderful treatment. The US release--and subsequent videos--lacked some scenes lost for length. This is a film that is based on a play, and every character had a soliloquy--until someone cut them! Here, finally is the complete film. Visually, it is beautiful.
A big suprise is the "goodies." The running commentary includes the director, Peter Medak, the playwright/screen writer Peter Barnes, and even Peter O'Toole. It is an excellent addition to the movie rather than voices blathering about themselves.
The insert also has a nice essay from a British film professor.
Fans of the film need this DVD.
A review above complained it was not "funny." How one cannot laugh at Harry Andrews in a tutu, military garb, hanging himself in order to [CENSORED--Ed.] I do not know?! However, it is NOT a comedy. It is a play that has social satire, some comedy, a fair amount of farce and darkness and tragedy.
The only warning that I give is the DVD back-notes reveals some spoilers! If you have NOT seen the film or stumbl'd upon them in some reviews above, make sure you do not read the back!
It says alot that Peter O'Toole is continually upstaged by just about everyone else in the cast. His Christ figure is very well delivered but, all in all, lacks some level of "humanness" that the other characters, particularly Arthur Lowe as the butler, have in abundance. Arthur Lowe literally steals scene after scene with one or two lines while the vast tracts of dialogue that O'Toole's character must deliver can quickly alienate a less than motivated viewer.
The above said, this can be a very funny film and is directed with enough aplomb that one is not continually reminded of the scripts start as a stage play. While it was obviously controversial when it was made and while the ideas it traces are just as pertinent now, somehow time seems to have dealt poorly with it and left it less a "searing indictment" and more of a historical curiosity.
The DVD master is brilliant, sharp and without any artifacting, and as one expects from Criterion, in the correct aspect ratio. If you want to see this film this is a magnificent way to do it.
As far as owning it goes, Arthur Lowe's performance will delight anyone with a sense of humour for years to come.
Quite highly recommended but a bit self indulgently black.
In a bravura performance which should have won him an Oscar, Peter O'Toole plays Jack Gurney, heir to an English earldom. There's only one problem: Jack is in the looney bin because he thinks he's Jesus Christ. The plot revolves around how the rest of Jack's relatives plan to "cure" him so he's just "sane" enough to inherit and then manipulate him to their own ends. Needless to say, sly, cynical jokes about religious and social hypocrisy are abundant, and they're all right on the money.
Like the very best of British satires, the more you bring to this movie, the more rewards it holds. A knowledge of Verdi operas, 19th Century French Romantic literature, English music hall traditions, and English public school songs will enhance one's enjoyment of this movie immeasurably, although none of it is necessary to appreciate the wit and silliness of what's going on here. Alistair Sim, as the nervous, confused and senile archbishop is a gem throughout, a man whose conflicts are all too obvious because they're all too human.
Eventually, Jack is "cured," and the change his personality undergoes is radical, to say the least.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Classic Peter O'Toole, wonderful to watch, a really enjoyable moviePublished 2 months ago by Denise Scroope
Peter O'Toole plays the 14th Earl of Gurney. The 13th Earl of Gurney has just hung himself. He wasn't trying to commit suicide, he was, erm, okay, moving on ("But why was he... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Cilantron and on
Movie has stood the test of time. Hilarious even while mocking British society, psychology, tradition and religion.Published 10 months ago by Victor H Canales
Peter O'Toole has starred in only one other of my favorite movies, Lawrence of Arabia. In "Ruling Class" he plays the heir to a fortune, and his inheritance is disputed by... Read morePublished 13 months ago by OntieC
A sharp and multifaceted satire on British culture, carried off as only Peter O'Toole could have done it. Expect no "ha ha" funnies and prepare for the shock of your life. Read morePublished 15 months ago by David L. Kent
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