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The Ruling Class


Roger Davidson

Ruling Class, The
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This highly entertaining black comedy stars Peter O'Toole as a man who believes he's Jesus Christ. He has recently inherited the title of Lordship in the English Parliament, after his father (Harry Andrews) is killed in a strange ritual, that Andrews apparently practiced for many years. O'Toole causes many problems among his rich, boisterous household, who cannot believe that they have been robbed of their chances for the family fortune. They evolve a plan to try and restore O'Toole's sanity, so that O'Toole doesn't use up the family fortune with his saintly activities.

This film keeps getting funnier every single time I see it. The film has three major performances that hold the whole thing together, though much of the cast is quite good. O'Toole has rarely been better as the lunatic Lordship. Arthur Lowe is side-splitting as the family butler, who constantly tells the family what he really thinks of them (a precursor to Robert Guillaume's character Benson). And Alistar Sim provides one of his best comic figures as the local Bishop, who just can't seem to take all the nonsense that goes on in O'Toole's family. There are also some funny scenes, which involve people bursting into song for no apparent reason. And that's just one of the many zany ideas that keep this going at a breathless pace. And once seen, Andrews, as the previous (and extremely loony) lordship will never be forgotten, like it or not.

My Rating = Four Stars

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