Cover image for The ruling class
The ruling class
Buck, Jules, 1917-2001.
[DVD version].
Publication Information:
[United States] : Home Vision Entertainment, [2001]
Physical Description:
1 videodisc (154 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.
A member of the House of Lords dies in a shockingly silly way, leaving his estate to his son. Unfortunately, his son is insane: he thinks he is Jesus Christ. He is "cured" of that affliction, only to become Jack the Ripper incarnate, blood thirsty Tory who is therefore sane and eminently acceptable to the House of Lords. An irreverant look at Britain's class system, that peers behind the closed doors of the aristocracy.
General Note:
[Widescreen version].

Information from pre-release promotional materials; release date: Oct. 16, 2001.

Originally produced as a motion picture in 1972.

Based on the play by Peter Barnes.

Special features: new digital transfer supervised by the director; commentary track featuring Peter O'Toole, Peter Medak, and witer Peter Barnes; Peter Medak's home movies shot during the making of the film; publicity and behind-the-scenes production stills; original theatrical trailer.


For specific features see interactive menu.
Reading Level:
MPAA rating: Not rated.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
XX(1144109.1) Adult DVD Central Library
DVD 2138 Adult DVD Audio Visual

On Order



An institutionalized schizophrenic with a Messiah complex inherits the position of an English Earl in this cutting satire of British society, based on a play by Peter Barnes. The film's irreverent tone is established with the disturbingly hilarious death of the thirteenth Earl of Gurney during a bizarre attempt at auto-erotic asphyxiation. To the dismay of the earl's family, the title passes to his son Jack (Peter O'Toole), who has been locked away for eight years after claiming to be the second coming of Jesus Christ. Mad but harmless, Jack is released to assume his seat. However, his embrace of Christianity proves incompatible with a position of power in "normal" society, where peace and love are considered serious weaknesses, and a somewhat unhinged psychiatrist is called to help him adjust. Meanwhile, Jack's scheming uncle, Sir Charles (William Mervyn), works on developing a complex scheme to trick Jack out of his position. Loaded with idiosyncratic touches from eccentric camera angles to unexpected outbursts of song, the film creates an experience nearly as inspired and mad as O'Toole's brilliantly hilarious central performance. The film's devilish invention may at times seem overloaded, but most drawbacks are redeemed by the sharpness of the satire, particularly during the memorably disturbing finale. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi