Combustible Celluloid
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With: Peter O'Toole, Alastair Sim, Arthur Lowe, Harry Andrews, Coral Browne, Michael Bryant, Nigel Green, William Mervyn, Carolyn Seymour, James Villiers, Hugh Burden, Graham Crowden, Kay Walsh, Patsy Byrne, Joan Cooper
Written by: Peter Barnes
Directed by: Peter Medak
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 154
Date: 05/10/1972

The Ruling Class (1972)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Holy Fool

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Peter O'Toole is one of the great scenery-chompers of all time. He's been nominated for seven Oscars but has never won. Two of those triumphs have been released on spectacular new DVDs, and both include commentary tracks by O'Toole himself (along with various others). The Ruling Class (1972, Criterion Collection, $39.95) casts O'Toole as the next Earl of Gurney who happens to be barking mad: he thinks he's Jesus Christ, God, or Jack the Ripper by turns. Richard Rush's The Stunt Man (1980, Anchor Bay Entertainment) places O'Toole in the director's seat, playing a mad filmmaker who hides a runaway convict as a stunt man on his movie set. The Ruling Class aims for high comedy but happily succeeds as a low one, while The Stunt Man plays astonishing mind games with perception and paranoia -- a truly original piece of work. The Stunt Man comes in a limited edition 2-disc set ($34.98) that includes a full-length making-of video, or a regular one-disc set ($19.98).

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