BU Film School

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

FT 553 Screening: The Ruling Class

Film info
Directed by: Peter Medak
IMDB link

Synopsis/my notes
Earl of Gurney dies in less-than-sober circumstances (wearing frilly thing and hanging from rafters in accident). Estate (except for 30,000 pounds, which goes to servant Daniel Tucker) devolves upon son, Jack Gurney, who believes he is Jesus Christ, the God of Love. Not coincidentally, Jack has been in a mental institution for some time, and has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.

Charles, the uncle, schemes to get control of the estate. Gets his mistress Grace to pose as Marguerite, whom Peter believes is his own true love. They marry and Grace becomes pregnant. Once son is born, Charles plans to commit Jack. Meanwhile, Dr. Herder has an affair with Claire, the aunt -- on his side, to ensure he'll receive a research grant; on hers, to ensure that the doctor doesn't interfere with the wedding. Dr. Herder tries a series of experiments to cure Jack, culminating in a confrontation with the self-billed God of Revenge. Jack under siege (can't be in two places at once, hit by lighting), supposedly comes to his senses. Baby born at same time.

Jack now pictures himself as Jack the Ripper, God of Revenge. Proceeds to destroy everyone involved. Stabs Claire, says he heard Tucker singing. Duels with doctor, drives him crazy. Drives bishop crazy. Claims title of estate, drives uncle crazy. Makes speeches about punishment before fox hunt and at House of Lords (visions of skeletons). Stabs Grace. Only one left unscathed is dimwit cousin Dinsdale.

FT 553 notes (from 07/13/04)
Based on 1960's play by Peter Barnes. Analysis of British aristocracy, House of Lords, love, Conservative party, British history. Pay attention to irony.

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