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The Ruling Class

Cast
Peter O'Toole, Alastair Sim, Arthur Lowe, Harry Andrews
Released
1972
Spoiler alert
Spoiler alert!
Blog entry

Is this film a farce or camp or both or what?

We start (0:09) with a titled aristocrat, helped by his butler, donning a pink ballet tutu before he climbs a short step stool and proceeds to hang himself with a noose attached to the ceiling while waving a sword. We might have thought it was suicide until he rests on the stool before starting anew. Alas, he accidentally kicks the stool too far away, and the butler arrives too late to help. The anticipated autoerotic asphyxiation never happens.
0:23 Enter Jack, aka JC, aka God, a "paranoid schizophrenic" with the delusion he is Christ; bizarrely dressed psychiatric patients dot the grounds of a psychiatric hospital on a tour led by psychiatrist Dr. Herder. The doctor assures that Jack will not undergo lobotomy, but the patient demonstrates delusions of grandeur. Through much of the film he looks like Jesus, acts like Jesus, and spends leisure hours hanging from a cross attached to the living room wall.
0:25 Jack manifests thought disorder with loose association; hallucinated voices told him he was God.
0:48 A comely opera singer was not hallucinated, but was engaged by Jack's uncle in a plot over control of the estate.
0:59 neologisms
1:22 Administration of Rorschach ink blot test
1:33 We cannot tell whether the gorilla is hallucinated or staged like the second "God" engaged by Dr. Herder in hopes of removing Jack's delusions by confrontation. How could there be two Gods? It works.
1:38 No longer deluded. No longer JC. Jack acquires a tic suggestive of Tourette's
1:40 Dr. Herder identifies "palilalia;" Jack's uncle hopes to have Jack "certified insane"
2:17 Jack says Dr. Herder is paranoid, but now with an apparent delusion that he is Jack the Ripper he murders Claire, later Grace.
2:25 Dr. Herder and the hired "God" undergo simultaneous side by side ECT which produces wildly exaggerated "seizures"