The Ruling Class, 1971
visit the film locations
Lincolnshire: visit: Lincolnshire
The Ruling Class location: the Earl inherits ‘Gurney Manor’: Harlaxton Manor, Grantham, Lincolnshire
Peter Barnes’ wild, black satire on the British class system secured a well-deserved Best Actor nomination for Peter O’Toole as the gentle Jesus freak who inherits the earldom of Gurney. The Earl’s venal family is thrown into confusion when he inherits the estate after the 13th Earl (Harry Andrews) succumbs to a tutu-clad auto-erotic asphyxiation.
The fantastical exterior of’ Gurney Manor’ is Harlaxton Manor, an extravagant neo-Elizabethan extravaganza a couple of miles west of Grantham, Lincolnshire. Now home to Harlaxton College, it’s not generally open to the public, though it’s possible to book group tours. The manor is probably more familiar now from the trashy 1999 remake of The Haunting.
Interiors were filmed in Cliveden House (site of the actual events recounted in the 1989 movie Scandal), three miles northeast of Maidenhead on the B476 Hedsor road (rail: Taplow). Cliveden House, once home to the Astor family, now a luxury hotel, can be seen in several films, including The Beatles’ 1965 Help!.
The ‘Gurney estate’ village is Shere, on the A25 between Guildford and Dorking in Surrey.