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December 16, 2013 12:01 PM None Quite Like Him

By Ed Kilgore

Over the weekend Kathleen Geier offered a typically clear-eyed tribute to two film icons who passed away, Joan Fontaine and Peter O’Toole.

I do want to add my own brief note about O’Toole, one of my favorite actors from childhood. Lawrence of Arabia was the first movie with an intermission that I was allowed to see in its entirety (before that, I saw one-half of The Ten Commandments each year). Not too long after, however, when I discovered public television, I watched O’Toole memorable performance as Henry II (opposite Richard Burton’s title role) in Becket. And then one of the midnight movies I saw repeatedly during college was the musical film adaptation of the play The Ruling Class, in which O’Toole plays Jack Gurney, a paranoid schizophrenic member of the British aristocracy who thinks himself (serially) Jesus Christ, Jack the Ripper and finally the right-wing Lord he was born to become.

Here’s a snippet from The Ruling Class with O’Toole calling for a return to harsh corporal punishment in Britain:

R.I.P.

Kathleen was right about something else: the Washington Monthly doesn’t specialize in cultural coverage, but when we do go in that direction—and she and I both do—it’s worth a tax-deductible donation if you can afford it.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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