Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Overlooked Movies: The Hospital

Want to watch a really scary movie this Halloween?  I have one for you.  The Hospital.  It's also very funny if you like your comedy the way you like your coffee, black and bitter.  I wouldn't recommend that you watch it before going into the hospital, any hospital, for surgery, which is when I saw it for the first time.  I almost canceled the appointment.  It won't give you any comfort if you fear medical treatment.  And while it was made more than 40 years ago, it's still right up to date.  Now that's really scary.

George C. Scott (who might be better here than in Patton) might be a failure as a husband and father, but he's a brilliant surgeon and a pretty fair hospital administrator.  He's suicidal, but still wants to do the right thing for the hospital and his patients.  Too bad the entire staff of doctors and nurses appears to be wacky, crazy, or uninterested.  And if that's not bad enough, there's the serial killer who's on the loose in the building.

Diana Rigg brings her father to the hospital, and when she meets Scott, it's clear that she's the free-spirited '70s woman who's going to save him.  She's really good in this, even if things don't quite work out for the couple.  Or maybe they do.  The ending is inconclusive.

The movie everybody seems to remember Paddy Chayefsky for is Network or maybe Marty.  I think it should be this one. 


pattinase (abbott) said...

I completely agree. This was one of the first movies to serve as an expose of an institution and also remain funny.

Anonymous said...

I recently read the book on Chayefsky (MAD AS HELL by Dave Itzkoff, mainly about the making of NETWORK but concentrating on Chayefsky) and it reminded me of how good THE HOSPITAL really was.


George said...

I haven't seen THE HOSPITAL. I'll track down a copy this week.

Todd Mason said...

And I've only seen expurgated versions, back in the 1970s and recently on ThisTV or one of its rivals among the new little broadcast networks. Really need to see the whole thing. Much better than NETWORK, even diluted, even given the central character in the more celebrated film.