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Black comedy in which a suicidal doctor struggles to find meaning in his life while a murderer stalks the halls of his hospital.
Paddy Chayefsky (Marty) wrote the script for this 1971 film that mixes--in Chayefsky tradition--absurdist satire with a touching, almost wistful love story. George C. Scott plays a cynical doctor battling bureaucratic superstructures on the one hand and hippie-dippy flakiness among some patients on the other. When he falls for an eccentric young woman (Diana Rigg) with an alternative view on everything, the road to liberation from burdensome responsibilities seems to open before him. Director Arthur Hiller (Love Story) doesn't do much more than bring the screenplay to life, though he does create a persuasive sense of urban chaos in the setting. Scott gives a good, thoughtful performance. --Tom Keogh
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We find a randy medical intern has found an empty bed for a liason, the next thing we know is that this intern is dead, killed by a nurse, mistaken for another patient who died unexpectedly. The patient next to this dead man is in a coma and his daughter, played by Diana Rigg has an Apache prancing with a get well dance. Strange things abound and the least of them is the artful practice of medicine.
Chief of staff, played by George C. Scott hardly cares. He has suicidal ideation so left his family, living in a hotel room and spends his nights with a quart of vodka. His depression is noted by many and he is reported to the head of this hospital. Then, he meets, Diana Rigg, and she restores his manhood. But in the interim we learn all about her and all about the Chief of Staff. As chaos reigns, a neighborhood protest, two physicians killed and a nurse, because they had the wrong name band, we get to know a little about how medicine and nursing care are not practiced.
This is the best part of the film, the business of medicine and the depersonalizations of care. Paddy Chayesvsky wrote this film and Arthur Hiller directed it. Many faces of actors you will recognize. Do not let this film direct you away from health care, but, always bring someone with you when you enter the hospital.
Recommended. prisrob 11-16-13
Back when New York was some kind of fianancial and even off-Broadway never-never land, one could still rely on Chayefsky to give you shelter for the weekend there, no matter how humble. "I got out", people used to say, "with my wallet". If you remember this one, you've gotten out with your mind.
This is one of those rare *intelligent* films that require the viewer to pay attention. Not something to watch while you're babysitting a gaggle of small children or recovering from a hangover. And definitely not a film to watch if you're contemplating risky abdominal surgery within the next week.
THE HOSPITAL is intense, complex, and so ironically dark that it's like watching a car wreck that becomes a pile-up on a major freeway. The characters are drawn with laser-like precision, and every performance is exemplary. George C. Scott in particular nails the character of the burnt-out doctor who sees the world too clearly while at the same time having become a prisoner of his own narrow mindedness - a riveting contradiction which begins to crumble when he finds himself confronted by a young woman (Diana Rigg) who is the polar opposite of himself - alive and vibrant and completely divorced from the social customs and expectations of modern society.
For anyone who has ever had a run-in with the incompetence of the modern medical profession, this film is an absolutely must-see, for the manner in which it exposes the fact that doctors are not the gods we have been taught to believe. They are often tired, over-worked, burned out, or just simply distracted by their own vices, to such an extent at times that the lives of their patients become insignificant inconveniences. From personal experience, I can say that the script is far more accurate than we would want to believe - and the irony and cynicism captured in the dialogue is some of the best I've ever encountered.
THE HOSPITAL only reinforced my belief that when you find yourself sick, your best bet is to take two aspirin and run like hell into the jungle. If you're lucky, maybe you'll find a crazy medicine man shouting, "I am the fool for Christ, and Paraclete of Caborca." Chances are, you'd be in better hands than with 99% of any practitioner with a long list of letters after his name.
A phenomenally exceptional script and cast make this movie a classic that should be required yearly viewing. Enjoy THE HOSPITAL in good health!
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The acting is incredible!