By Richard Winters
My Rating: 7 out of 10
4-Word Review: This hospital needs help.
This is another surreal Lindsay Anderson piece that takes many wild forays and yet still manages to come together as a whole in the end. This is as good, as clever, and as pointed as any of his better known stuff. How this got lost in the shuffle is a mystery, but it really deserves a better look.
The plot pertains to a madcap hospital that is in complete disarray. The head surgeon is preoccupied with a ‘mad scientist’ experiment, the staff is threatening to strike, and the rich patients expect preferential treatment. All of this occurs while the Queen is set for a visit. Leonard Rossiter plays the head administrator that tries to keep it all under control.
Of course it’s not really about the hospital at all, but more a satirical look at British society and the arrogance of the upper crust as well as the apathy of the lower one. It shows how very wide apart they are and how the problem is only acerbated by the upper levels refusal to effectively deal with the lower level and their gripes.
The stuffy formalities of the British have never been played out better. At times it even goes for the jugular. Having the Queen and her entourage literally chased through the hospital by an angry mob is the best.
The cast is full of old British pros and all are quite hammy. Rossiter is the jewel. His nervous looking face and body tics have always been funny, but here they come to a hilt.
There are even a few gory segments that could satisfy almost any horror fan. In particular is Professor Millar (Graham Crowden). The scene where he cuts up a human brain, sticks it in a blender, and then has a cameraman drink it up like a milkshake, is outrageously funny.
The ending is a surprisingly sobering with a profound speech that deals not only with the inevitable advent of technology, but also the complexities of society’s problems, and the minimalism of our existence. Overall it’s not bad.
My Rating: 7 out of 10
Released: May 27, 1982
Runtime: 1Hour 56Minutes
Director: Lindsay Anderson
Studio: EMI Films
Available: VHS, DVD, Amazon Instant Video
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