The Hospital

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For other uses, see Hospital (disambiguation).
The Hospital
Hospital cover.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Arthur Hiller
Produced by Howard Gottfried
Written by Paddy Chayefsky
Starring George C. Scott
Diana Rigg
Narrated by Paddy Chayefsky
Music by Morris Surdin
Cinematography Victor J. Kemper
Edited by Eric Albertson
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • December 14, 1971 (1971-12-14) (United States)
Running time 103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $14,142,409[1]
$9,042,000 (rentals)

The Hospital is a 1971 satirical film directed by Arthur Hiller. It stars George C. Scott as Dr. Herbert Bock and was written by Paddy Chayefsky, who was awarded the 1972 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.[2] Chayefsky also narrates the film and was one of the producers; he had complete control over the casting and content of the film.

Plot[edit]

At a Manhattan teaching hospital, the life of Dr. Bock (George C. Scott), the Chief of Medicine, is in disarray: his wife has left him, his children don't talk to him, and his once-beloved teaching hospital is falling apart.

The hospital is dealing with the sudden deaths of two doctors and a nurse. These are attributed to coincidental or unavoidable failures to provide accurate treatment.

At the same time, administrators must deal with a protest against the hospital's annexation of an adjacent and decrepit apartment building. The annexation is to be used for a drug rehabilitation center; the building's current occupants demand that the hospital find them replacement housing before the building is demolished despite the building being condemned sometime before.

As Dr. Bock complains of impotence and has thoughts of suicide, he falls for Barbara Drummond (Diana Rigg), a patient's daughter who came with her father from Mexico for his treatment. This temporarily gives Dr. Bock something to live for after Barbara confronts him.

The deaths are discovered to have been initiated by Barbara's father (Barnard Hughes), as retribution for the "inhumanity" of modern medical treatment. Drummond's victims would have been saved if they'd received prompt, appropriate treatment -- but they didn't. Dr. Bock and Barbara use a final, accidental death of a doctor at the hospital to cover Drummond's tracks. Barbara then takes her father back to JFK airport to escape back to Mexico, leaving Dr. Bock at his insistence to try and organize the chaotic Hospital.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

It was filmed at Metropolitan Hospital Center in New York.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

When the film was released, film critic Roger Ebert lauded the film, writing, "The Hospital is a better movie than you may have been led to believe. It has been criticized for switching tone in midstream, but maybe it's only heading for deeper, swifter waters."[3]

More recently, film critic Dennis Schwartz gave the film a mixed review, writing, "The gallows humor was the melodramatic farce's saving grace; the film uses its razor-sharp instruments to cut into the hides of the insensitive institutionalized health care providers like Michael Moore's Sicko does in 2007 to the fat-cat HMOs. My major gripe was that it could have been better, as Chayefsky delivered his part of the bargain and so did Scott; nevertheless the pic flattens out as the director increasingly loses his way in all the bitterness and invented horror stories and leaves us dangling over how to get out of such an irredeemable world (where modern man is perceived as forgotten in death)."[4]

Awards[edit]

The film won the Oscar, the Golden Globe, the WGA, and the BAFTA for Best Screenplay for Chayefsky's script. Despite having rejected the Oscar the previous year for his work in Patton, Scott was nominated for Best Actor, but the award went instead to Gene Hackman for The French Connection.

At the 22nd Berlin International Film Festival in 1972, the film won the Silver Bear Extraordinary Jury Prize.[5]

In 1995, this film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Influence[edit]

Chayevsky, after winning the Oscar, turned his attention to television news. This interest led ultimately, in an investigation well documented by Chayevsky's voluminous notes, to the 1976 film Network.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Hospital, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  2. ^ The Hospital at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger Chicago Sun-Times, film review, February 7, 1972. Last accessed: February 23, 2011.
  4. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, July 13, 2007. Last accessed: February 23, 2011.
  5. ^ "Berlinale: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  6. ^ Itzkoff, Dave, "Notes of a Screenwriter, Mad as Hell", The New York Times, May 19, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-24.

External links[edit]