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Herbert Bock is chief of medicine in a major teaching hospital. His wife has left him, he is impotent and his children have both disowned him. He is toying with the idea of suicide when patients begin dying, not from complications, but from the erroneous treatments the Hospital is giving them. People in the wrong beds are given wrong medicines, sent to operating theaters for incorrect surgery, and found in waiting rooms dead of natural causes. Barbara Drummond has come to take her comatose father back to the Sioux reservation where he operates a clinic and they each reach out to each other for emotional support, as a shadowy figure stalks the patients and staff of the hospital. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Writer Paddy Chayefsky performed a number of roles on the film. Chayefsky was the writer and a producer and also narrated the film at the start. Chayefsky reportedly had full control over content and casting of the movie. See more »
In the Emergency Room, the dead patient's eyes and head change positions between the time Mrs. Cushing and Dr. Spezio look at him. See more »
We could really use you down there, you know there's a curiously high incidence of TB. You would be a doctor again, Herb. You would be necessary again. If you love me, I don't see what other choice you have?
What do you mean if I love you? I raped you in a suicidal rage, how do we get to love and children all the sudden?
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Although Barnard Hughes played two distinct roles, the end credits lists Hughes as playing the role of Drummond but not Dr. Mallory. See more »
Doesn't get the tone quite right, but Scott is on fire.
An okay film that is mostly served as a podium for a phenomenal performance to be delivered to the masses. Paddy Chayefsky's script is loaded with hilarity and some strong monologues for the actors to devour (which they gladly do), but there's a lot going on and director Arthur Hiller doesn't quite know what to do with the tone, but George C. Scott's performance is one for the ages. He plays a suicidal doctor in the world's worst hospital, which is surrounded by lawsuits, protesters and utter incompetence. There's tons of stuff happening and it doesn't all come together fluidly, but it mixes in plenty of hilarious moments without ever straining too far into broad comedy territory.
Scott is definitely the primary thing going for it though, a towering force of expert comedy and drama that does what I wish the entire film had done. He's a great straight man for all of the madcap disasters happening throughout the hospital, and his suicidal rampages walk that fine line of being comedic and darkly intimidating at the same time. There's a scene between him and Diana Rigg where she tries to seduce him and he ends up going into a very dark reservoir of his mind that is haunting and terrifying. He devours everything around him, a wrecking ball of frustration with the world and he shines strong when delivering the impressive Chayefsky dialogue. The film itself doesn't quite hit the mark it's going for, but it's certainly still a worthwhile experience, elevated by the superb performance from Scott and Chayefsky's writing.
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