Dr. Herbert Bock (George C. Scott), the chief of medicine in a New York City teaching hospital, is contemplating suicide. He's impotent, his wife has left him, and his children aren't speaking to him. His hospital is also suffering from a recent spate of inexplicable deaths. In the midst of these setbacks, Bock is romantically drawn to the much younger Barbara Drummond (Dame Diana Rigg), whose father is a patient. As Barbara restores Bock's will to live, it turns out that the hospital deaths are murders.Written by
When Dr. Herbert Bock rants, "We have established the most enormous, medical...entity ever conceived and people are sicker than ever!" the slight pause, searching for the word "entity", was spontaneously ad-libbed by George C. Scott to save the take. The scripted line was, "we have ASSEMBLED the most enormous medical ESTABLISHMENT ever conceived." Scott heard his slip in mid-sentence, so he reworded the line so as to not make it repetitive. Director Arthur Hiller loved the save so much he used that take in the movie. See more »
About ten minutes into the movie, as the characters walk down a hospital hallway, followed by the camera, a technician and his microphone are revealed behind a nurse's cart. The camera then tightens the shot around the actors. See more »
You know, when I say impotent, I don't mean merely limp. When I say impotent, I mean I've lost even my desire to work. That's a hell of a lot more primal passion than sex. I've lost my reason for being... my purpose. The only thing I ever truly loved.
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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 »
"The Hospital" is pretty much what you'd expect from a Paddy Chayefsky movie on healthcare. Its Manhattan Hospital Center is a Gothic horror funhouse in which patients are killed either due to neglect, the wrong diagnosis or any other manner of bureaucratic nightmare. All of this is played to the ridiculous extremes and it makes for some hilarious dark comedy.
George C. Scott is the film's fiery main attraction (the man is incomparable, really), and his frustrated character is both energizing and exhausting. And his one-on-one dialogues with Diana Rigg help give this movie its emotional core. But the outlandishness of this hospital is what makes this movie memorable for me. Which honestly isn't supposed to subtract in any way from Scott's contribution (seriously, watch this for him), but there's also Barnard Hughes' tirade in the OR, Mrs. Cushing's badgering of despondent patients for their Blue Cross numbers, and the kind of farcical healthcare environment that really hits a little too close to home, these days.
This is riveting absurdity.
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