Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell) is a reporter who is about to shoot a documentary on Britannia Hospital, an institution which mirrors the downsides of British Society. It's the day when the ...
See full summary »
Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell) is a reporter who is about to shoot a documentary on Britannia Hospital, an institution which mirrors the downsides of British Society. It's the day when the Queen Mother is to visit the hospital to inaugurate a new wing, where advanced (and sinister) scientific experiments led by Professor Millar (Graham Crowden) will take place. Everybody in the hospital, from the cooks who refuse to cook, to the painters who couldn't care less to get their job done, to an African cannibalistic dictator (à la Idi Amin Dada Oumee) whom demonstrators want expelled from the hospital and tried, will contribute to making Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth I's visit (and Mick Travis's life) a true nightmare.Written by
Dragomir R. Radev <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Life is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel!
"The absurdities of human behaviour as we move into the Twenty-first Century are too extreme - and too dangerous - to permit us the luxury of sentimentalism or tears. But by looking at humanity objectively and without indulgence, we may hope to save it. Laughter can help." Lindsay Anderson
Britannia Hospital, an allegory for what was transpiring in England at the time, was released in 1982, and is the final part of Lindsay Anderson's brilliant lose trilogy of films that follow the adventures of Mick Travis as he travels through a strange and sometimes surreal Britain. From his days at boarding school in If.... (1968) to his journey from coffee salesman to film star in O Lucky Man (1972), Travis' adventures finally come to an end in Britannia Hospital which sees Mick as an investigative reporter investigating the bizarre activities of Professor Miller, played by the always interesting Graham Crowden, whom he had had a run in with in O Lucky Man. Checkout the Pig Man scene (This is well before Seinfeld.)
As is usual with an Anderson film the acting, by a top notch cast, most of whom had been in the previous two, is uniformly good. It is professionally shot by Mike Fash, although his work doesn't have the same feel to it that Miroslav Ondricek brought to the proceeding instalments, and is well produced. All three films have recurring characters from each. Some of the characters from If...., that didn't turn up in O Lucky Man, returned for Britannia Hospital. The film was lambasted by the English critics on release, although Dilys Powell listed it as one of the films of the year.
From its opening scene where an elderly patient is left to die on a gurney to its final revelatory scene of Miller unveiling his greatest scientific achievement, the film is choc full of surprises. One character is played by a dwarf and another by a man in drag. Yet one of the more pleasant surprises is the performance of Robin Askwith as Ben Keating, the school bully from If...., Askwith's film debut. Keating has organised a strike by the kitchen staff in retaliation for Potter ordering sixty-five ambassador class lunches from Furtnums. Askwith handles his role with skill, making Keating quite a likable character.
Over the years Britannia Hospital, as with the other two, has been revaluated and is now considered another classic from the Anderson stable. I, as did Dilys Powell, could have told them this when I first saw it back in '82.
18 of 22 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this