Kick-Back Friday: #199
The Hospital (1971): Paddy Chayefsky’s biting satire of the bureaucracy and incompetence of inpatient care, some of which rings true 40 years later…sadly. George C. Scott plays a suicidal Chief of Medicine, who simultaneously confronts serial murders in his big-city medical center. A zone of confusion, the hospital is also beset by some serious 60s-type social anarchy from community activists. Chayefsky’s story goes off the rails during a prolonged encounter between Scott’s character and the daughter of a comatose inpatient (played by Diana Rigg and Barnard Hughes, respectively). But the film still amuses owing to the fact that several actors—including Nancy Marchand, Frances Sternhagen, and an uncredited Stockard Channing—were cast in bit roles.
A buried joke:
Patient: At 9:15 this morning I rang for my nurse.
Doctor: You rang for your nurse?
Patient: To ensure one full hour of uninterrupted privacy.