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Britannia Hospital [DVD] [1982]

3.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Malcolm McDowell, Leonard Rossiter, Brian Pettifer, John Moffatt, Fulton Mackay
  • Directors: Lindsay Anderson
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Cinema Club
  • DVD Release Date: 19 July 2004
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001P045A
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 73,294 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Director Lindsay Anderson and screenwriter David Sherwin continue their story of Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell), who played the rebellious schoolboy in the 1969 film If. and the go-getter coffee salesman in the 1973 film O Lucky Man! In Britannia Hospital, Mick Travis is now an undercover investigative TV reporter in another allegorical story of the decline of the West. Set in a large, 500-year-old public hospital, Britannia Hospital is a dark, scattershot, Swiftian satire of the class conflicts in pre-Thatcher England. The hospital, staffed by megalomaniacal doctors, is in a state of near anarchy as its administration prepares for a visit from The Queen. Striking workers only allow "croakers"--patients near death--into the hospital, the kitchen staff refuses to prepare food until union leaders are bought off with promises of OBEs, and the head surgeon (Graham Crowden) conducts, with public funds, deranged experiments, while poor patients are deprived of basic services. On the day of the Royal visit, busloads of protesters arrive, and after battling with riot police, attempt to prevent the royal ceremony.

Working in a less apocalyptic and surreal style than that of O Lucky Man!, but still more fantastic than the American comedy The Hospital, Anderson and Sherwin try to anchor this extremely black comedy to a somewhat realistic setting while still aiming at nothing less than a comic indictment of all the ills of Western culture.

Synopsis

This is the third and final film in Lindsay Anderson’s powerful satirical trilogy dissecting modern Britain. The trilogy follows Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell) from his boarding school days in If… through his transition from salesman to film star in O Lucky Man! to his present vocation as investigative reporter, on assignment at Britannia Hospital. The cynical reporter Travis lands himself at Britannia where Vincent Potter (Leonard Rossiter), administrator of the Britannia, is desperately trying to restore order in time for a visit by the Queen Mother, despite staff disputes and cost cuts. But even nastier, surreal disturbances are waiting to be unearthed by Travis in the bowels of the hospital...

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
British cinema is all too short of visionaries. Hidebound by an over-literary word-heavy theatrical tradition and the Heritage Industry, our films tend to be realistic, small-scale and faintly cosy. After Michael Powell, there is only Derek Jarman - and Anderson.

The third film of the trilogy (after "If..." If.... [1968]and "O Lucky Man" (O Lucky Man! [1973]) is equally apocalyptic, equally surreal, and equally individual. The two strands of the plot involve on the one hand a strike-bound hospital desperately trying to prepare for a royal visit, and on the other a crazed surgeon trying, Dr Frankenstein-like, to create a man from scratch. On the television screens there are bombings, battery chickens and wars which stoned technicians giggle at; outside the gates there are Human Rights demonstrators protesting at the presence of a genocidal African dictator in the Private Wing. The influences of Bunuel, Vigo and Brecht are still strong.

Nothing escapes unscathed.
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Best rememebered for being the third in a trilogy of films by director Lindsay Anderson, this is a very dark and bizzare slice of British Cinema which is well worth at least one sitting. The story is split between a secret investigation & the royal opening of a new research wing on the hosptial grounds and the union problems that were and still are causing hell in the main hosptial.
A mixture of satire, dark humour and serious social commentary, the film is beautifully pulled off by a first class cast of who's-who of British actors and the excellent production values which is seldom seen even in the biggest features made today.
If nothing else you should give this a rent.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I've got the PAL studio Canal dvd and , being Anamorphic 16:9 is VERY heavily cropped top and bottom and even slightly on the sides!
Even though the dvd is clearer; you AREN'T getting the whole 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
Take it from me; you miss loads of the scene detail at top and bottom of the screen, if you buy the dvd version, in the hope of improving on this VHS.
Luckily I kept my Vid, before comparing them; and I'm very glad I did!
The VHS wins hands down, and the slightly inferior picture quality adds atmosphere to what is supposed to be, a very dingy, seedy hospital!
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Good dvd. Nice to see British films better than American tripe
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not so good as oh lucky man
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The second in the line of sequels to If, 'Britannia Hospital,' looks at the class conflict in a more obvious and more boring way. The message is lost and distracted by a mad surgeon's dream to build the ultimate brain. Director Lindsay Anderson would have been better off exploring further the class conflicts.

Filmed in 1982 (and set a few years previous), this depicts a time when the unions held the power in the country. Hell, even the Kitchen staff went on strike! The Porters were on strike and wanted cooked breakfast in addition to extra money, (a tall order when the kitchen staff were on strike!)

Travis, (Mr Mcdowell) is trying to to get an exclusive undercover television report about the illegal goings on. His two buddies in the recording van get stoned, which is vaguely amusing but that's all they do.

Some of the more comical moments were the hospital dj - a young a slightly slimmer Richard Griffiths who was interviewing a whole manner of hospital staff, (even a vicar) and when the patients of the private wing were served oranges and the African President orange slices!

Mostly it is film of black humour. The scene when a human brain is blended and drank, (I'm not kidding!) was particularly nascueating but the Frankstein moments funnier.

It attempts to convey modernality (the building that Millar inhabits would have been flash in 1982) but ends up feeling dated especially with its unfortunate two instances of racist language.

There was no explanation behind the street demonstrations, but they were among the most, 'Interesting,' parts of the film. Although only a generation ago, this was an era of a more noticeable class structure. Everyone in the kitchen spoke with a cockney accent and all the hospital managers were well spoken.
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picks up some themes from oh lucky man. however very exaggerated and not at the point. just burlesque.
however some good acting here and there.
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Format: DVD
Although the weakest of Lindsay Anderson and Malcolm MacDowell's Mick Travis trilogy Britannia Hospital deserves to be judged on its own merits. If and O Lucky Man were masterpieces but Britannia Hospital tells a different story. The character of Travis is more distant and not the central core of the film. Instead a magnificent ensemble cast of British thespians are slaved to the looming, central theme, the hospital of the title. A crumbling and run-down Victorian pile on one side but a gleaming tower of glass, steel and progress on the other. It is sharp, dry and oh so prophetic. Throughout the eighties and nineties it may for some have felt a little wide of the mark to be effective satire but in 2012 it suddenly feels more focused and vital than ever before. It's just a shame Anderson never saw his bleak vision come to pass.

Nice to see that this US import has gained a bit of value since I picked it up a few years ago but seriously, we need Blu-ray versions of the trilogy and we need them now.
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