Synopsis by Judd Blaise
This dark comedy charts the chaos that results when the panicked staff of a major English hospital attempts to prepare for a visit by the Queen Mother, only to face every problem imaginable. Britannia Hospital clearly attempts to recapture the anarchic bite of director Lindsay Anderson's previous satires If... and O Lucky Man, but fails to achieve the same combination of intelligent political critique, comic lunacy, and skillful filmmaking. (Indeed, the three films are often considered a loosely linked trilogy, largely due to the presence in all three of lead Malcolm McDowell). The film does make a valiant effort, but its commentary on the poor, labor disputes, and the inhumanity of bureaucratic institutions mixes uneasily with the film's broader elements, like the experiments of a cartoonish mad scientist. The result is often quite entertaining on a scene-by-scene basis, but the film never reaches the level of delirious, farcical energy or satirical sharpness to which it clearly aspires.
doctor/nurse, hospital, labor-relations, medical, patient [medical]