Blu-ray Review: THE HOSPITAL (1971)

THE HOSPITAL was directed by Arthur Hiller from a screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky and stars George C. Scott, Diana Rigg, Barnard Hughes, Nancy Marchand, Richard A. Dysart and Stephen Elliott. The score is by Morris Surdin.

Paddy Chayefsky’s magnificently dark comedy, The Hospital (1971), handsomely directed by Arthur Hiller, stars a magisterial George C. Scott as the deeply depressed Head of Medicine at a Manhattan teaching hospital where, over one long night, everything falls apart. The doc’s incipient suicide is interrupted only by the arrival of a seductive young woman (the delightful Diana Rigg), the daughter of a crazed patient (Barnard Hughes); she gives him something to live for and helps him get to the bottom of the bizarre sudden deaths suddenly plaguing the cold-hearted medical institution.

The movie follows Dr. Herbert Bock (George C. Scott), the chief of medicine at a hospital located in New York. He’s pretty much given up on everything in life which has led him to contemplating suicide. Besides all of his personal problems, he’s also dealing with hospital issues that include lack of funding and cutbacks and if that’s not bad enough there’s also several deaths that have happened inside the hospital that can’t be explained.

What happens is, Dr. Bock ends up meeting Barbara (Diana Rigg), a free-spirited young woman who gives him the spark he’s been needing to simply care about life again. Barbara’s father is a patient at the hospital and as she helps Dr. Bock restore his drive, they discover that these mysterious hospital deaths are murders and her father is connected to them. Crazy how things work out, right?

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, an image, a few quotes, and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inside is a booklet from Twilight Time that includes more images from the movie, some nice words about The Hospital by Julie Kirgo and more original artwork on the front and back. You can see the front cover of the booklet down below. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, The Hospital was an interesting watch that gets labeled as a comedy-drama but to me it’s more along the lines of a depressing psycho-drama that features a dark sense of humor at times. The story was okay and the cast did a good job with their characters. George C. Scott delivers a strong performance as this character that so many people can relate to. His life sucks so he’s contimplating suicide, but when he’s paid just a little attention by this attractive younger woman, it gives him a new lease on life. Sometimes that’s all it takes! It’s also crazy to see that not much has changed with all that hospitals have to deal with in nearly fifty years. The more things change the more they stay the same! Anyway, I liked the movie but didn’t love it because it was just so depressing and it literally wore me out. The Hospital is now available on Blu-ray and has a limited edition run of just 3,000 units.

Distributor: Twilight Time

Run Time: 103 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition widescreen (1.85:1) / Color / Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include Twilight Time’s trademark isolated music track and the original theatrical trailer.

  • Isolated Music & Effects Track
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (02:43)



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