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Lindsay Anderson’s BRITANNIA HOSPITAL starring LEONARD ROSSITER, GRAHAM CROWDEN, MALCOLM MCDOWELL, JILL BENNETT, VIVIAN PICKLES, JOAN PLOWRIGHT, ROBBIE COLTRANE, PETER JEFFREY, and MARK HAMILL

An elaborate and grisly joke, BRITANNIA HOSPITAL is a no-punches-pulled satire of the state of British affairs in the Thatcher era. The UK is portrayed as stricken by terrorist bombings on a daily basis. Union workers are shown refusing to help the wounded or feed patients ("We work an 8-hour day!"). Royals are represented by an elaborately coiffed character named Sir Anthony Mount (played by former Oopaloompa and TIME BANDITS’ Horseflesh, Marcus Powell), and Lady Felicity (played by GREGORY’S GIRL’s John Bett), not to mention HRH herself, as the film winds toward its inevitable conclusion. The main job of everyone in a position of responsibility is to stay centered on their own personal interest and behave as if all is just fine, even as disaster threatens from all sides.

Grafted, literally with blood and guts, onto this madcap black comedy by writer David Sherwin (who also wrote IF… and O LUCKY MAN!) is a far blacker view of the medical profession. The cash that could make Britannia Hospital function properly is all being funneled into the Quatermass-like glass fortress next door to the old building, where the telegenic Professor Millar is gleefully breaking all the laws of God and nature. If BRITANNIA HOSPITAL gives you a bit of O LUCKY MAN deja vu, it's because Mick Travis once again becomes the potential victim of horrifying & atrocious medical experiments. Lindsay Anderson's two previous socio-political satires (including the original IF...) were elaborate creations of slightly insane worlds with tentative, unresolved conclusions. At least here in BRITANNIA, the windup is a science fiction stunner that hits us as strongly as it does Millar's assembled audience of fools. All the political terror and struggle will become obsolete, as the plan of science is to reduce humanity down to data on silicon chips.

BRITANNIA HOSPITAL has a lot of laughs, and they are, for the most part, of the nervous black-comedy variety. The stubborn ignorance of the Unionists would seem ridiculous, if we weren't already prepared for it a generation before by I’M ALL RIGHT, JACK. The insufferable elite in the VIP ward hardly seem exaggerated either, and the the Idi Amin-like potentate is as decadent as the real-life template. The Guignol in Millar's surgery is as gross and bloody as anything in a EuroHorror film of the time, with McDowell wrestling with shrink-wrapped frozen torsos, and himself becoming a patchwork of mismatched body parts. The wonderful Graham Crowden, usually given much smaller parts in Anderson pictures, fills these scenes with grandiose speeches and the assuredness of the truly insane. Here he runs amuck, the giddy grin on his face still making us laugh amid the showers of blood and heads being ripped off!

Anderson has a great ensemble, pegged around Leonard Rossiter (2001, BARRY LYNDON)'s unflappable manager. Vivian Pickles (HAROLD AND MAUDE, SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY) and Joan Plowright (101 DALMATIANS, THE ENTERTAINER) do amusing turns, and Jill Bennett (THE NANNY, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY) is loathsome as Millar's chief ghoul. Other notable faces are introduced on the Hospital's feel-good closed-circuit radio station, or are alumni from IF... and O LUCKY MAN! The marvelous Arthur Lowe (THE RULING CLASS, THEATRE OF BLOOD) has a very short bit as a discarded, dying dotard who represents forgotten values from the Churchill era, and Alan Bates (ZORBA THE GREEK, GEORGY GIRL, BUTLEY) is also in the film for a short bit, billed as a “guest patient”. Watch for nice turns by Robbie Coltrane HARRY POTTER’s Hagrid), Gordon John Sinclair (also from GREGORY’S GIRL), Richard Griffiths (HARRY POTTER’s Uncle Vernon Dursley), Brian Glover (ALIEN 3), Peter Jeffrey (DR. PHIBES) and Fulton Mackay (LOCAL HERO).

People looking for an extended romp with Malcolm McDowell might be disappointed, as his role doesn't dominate the proceedings, but is part of the whole as an ensemble player. Fresh from RETURN OF THE JEDI is Mark Hamill, in a character role as a pothead television technician whose negligence gets McDowell turned into pork chops. See BRITANNIA HOSPITAL as a double feature with the George C. Scott / Diana Rigg comedy THE HOSPITAL, and you may never visit a doctor again.

MOVIES ARE ON ARCHIVAL QUALITY TAIYO YUDEN OR VERBATIM ***All DVDs are MOD (made on demand) using archival quality DVD-Rs, with full color inkjet art on the discs and full DVD jacket art, in a standard DVD box. All DVDs are also in protective sleeves for the best protection of your new DVD as possible. Every DVD is guaranteed against defects. Thank you!*** and here is the basic disc info: MOVIES ARE ON ARCHIVAL QUALITY TAIYO YUDEN OR VERBATIM All DVDs are MOD (made on demand) using archival quality DVD-Rs, with full color inkjet art on the discs and full DVD jacket art, in a standard DVD box. All DVDs are also in protective sleeves for the best protection of your new DVD as possible. Every DVD is guaranteed against defects. Thank you! MEDIA, LABELED WITH FULL COLOR ART. PICTURE AND SOUND ARE ALWAYS 10 OUT OF 10, UNLESS NOTED, AND ARE COMPARABLE TO, OR BETTER THAN ANY COMMERCIALLY PRODUCED DISC. THEY ARE HOUSED WITH FULL-COLOR BOX ART IN STANDARD DVD CASES.