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An odd British film from 1982, directed by Lindsay Anderson and starring Malcolm McDowell, Graham Crowden, and a host of British character actors (and, curiously, Mark Hamill).

The skeletal plot concerned the attempts of our hero, reporter Mick Travis (supposedly the same 'Mick Travis' from 'If...' and 'O Lucky Man!') as he investigates goings-on at the titular hospital; the hospital staff are awaiting a visit from the Queen whilst the workforce are on strike or working to rule (a strike caused, in part, by a rumour that the hospital is treating an evil dictator in one of the posher suites). Meanwhile, the head doctor appears to be attempting to create artificial life in a newly-completed wing of the hospital. It all ends with no less than the future of humanity, reduced down to a single silicon chip.

The film itself is a satire on the state of Britain at the time - it was marketed as a comedy, which wasn't totally fair as it isn't very funny ('comedy' and 'the bloody decapitation of Malcolm McDowell's re-animated corpse' are two mutually-incompatible concepts). Its complete box-office failure and critical drubbing effectively killed off Lindsay Anderson's career, and didn't do Malcolm McDowell much good, either. Nowadays, it seems too miserable to be funny, and the emphasis on socially-paralysing industrial action seems to belong to a pervious era (for better or worse).

As a trivia point, some of Graham Crowden's climactic lines about the miserable plight of humanity were sampled by Orbital on their album 'Snivilisation'. Arthur Lowe, who dies of a heart attack in the film, died in real life shortly before release. It's on the verge of being re-released on DVD (in America only, for some reason), although I can't see it becoming much of a cult.

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