The Hospital (1971)

“The Hospital” (1971)


the big character

I’ve been having a growing interest in George Scott. He is something of a unique kind within film actors. He never embraced the Method revolution as deeply as so many of the American actors of his generation, but also he is not old-fashioned. His acting, even when he is closer to go over the top is always fluid, and his films, if dated on any respect, always work still today, because of him (at least). He is theatrical in that words, and not anything else, command his performance. His phrasing bends the text and delivers us all the nuances he requires for it. He carries a film.

Here we have his talents summed up to a clever script, and a wonderful use of space, in a cinematic way. What we have is a goofy detective story, mapped into the troubled life of an undesignated detective, mapped into one single well explored set. On top of everything, we have native American mysticism, thrown under the disguise of an interesting screen woman. So this is an accidental police story. Some murders happen, few clues are given. We follow these murders from a clueless point of view which, nevertheless, does not coincide with the point of view of the tormented doctor, who will partially act as a detective, to the point of bending the outcome of the story. So the curious narrative trick here is how the narrators eye is anchored on the space of the hospital, even though the story has to do with how the doctor deals with the facts. We watch the doctor’s version of the world from an point of view external to him, this is interesting.

**spoilers** Than a woman gets into the story, a sexy mystic beast, who deviates us from the back story, only to the point in which we learn she has (unaware) the key to the enigma. And than we have the story of the burnt out doctor, suicidal, hopeless. This 3 threads start as separate lines that we follow, bound together by the action of the doctor. The beauty of the script i show in the end these threads have one single conclusion: the murder is the woman’s father, and the woman is the healer for the doctors depression. So he protects the insane murder and intents to run away with the woman.

Oh, but we have the hospital. Now we know that was the ultimate character, all the time. The doctor understands this, so he can’t leave it. His existence as a character depends on the existence of that hospital, as a space. It’s that space that bends everything that happens inside, as the character of an horror film which you never see even of you know he’s there.

Notice how this is underlined by the protesters. All the time they are outside, wanting to get in, and as the film ends and the story unfolds, it’s their invasion of the hospital that makes us aware of how much we are into that character now. It’s the hospital, all the way.

My opinion: 4/5

This comment on IMDb

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