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UK 1982
Directed by
Lindsay Anderson
115 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1.5 stars

Britannia Hospital

Completing a very loose trilogy of films and preceded by If…. (1968) and O Lucky Man! (1973), Britannia Hospital is an oddly anachronistic affair, made a good decade too late, and sadly not in the league of its illustrious forebears.

Like the earlier films, written by David Sherwin and featuring Malcolm McDowell playing the same character, Mick Travis, Britannia Hospital is a heavy-handed satire using no more than the broadest of brushes applied to the ineptitude and pretension of The Establishment, represented by the titular hospital, oddly married to a Dr Frankenstein story in which a mad doctor (Graham Crowden) is trying to perfect a race of superbeings in a new wing to be opened by the Queen Mother.

Although the film takes potshots at all manner of social malaise from terrorism and union corruption to class privilege you’d never know it was the 80s and Thatcher’s Britain as the farcical antics seem more suited to the punkish 70s (a poster of Bowie as Ziggy Stardust and the well known engagement portrait of Prince Phillip and Lady Di seem out of place) culminating in a particularly gruesome sequence in the mad professor’s laboratory.

None of this is either funny or satirically effective and unlike the previous films, McDowell has little to do. A diaappointment, the film is pretty much one for completists only.




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