Britannia Hospital  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Britannia Hospital is a 1982 black comedy film by British director Lindsay Anderson which targets the National Health Service and contemporary British society. It was entered into the 1982 Cannes Film Festival and Fantasporto.

Britannia Hospital is the final part of Anderson's critically acclaimed trilogy of films, written by David Sherwin, that follow the adventures of Mick Travis (portrayed by Malcolm McDowell) as he travels through a strange and sometimes surreal Britain. From his days at boarding school in if.... (1968) to his journey from coffee salesman to film star in O Lucky Man! (1973), Travis' adventures finally come to an end in Britannia Hospital which sees Mick as a muckraking reporter investigating the bizarre activities of Professor Millar, played by Graham Crowden, whom he had had a run in with in O Lucky Man. All three films have characters in common. Some of the characters from if...., that didn't turn up in O Lucky Man, returned for Britannia Hospital.

"The absurdities of human behaviour as we move into the Twenty-first Century are too extreme — and too dangerous — to permit us the luxury of sentimentalism or tears. But by looking at humanity objectively and without indulgence, we may hope to save it. Laughter can help."

Plot

A new wing at Britannia Hospital is to be opened, and the Queen Mother – referred to as HRH – is due to arrive. The administrator of the hospital, Potter (Leonard Rossiter), is confronted with demonstrators protesting against an African dictator who is a VIP patient, striking ancillary workers (opposed to the exotic gastronomic demands of the hospital's private patients) and a less-than-cooperative Professor Millar (Graham Crowden), the head of the new wing. Rather than cancel the royal visit, Potter decides to go out and reason with the protestors. He strikes a deal with the protest leader — the private patients of Britannia Hospital are to be ejected and, in return, the protestors allow a number of ambulances into the hospital. However, unbeknown to the protestors, these ambulances actually contain the Queen Mother and her entourage.

Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell) is a reporter who is shooting a clandestine documentary about the hospital and its dubious practices. He manages to get inside and starts to investigate Millar's sinister scientific experimentation, including the murder of a patient, Macready (Alan Bates). As mayhem ensues outside, Travis is also murdered and his head used as part of a grim Frankenstein-like experiment which goes hideously wrong.

Eventually, the protestors break into the hospital and attempt to disrupt Millar's presentation of his Genesis Project, in which he claims he has perfected mankind. In front of the assembled audience of Royalty and commoners, Genesis is revealed — a brain wired to machinery. Genesis is given a chance to speak and, in a robotic voice, utters the "What a piece of work is a man" speech from Hamlet, until it continuously repeats the line "How like a God".




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Britannia Hospital" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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