This dark comedy charts the chaos that results when the panicked staff of a major English hospital attempts to prepare for a visit by the Queen Mother, only to face every problem imaginable. Britannia Hospital clearly attempts to recapture the anarchic bite of director Lindsay Anderson's previous satires If... and O Lucky Man, but fails to achieve the same combination of intelligent political critique, comic lunacy, and skillful filmmaking. (Indeed, the three films are often considered a loosely linked trilogy, largely due to the presence in all three of lead Malcolm McDowell). The film does make a valiant effort, but its commentary on the poor, labor disputes, and the inhumanity of bureaucratic institutions mixes uneasily with the film's broader elements, like the experiments of a cartoonish mad scientist. The result is often quite entertaining on a scene-by-scene basis, but the film never reaches the level of delirious, farcical energy or satirical sharpness to which it clearly aspires.~ Judd Blaise, All Movie Guide
Part of: Mick Travis Collection
In the powder-keg political environment of the late sixties, Lindsay Anderson launched a pop-culture Molotov cocktail into British cinemas with his stunningly subversive If…., an anarchic vision of rebellion at a British boarding school starring Malcolm McDowell as the everyman turned guerrilla revolutionary Mick Travis. In two subsequent films—the freewheeling anti-establishment epic O Lucky Man! and the divisive gonzo comedy Britannia Hospital—Anderson and McDowell continued to trace the story of the Travis character and his outlandish adventures in a through-the-looking-glass England.