Friday, 1 April 2011

Best Actor 1971: George C. Scott in The Hospital

George C. Scott received his fourth and final Oscar nomination for portraying Dr. Herbert Bock in The Hospital.

The Hospital is a dark satire on hospitals by Paddy Chayefsky who later did the dark satire on television Network, both film have a very similar feeling.

George C. Scott's performance here is quite interesting in that it is his only nominated performance where he was not portraying a domineering commanding character. Dr. Herbert Bock is just a stressed out surgeon, who is very tired of his work and his life. I have to say I was a little surprised but how little of Scott is in the film. He is the lead certainly, but he really is only partially the focus, which I think is a bit of a problem with his character. The film only gives a little bit of time to the actual of development of his character, and the time that is given is quite rushed feeling.

Frankly this film seemed to me Paddy Chayefsky's picture more than anyone else's, since every facet of the characters and the performances seemed mostly there just to orchestrate his satire. This leaves Bock fairly underdeveloped in my opinion, otherwise than to show him a doctor who is almost a little mad do to stress, and can't take it anymore. Now this worked marvelously in Chayefsky's later film with Peter Finch's Howard Beale, but here Herbert Bock is still made to still seem human, so it does not work as well.

George C. Scott is good in the role, he shows the emotions of the character well. He is great at being stressed out, and his big yelling scene about impudence is well done, but I frankly wanted more out of his character. I understood exactly who he was in basically the first scene he was in, which was not Scott's fault, but rather the script's. Bock as a character just really leaves Scott to do all the work for the performance.

Scott's unique presence does work interestingly with this stressed character. His reaction to the craziness around him is well timed, and his sort of sanity is a good grounding for the film brought on by Scott, but still he could not make everything about his performance believable. I think mostly is his character's relationship with Diana Rigg's character. Well I certainly believed he jump on her the first chance he got, but the love relationship seemed rather phony to tell you the truth. Again I do not blame Scott so much but rather the script, it gives them little more than a dramatic monologue each to develop their relationship.

Overall this is a hard performance for me to rate. On the surface it is a finely acted performance. Scott does know what he is doing, and is good technically in the role. He was not perfect though, and the role itself left a whole lot to be desired for me. I don't know really this is a tough one for me, am I being too hard on Scott because of the weakness of the role, or am I giving Scott too much credit. I am not sure, he definitely hit the right emotional notes, and was realistic, but his character never became compelling or in many ways convincing.

2 comments:

dinasztie said...

I haven't seen this.

Sage Slowdive said...

I don't understand this nomination at all.