[Quick Summary: One night at the hospital, a chief of staff on his last straw faces several crises, including intertwining staff deaths, and an odd young woman.]
This is a crazy-assed script.
I honestly had no idea where the story was going.
First, I worried about Dr. Herbert Bock, the crotchety doctor with every reason to be suicidal.
Then I got upset when the deaths of various hospital staffers interrupted Dr. Bock's story.
(It was like commercials interrupting your favorite soap opera.)
I didn't care as much that the hospital had run amok.
I just wanted to know if Dr. Bock was going to make it.
Here's kicker #1: I didn't even like Dr. Bock. But I still worried.
Here's kicker #2: The various staff deaths are important in the end to Dr. Bock's final decision.
Chayefsky did it again:
1) He made me care about a character I did not like.
2) He brought order out of what looked like chaos on the page.
3) It was a surprising journey.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: This is a technically difficult script.
To keep the chaos going while leaving clues and also not lose the audience? Very thin line.
The Hospital (1971)
by Paddy Chayefsky