Last night Gavin Smith‘s Film Comment Selects series screened a double-header under the title “Healthcare Mayhem” — Blake Edwards‘ mediocre The Carey Treatment (’72), a Boston-set James Coburn drama that no one ever has to see or contemplate ever again, and a “pink” print of Paddy Chayefsky‘s (and Arthur Hiller‘s) The Hospital (’71). Smith is coping with personality issues that prevent him from communicating like an adult, but I’m told that both 35mm prints were supplied by Quentin Tarantino.
For what reason, I’m wondering, would a screening series charge money to show a “pink” print of anything? In order to antagonize viewers? What’s the point of showing 35mm films if they look atrocious? A high-def version of The Hospital is rentable so some means of showing a decent digital version is within FSLC’s grasp. I would be enraged if I had bought a ticket only to be shown a classic film in a degraded “pink” condition. I wrote Smith to ask if (a) he knew the Hospital print would be “pink” before showing it and (b) if he offered a warning to patrons about the condition of the print before showing it. The answer is presumably “yes” to both but I can only presume.
This is one of my favorite passages from The Hospital, and one of the best definitions ever offered by a film of what phase-one feelings of “love” (i.e., the first few weeks) are usually about.