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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The National Health [Blu-ray]


(Jack Gold, 1973)


Coming out to standard Blu-ray from Indicator in August 2022:

or buy directly from Indicator:

Indicator (Powerhouse) initial slate of Blu-rays
Spine #001 Spine #002 Spine #003 Spine #004

Spine #005

Spine #006

Spine #008 Spine #010 Spine #012 Spine #013 Spine #019 Spine #020


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Video: Indicator (Powerhouse)



Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:37:44.233 

Disc Size: 35,235,595,684 bytes

Feature Size: 28,846,089,792 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.01 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: August 28th, 2017



Aspect ratio: 1.75:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps



English (SDH), none



• New audio commentary with star Jim Dale
• New interview with playwright and author Peter Nichols (2017, 23:45)
• Original theatrical trailer (3:06)
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• New English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Laura Mayne, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and historic articles on the film 
• Limited Dual Format Edition of 3,000 copies

DVD included





Description: Jack Gold's film about life and death in a shabby London hospital interweaves the story of the real hospital with a fantasy one which exists in the soap-opera world of 'Nurse Norton's Affair', where everything is fully funded and patients are miraculously cured. A darkly funny satire on the state of the nation and also a deeply prescient comment on TV's ability to turn tragedy into entertainment, The National Health sits somewhere between the bawdy antics of the Carry On films and the angry satire of Lindsay Anderson’s Britannia Hospital, but emerges as a starkly prophetic film, more relevant now than ever.



The Film:

In fact, the impact of seeing the same performers at one moment pale, over-worked but concerned with their scruffy patients, and the next involved in an absurd six-sided romance that culminates in an interracial kidney transplant, is, if anything, intensified by the quick cuts possible only in film.

Lynn Redgrave, Eleanor Bron, Jim Dale and Donald Sinden, Sheila Scott-Wilkinson and Neville Aurelius, play the dual roles expertly. Colin Blakely is moving without seeking our sympathy as the ward's Everyman, an baffled, stubborn, unreformable working-class alcoholic.

Under Jack Gold's thoughtful direction, every part, even the bits, is firmly delineated. Mr. Nichols, properly confident of the dramatic validity of his characters and situations, has only occasionally felt it necessary to open up the action to the world outside the ward. In this concentration of unforced emotion, the rattle of the wheels of the stretchers on which the bodies of the men who die, one by one, are rolled across the yard to the hospital mortuary sounds like the drums of judgment.

Excerpt fromtheNYTimes located HERE

The British National Health System is skewered in this comedy set in a rundown London hospital. The hospital is filled with wacky staff members and patients, and the film strives to get all it can from their humorous escapades. The movie also includes a satire-within-a-satire, with "Nurse Norton's Affair" providing a send-up of TV hospital soap operas and giving some cast members the chance to play two roles. It tries for both comedy and social commentary but can't quite pull it off, although the competent cast does its best with the material.

Excerpt TVGuide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The National Health arrives on, Region FREE, Blu-ray from Indicator out of the UK. This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate and exports flawless quality. It is neither glossy nor pristinely sharp but shows pleasing grain, a dark, presumably authentic, image and realistic, if passive, colors. There is strong detail in the film's many close-ups.  The 1.75:1 image is solid, clean and consistent. This Blu-ray offers a pleasing presentation in 1080P.




















Audio :

The audio is transferred via a use a linear PCM 1.0 channel mono track at 1152 kbps sounding authentic and flat. The dialogue is all clear and audible. The Carl Davis score has plenty of Tchaikovsky (Piano Concerto No.1, Serenade for Strings, Symphony No.4 in F Minor, Symphony No.6 in B Minor, None But the Lonely Heart, Fantasy Overture: Romeo and Juliet, Marche Slav etc.) and is often used in a melodramatic soapy way. It sounds authentically flat, but still faux-serious. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable world-wide.



Extras :

Indicator add a new audio commentary with star Jim Dale (Dr. Neil Boyd) who actually started his career as a stand-up comic and was a regular member of the Carry On cast. He's still amusing and the light discussion adds value and appreciation to the viewing. There is also a new, 24-minute, interview with playwright and author Peter Nichols, also known for A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. There is an original theatrical trailer, an image gallery of on-set and promotional photography and the package contains a limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Laura Mayne, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and historic articles on the film. Being dual format a DVD is included and this edition is limited to 3,000 copies.



The National Health is a very funny in a sly, intelligent way with few sight gags and more situation and dialogue-driven. It's a step up from the Carry On hospital flics (Carry On Nurse, Carry On Doctor, Carry On, Again, Doctor) - less sexual innuendos and more the 'witty black comedy' end of the humor spectrum. Often it is tragically funny... because of its truisms. The cast is great. The Indicator Blu-ray presentation is perfect in both audio and video and the package contains valuable extras including the commentary, interview and booklet. Indicator are definitely the Gold standard of Blu-ray production. Those interested in this genre should indulge without reservations. 

Gary Tooze

August 25th, 2017

Coming out to standard Blu-ray from Indicator in August 2022:

or buy directly from Indicator:


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze





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