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The story represents an idealistic clash between two pathologists, one (Fredric March) the veteran department head whose ideals and perspective have been mellowed and blunted somewhat by years of red tape and day-to-day frustration, the other (Ben Gazzara), his new assistant, young, aggressive, up-to-date and meticulous in his approach to the job. The conflict is dramatically illustrated via two critical cases in which both are pretty intimately involved. Written by
The Young Doctors (1961), directed by Phil Karlson from a novel by Arthur Hailey, is one of the few films I've ever seen that highlights the work done by pathologists.
The plot lines are fairly predictable, but they hold your interest. The acting ranges from excellent (Fredric March) to adequate (Ben Gazzara) to barely adequate (Dick Clark) to inadequate (Ina Balin). (Aline MacMahon as Dr. Lucy Grainger does extremely well in a supporting role.)
The medicine that we see has held up pretty well over 43 years. However, the initial case review in which March demonstrates his "take no prisoners" approach actually was not mismanaged.
Despite the weakness of "The Young Doctors," it held our attention and brought out emotional responses.
It's not worth a special trip to find it, but if you see the film offered for rental, you could do much worse.
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