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Two pathologists -- a veteran department head (Fredric March) whose perspective has been shaped by years of red tape and day-to-day frustrations, and his new assistant (Ben Gazarra), a young, somewhat aggressive man who is more up-to-date but who lacks his colleague's personal touch -- clash in a small hospital's lab. The gulf between their approaches is dramatically illustrated by two critical cases that both are intimately involved in. Written by
Watching The Young Doctors again after many years, I was struck by the film's no nonsense approach to the vagaries of medicine. While circumstances-and science have changed in the intervening 47 years since the movies' initial release, the drama of life and death in a hospital, as trite as that sounds, plays out with earnestness and poignancy. Ben Gazarra plays pathologist David Coleman, assigned to a lab headed by the incumbent Doctor Pearson.(Fredric March.) Pearson, (played to perfection by March), resents the younger man's attempts to modernize the antiquated path lab. The push-pull dynamic between the two men is believable,even if it does, at times, creep toward cheesiness. Coleman's budding relationship with nurse Cathy Hunt (Ina Balin), has to hit the right note, as their interaction figures prominently in the climax of the story. Both actors are up to the task, especially Gazarra, who makes his character live and breathe-and be real. The poignant scene of an exhausted Eddie Albert as a doctor trying to give a dying infant a chance at life resonates-even today. I found the film compelling and genuinely moving, just as I did when I saw it for the first time.
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