This movie chronicles the trials of the mentally ill and their care-givers in an over-crowded ward of a hospital. Dr. MacLeod (Robert Stack) is a new, optimistic doctor who attempts to ... See full summary »
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William D. Russell
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This movie chronicles the trials of the mentally ill and their care-givers in an over-crowded ward of a hospital. Dr. MacLeod (Robert Stack) is a new, optimistic doctor who attempts to start an out-patient program for the women in the ward. His method of treating mentally ill patients without violence or punishment is met with resistance by the head nurse, Lucretia Terry (Joan Crawford). During Dr. MacLeod's treatment, the phobias and illnesses of the various women in the test group are explored. Written by
Stacia Kissick <email@example.com>
From The Washington Post, May 22, 1963: "So impressed were Senators Lister Hill and Thomas Kuchel with The Caretakers, a film on mental health, that they arranged a showing for senators and their staffs this afternoon in the New Senate Office building. The extra attraction: a post-screening reception in honor of stars Joan Crawford and Robert Stack, writer Henry F. Greenburg and producer Hall Bartlett." See more »
As Lorna runs into the hospital, there's nothing outside the door. But the shot from inside shows a small wall just outside the door which she would have had to jump over or go around to enter. See more »
Dr. McCloud (Robert Stack) is a new doctor at a mental institution. He's trying an new way to cure patients. It's called Experiment Borderline--patients are treated kindly, engage in group therapy and are given greater freedom to walk about. Head of the nurses Lucretia Terry (Joan Crawford) is dead set against this. She believes in using force to subdue and control patients. It's a battle of wills between them with the patients in the middle. Who will win?
Very dated but still worth seeing. It has some great black & white photography and some good acting. Stack is just OK as McCloud; Crawford is just great as Terry--one of her best performances; Polly Bergen engagingly chews the scenery as Lorna, a patient; Janis Paige does wonders with her role as Miriam, the slutty patient; Ellen Corby is pretty good as an elderly patient; Barbara Barrie is very good as Edna, a mute and Constance Ford is very good as gruff, stern Nurse Bracken. The only really bad performances were from Sharon Hugueny and Ana St. Clair (as patients) and Van Williams (a doctor) and Susan Oliver (a nurse).
The real bad parts of this movie are lousy direction and a horrible script. Bergen easily has the worst lines but pulls them off. Also its view of mental patients is very Hollywood--they all look perfect, aren't really dangerous and, by the end, are magically on their way to being OK. I can live with that though--this WAS made for a mass audience. Also the language is (for 1963) pretty rough in spots.
So, it's dated but worth seeing for some great acting and very nice photography. I'm giving it a 7.
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