23 user 12 critic

The Carey Treatment (1972)

At a Boston hospital, Dr. Carey becomes an amateur sleuth to help clear a colleague who's accused of botching an illegal abortion that kills a 15 year old girl.



(novel) (as Jeffery Hudson), (screenplay) (as James P. Bonner) | 2 more credits »

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1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Peter Carey
Georgia Hightower
Capt. Pearson
Skye Aubrey ...
Nurse Angela Holder
Elizabeth Allen ...
Evelyn Randall
Chief Surgeon Andrew Murphy
J.D. Randall
David Tao
Dr. Joshua Randall
Roger Hudson
Sanderson the Pathologist
Steve Carlson ...
Rosemary Edelman ...
Janet Tao
Jennifer Edwards ...
Lydia Barrett


Dr. Peter Carey is a pathologist at a Boston hospital. The daughter of the hospital's Chief of Staff dies after an illegal abortion goes wrong, and Carey's friend and colleague Dr. David Tao is accused of performing the abortion. Carey doesn't buy it, and so he digs deeper, angering the girl's father in the process. Questions abound: Who performed the abortion? Was the girl really pregnant? And what does it have to do with stolen morphine, blackmail attempts, and a mysterious and dangerous masseur? Written by reservoirdog909

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You've never seen a doctor like Dr. Carey. He has a unique way of operating. It's called ... The Carey Treatment See more »


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 July 1972 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Case of Need  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Based on a novel entitled 'A Case of Need', published in 1968 and credited to Jeffrey Hudson. Decades later, Hudson was revealed to be a pseudonym for Michael Crichton. See more »


When Carey jumps the bridge and drives through gate, the front headlights can be seen breaking and the there are several dents in the car. When Carey drops off Karen the car looks fine. See more »


J.D. Randall: That's vandalism, doctor.
Dr. Peter Carey: No, that's integrity.
See more »


Referenced in Hammer (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

Not necessarily good, but interesting, and certainly worth seeing
19 June 2009 | by (Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile) – See all my reviews

James Coburn plays a pathologist who is investigating the death of the fifteen-year-old daughter of the chief of medicine, who has died of a botched abortion that has been blamed on his colleague (James Hong), who is an illegal abortionist on the side. A lot of people today would be horrified of a movie where the hero is actually trying to help out an abortion doctor. But this was 1972 and people tend to forget that everything wasn't all bright and wonderful back when abortion was still illegal either (I don't personally take a side on the abortion debate, but I have a problem with people on either side who think the issue is in any way morally clear-cut and unambiguous--it's not now and never was). But before anyone goes bemoaning "liberal Hollywood", there's also a real "Dirty Harry" element to this movie, like a scene where Coburn essentially tortures information out of a drug-addicted suspect by denying her treatment. This particular scene should offend liberals everywhere (as well as anyone else who's ever heard of the Hyppocratic Oath).

But the fact that this movie might offend both conservatives AND liberals is exactly what I liked about it. The real world is morally messy and no one person is ever 100 percent morally righteous, and the many, many Hollywood movies that try to make things morally simplistic and their protagonists morally pure actually do a great disservice in many ways. Of course, the moral complications in this particular movie seem to be more the result of a confused production than anyone's clever intentions. Still I always find an interesting failure like this much more enjoyable than a boring success (like whatever old TV show they're making into a major motion picture this week). And in 1970's Hollywood there was a whole string of these kind of interesting failures, which is why I find that whole period so fascinating.

This movie definitely has some problems as other have said. Jennifer O'Neil is completely wasted, and the basic plot is riddled with holes (i.e. noboby but the protagonist notices that the botched operation was very obviously not the work of a trained doctor). Coburn isn't bad though, and this movie does kind of anticipate both "Coma" and the popular TV series "Quincy MD". Not good, but interesting, and certainly worth seeing.

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