THE YOUNG DOCTORS made back in 1964 is a  watershed of dramatic talent and performance. None more so then screen veteran Fredric March as aged Head Pathologist Doctor Joseph Pearson who clashes with new ways and  attitudes personified by Ben Gazzara’s character Doctor David Coleman  The  story is  not new yet the way it is handled with  60’s sensitivity is.

In perspective: this was the  ‘Golden Age” of medical television shows such as  BEN CASEY  and  DOCTOR KILDARE both (1961-1966).  DOCTOR KILDARE character has been around for  a while in a series of pictures  in the late  1930  and  40’s.  The 1960’s of course was also the age of ‘The Pill”  and  the beginnings of  Test Tube baby research plus abortion issue.  The  fallout  if  you will  from the  ‘Free Love’ attitude that was  to come.

The script was written by Arthur Hailey and  filmed as  NO DEADLY MEDICINE which was broadcast as  a 1957 television play starring William Shatner in the  Gazzara  role and Lee J Cobb in the  Fredric March part. Hailey also adapted  the script for the 1959 novel “THE FINAL DIAGNOSIS”.


Fredric March did intense research in the ways of a pathologist for the role studying procedures and  methods of  dissection. The brain used  in the above clip is an actual human brain that was  substituted at the last moment. Apparently the Director  Phil Karlson made the switch and  whispered the fact to March before filming the scene resulting in an impassioned  subtle moment.

This picture is filled  with wonderful supporting performances such as  romantic interest Ina Balin  a  student  nurse Cathy Hunt who’s conflict becomes central to the plot.


You will also find Eddie Albert  as Dr. Charles Dornberger who is close friend of Doctor Joseph Pearson in fact even makes himself the  ‘Peacemaker”  who changes.  Screen veteran Aline MacMahon who has  done so many pictures  from musicals in the  1930’s to  Film Noir in the  1950’s  to  Westerns as  feisty Dr. Lucy Grainger.

The  picture rights  were bought by none other  than Dick Clark best known as host of  ‘American Bandstand” who has a dramatic role as  a young doctor  who’s wife played  by  Phyllis Love is about to have their first child of which they suspect complications.

THE  YOUNG DOCTORS (1961) was  just one of the  1960’s pictures  to look at medicine and the  personal lives of people.   It still handles the somewhat dated  subject matter with  style  and acting skills.


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