The Interns (1962)


(director/writer: David Swift; screenwriters: Walter Newman/David Swift/based on the novel by Richard Frede; cinematographer: Russell Metty; editors: Al Clark/Jerome Thoms; music: Leith Stevens; cast: Michael Callan (Dr. Alec Considine), Cliff Robertson (Dr. John Paul Otis), James MacArthur (Dr. Lew Worship), Nick Adams (Dr. Sid Lackland), Suzy Parker (Lisa Cardigan), Haya Harareet (Mado), Telly Savalas (Dr. Riccio), Anne Helm (Mildred), Buddy Ebsen (Dr. Wohl), Stefanie Powers (Gloria), Katharine Bard (Nurse Flynn), Ellen Davalos (Loara); Runtime: 121; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert Cohn; Columbia; 1962)

“If you ever saw Dr. Kildare, there’s no need to see this inferior take on doctors.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A glossy, candid and irreverent look at five interns during their first year at New North Hospital, a municipal hospital that prides itself on the quality care it offers to its modest income patients. If you ever saw Dr. Kildare, there’s no need to see this inferior take on doctors. David Swift (“Love is a Ball”/”Good Neighbor Sam”/”Pollyanna”) keeps it dull as a soap opera tale about the new doctors and their love life and career problems. Most of the stories are obvious, the ones that aren’t can’t be believed because they’re too over-the-top. It covers medical problems from abortion to a mercy killing, and social problems from drug addiction to women’s lib. The film was a box office smash, which spawned a less successful sequel and a terrible TV series. It’s based on the best selling novel by Richard Frede and cowritten by Swift and Walter Newman.

John Paul Otis (Cliff Robertson) recklessly ruins his medical career when he falls in love with his patient, the hot model Lisa Cardigan (Suzy Parker), and tries to steal pills from the hospital to abort her pregnancy. John’s best friend from medical school, Lew Worship (James MacArthur ), does his duty and reports the pill theft. This gets Otis expelled. The boyish Lew falls in love with a student nurse, Gloria (Stefanie Powers), and offers puppy love and tries to persuade her to marry him and give up her dream of living abroad. Intern Considine (Michael Callan), a gag-man, is determined to study under celebrated psychiatrist Dr. Bonny, but he loses sight of his goal as he becomes romantically involved with more than one women, society girl (Anne Helm) and a nurse (Katharine Bard), and suffers a nervous breakdown.

Other subplots have Dr. Riccio (Telly Savalas), the head surgeon, forgetting his prejudice against women doctors and making the competent Russian widow intern Mado (Haya Harareet) his assistant. After the tragic death of an incurably ill Malaysian girl (Ellen Davalos), someone he fell in love with, Dr. Sid Lackland (Nick Adams) decides to devote his life to aiding the underprivileged in the Far East. … It was that kind of a film, where most of the principal characters weren’t too likable or real.