The Young Doctors (film)

The Young Doctors is a 1961 drama film directed by Phil Karlson and starring Ben Gazzara, Fredric March, Dick Clark, Ina Balin, Eddie Albert, Phyllis Love, Aline MacMahon, George Segal, and Dolph Sweet.

The Young Doctors
Directed byPhil Karlson
Produced byStuart Millar
Lawrence Turman
Written byJoseph Hayes
Based onnovel "The Final Diagnosis" by Arthur Hailey
StarringBen Gazzara
Fredric March
Music byElmer Bernstein
CinematographyArthur J. Ornitz
Edited byRobert Swink
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
August 23, 1961
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budgetjust over $1 million[1]

The film is based on the 1959 novel The Final Diagnosis by Arthur Hailey. Ronald Reagan was the narrator in the film.


David Coleman (Ben Gazzara) is a young doctor hired by a hospital's pathology department. The head of the department, Dr. Joseph Pearson (Fredric March), sees Coleman as a rival, and they fight over many medical issues. Coleman falls in love with Cathy Hunt (Ina Balin), a nurse at the hospital, who develops a tumor in her knee. Pearson believes that the tumor is malignant and that the leg should be amputated, but Coleman disagrees. Coleman orders three blood tests on Mrs. Alexander (Phyllis Love), an expectant mother whose baby may have hemolytic disease, but Pearson believes that the tests are excessive and cancels the third test. Mrs. Alexander is married to a young intern at the hospital (Dick Clark), who, along with Coleman, tried to push for the third test. When the baby is born seriously ill, Dr. Charles Dornberger (Eddie Albert), Mrs. Alexander's OB/GYN, berates Pearson and conducts a blood transfusion to save the baby's life. Pearson's future at the hospital becomes uncertain, and he resigns. Coleman has changed his mind about Cathy's tumor and agrees with Pearson's decision, while Pearson says that Coleman reminds him of himself when he was young and urges him not to let hospital bureaucracy to wear him down.


No Deadly Medicine and The Final Diagnosis

Arthur Hailey wrote a two part television play for Studio One called "No Deadly Medicine". It was broadcast in 1957 starring Lee J. Cobb, William Shatner and James Broderick.[2]

Doubleday commissioned Hailey to adapt the script into a novel, The Final Diagnosis, published in 1959. "The quality remains high" wrote the New York Times.[3]


Film rights were bought by Dick Clark, then best known for Bandstand who took the project to the producing team of Laurence Turman and Steve Tillman (it was their first film together). Finance was obtained from United Artists.[1]

Jeffrey Hunter was sought for the lead.[4] Phil Karlson who had just been fired off The Secret Ways agreed to direct.[5]

Filming started in January 9, 1961.[6] Filming took two months, with studio work at the Production Centre, location work at Poughkeepsie and exteriors shot at Vassar Brothers Hospital. Many of the cast were taken from the New York stage.[1]

The movie was made with the co operation and approval of the American Medical Association.[7]


  1. By, H. T. (1961, Jan 29). CASE HISTORY: 'YOUNG DOCTORS' IN NEW YORK. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  2. By, V. A. (1957, Nov 15). LEE COBB TO STAR IN PLAY ON C.B.S. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  3. Fuller, E. (1959, Sep 20). Hospital microcosm. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  4. Hopper, H. (1960, Sep 29). Seek jeff hunter for 'the young doctors'. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from
  5. Scheuer, P. K. (1960, Oct 14). Karlson to direct march, dick clark. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  6. Of local origin. (1960, Dec 02). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  7. Hopper, H. (1961, Jun 23). Entertainment. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from

See also

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