Cast & Crew
During their first year of internship at New North Hospital, a group of aspiring doctors undergo both personal and professional upheavals. John Paul Otis destroys his medical career when he falls in love with celebrated model Lisa Cardigan and tries to steal pills from the hospital in order to abort her pregnancy. His lifelong friend, Lew Worship, feels duty-bound to report the theft, and Otis is expelled. Lew, who begins internship with plans to become a surgeon, becomes dedicated to obstetrics. He falls in love with a student nurse, Gloria, and tries to persuade her to marry him and give up her dream of going abroad. Intern Considine, who is anxious to study under psychiatrist Dr. Bonny, becomes so involved in two simultaneous romances that he loses sight of his goal and suffers a nervous collapse. The interns are confronted with the ethical problems of mercy killing, and the tragic death of an incurably ill Malaysian girl inspires Dr. Sid Lackland to plan to devote his life to aiding the underprivileged in the Far East. Mado, a woman intern from behind the Iron Curtain, is so dedicated to her profession that the head surgeon, Dr. Riccio, forgets his prejudice against women doctors and makes her his assistant. At the end of the first year of internship, a party is held at a nearby bar. Here Otis, now married to Lisa and working for a drug firm, meets the group once more. He is struck by what he has lost by his one compromise of medical ethics.
Brian G. Hutton
J. Edward Mckinley
James Z. Flaster
Charles J. Rice
The most surprising aspect of The Interns is how unsympathetic and unappealing the central characters are with the exception of Mado (Haya Harareet), the sole female doctor who bears the brunt of Dr. Riccio's (Telly Savalas) constant sexist remarks about working women. Dr. Considine (Michael Callan) is initially presented as an ambitious but charming ladies' man whose early scenes are played for light comedy. Over the course of the film he becomes a despicable cad who develops an addiction to speed because it allows him to forego sleep in order to work overtime, pursue his studies and juggle two romantic relationships. One is his socialite fiancée (Anne Helm), the other is an older nurse (Katharine Bard), whose friendship with a prestigious doctor is the sole reason for Considine's arduous pursuit. As expected, Considine crashes and burns in a Benzedrine freak-out which is richly deserved and unintentionally funny.
Then there's Dr. John Paul Otis (Cliff Robertson) who at first appears to be the most mature and conscientious of the interns but once he falls for Lisa (Suzy Parker), a glamorous but cynical high fashion model, he loses his way and his scruples. He agrees to help her abort her unwanted baby by another lover and attempts to steal the required drug for the procedure from the hospital. Unfortunately, he is caught red-handed by his roommate and friend Dr. Lew Worship (James MacArthur), dismissed from his job and disbarred from medical practice. In an unlikely coda, he marries Lisa who has decided to have the baby but the future looks shaky indeed for this couple who have totally trashed their professional careers.
The other two male interns are less devious but annoying in their own way. Dr. Sid Lackland (Nick Adams) is irrepressibly cheerful with a fondness for joke telling and an inappropriate bedside manner. Naturally he falls in love with one of his patients, a poor Malaysian girl (Ellen Davalos) with an incurable disease. The outcome is completely predictable and results in Lackland departing for the Far East where he will dedicate his life to treating poverty level patients. Nick Adams' sweaty brand of Method acting tics is hard to take but he might be preferable to James MacArthur's goody-two-shoes character, Dr. Worship. His earnestness and naivety might be believable for a high school student but not a first year intern and his awkward courtship of a nurse (Stefanie Powers) is like a case study in arrested sexual development. Easily the most dispensable and uninteresting of the interns, MacArthur does stand out - for all the wrong reasons - in one truly bizarre scene where he nervously coaches a pregnant woman through a potentially dangerous delivery. The scene alternates between the film's "sound stage" delivery room and real medical footage of a newborn baby that doesn't match the studio produced scenes at all. If anything, it only heightens the artificial nature of The Interns.
In the end, Haya Harareet's Mado is the only character you admire because she is the most intelligent and career focused of the interns, enduring male prejudice and insulting behavior at every turn. Her finest hour arrives at the climax where she finally confronts Dr. Riccio about his condescending attitude and the things she sacrificed as a single mother to be in the intern program. It's a bitter moment of truth that belongs in a better, more serious movie but then her outburst is rewarded by Riccio in a fairytale denouement that is typical of the film's comic book scenario. After all, this is the sort of movie where a shy, uptight nurse gets drunk at a wild New Year's Eve party, takes off her glasses, lets down her blonde hair and becomes the dance-crazed go-go girl every male intern wants to bed. I never said The Interns wasn't fun. You just wouldn't want any of them to be your personal GP.
Directed by David Swift, whose main claim to fame is his work for Walt Disney (Pollyanna , The Parent Trap ), The Interns was a box office hit for Columbia Pictures which followed up with a sequel, The New Interns (1964), featuring returning cast members Stefanie Powers, Telly Savalas, brassy Kay Stevens (in the role of nurse Didi) and Michael Callan, obviously recovered from his addiction to "bennies." As expected, most critics were not impressed with either film. The Variety review of The Interns stated "In its apparent attempt to dramatize candidly and irreverently the process by which school-finished candidate medics manage to turn into regular doctors, the film somehow succeeds in depicting the average intern as some kind of Hippocratic oaf. At times the release comes perilously close to earning the nickname, Carry On, Intern." Bosley Crowther of The New York Times deemed it an "immature film," adding "everything is so slight and slapdash that it could be a paste-up of several television serial shows." And The N.Y. Herald Tribune offered this comment on The Interns: "It will be observed that romance, not medicine, determines the careers of nearly everyone. Only the older doctors concentrate on medicine exclusively, presumably having mastered their romantic drives." All of which are true and shouldn't stop you from wallowing in the film's exploitive excesses, all of it stylishly filmed in black and white by Russell Metty, the Oscar®-winning cinematographer of Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus .
Producer: Robert Cohn
Director: David Swift
Screenplay: Walter Newman, David Swift, Richard Frede (novel)
Cinematography: Russell Metty
Film Editing: Al Clark, Jerome Thoms
Art Direction: Don Ament
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 (Dr. Madolyn Brockner).
by Jeff Stafford
Location scenes filmed in Los Angeles. A sequel was released in 1964 under the title The NEW Interns (q.v.).
Released in United States 1962
Released in United States 1962