MGM gave a very stylish treatment to Michael Crichton's novel The Carey Treatment and provided James Coburn with one of his career roles as a pathologist/sleuth.
Coburn has good reason to turn amateur detective in his new hospital in Boston. His friend and colleague James Hong has been accused of murder and of performing illegal abortions. In super Catholic Boston in 1972 that was the worst kind of charge you can make.
Not only that the deceased is Melissa Torme-March the 15 year old daughter of the hospital head Dan O'Herlihy. O'Herlihy is head of a family where everyone goes into or is expected to go into medicine. His daughter was thought to go to Hong for an illegal abortion which was botched. Remember this was before Roe vs. Wade and there were all kinds of back alley abortion providers. Hong tells us he's feeling that women should control their own bodies and charges only lab fees. Others make big money off it, including some of the deceased's own family members. All hush hush and quite hypocritical, but those were the times.
Coburn's training as a pathologist makes him suspect that the young woman wasn't even pregnant, but there were some thefts of narcotics at the hospital that the police are also interested in.
Director Blake Edwards did well by his ensemble cast. For a doctor Coburn is hip and groovy as the times and pretty ruthless in pursuit of justice for his friend. Getting a career performance was Michael Blodgett who normally played beautiful surfer types, here he's one murderess masseuse. Skye Aubrey does well as a drug addicted nurse.
After forty years The Carey Treatment holds up well and is a painful reminder that women need access to safe and legal abortions as well as a fine medical murder mystery.
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