This week’s mystery movie was the 1972 MGM film The Carey Treatment, with James Coburn, Jennifer O’Neill, Pat Hingle, Skye Aubrey, Elizabeth Allen, John Fink, and Dan O’Herlihy as J.D. Randall, James Hong, Alex Dreier, Michael Blodgett, Regis Toomey, Steve Carlson, Rosemary Edelman, Jennifer Edwards, John Hillerman, Robert Mandan, Warren Parker, Robie Porter, Morgan Sterne and Melissa Torme-March.
Photographed by Frank Stanley.
Art direction by Alfred Sweeney, unit production manager Michael S. Glick, assistant director Newton Arnold, set decoration Raymond Molyneux, prop master Russ Goble.
Edited by Ralph E. Winters. Costume designer Jack Bear, sound by Charles M. Wilborn and Harry W. Tetrick. Music edited by William Saracino. Makeup by Richard Cobos. Hairstyles by Lorraine Roberson.
Filmed in Panavision. Associate producer Barry Mendelson.
Music by Roy Budd.
Based on the novel A Case of Need by Jeffrey Hudson. Screenplay by James P. Bonner.
Produced by William Belasco.
Directed by Blake Edwards.
A Blake Edwards-William Belasco Production.
The Carey Treatment in a Warner Archive (RIP) edition is available on DVD from TCM.
I thought I would start the year by going back 50 years to 1972 – a stretch because my general cutoff date for the Daily Mirror vault is 1960. And I wanted something besides The Godfather, Poseidon Adventure, Last Tango or Deliverance. I happened to have The Carey Treatment, possibly because it was directed by Blake Edwards, and the die was cast before I realized what a dated, woofer of a movie it is. The cars! The hair! The clothes! The jerky hand-held camera! The pseudo-Shaft score! The miscasting of James Coburn! The washed-out Metrocolor (though I have seen worse)! The still-timely subject of abortion. Jennifer O’Neill, who had recently made The Summer of ‘42 (1971), is featured. But she’s not enough.
By this time, Bosley Crowther had been put out to pasture and we are in the Vincent Canby years at the New York Times. Did he hate it? I’m guessing no.
Aha! Vincent Canby? Check! (March 30, 1972). And he seems to have liked it:
Blake Edwards’ The Carey Treatment, which opened here yesterday, is an absurdly entertaining movie about a medical pathologist named Peter Carey (James Coburn), the sort of rugged, left-wing individualist who makes $45,000 a year, spends a good deal of it on a set decorator’s dream of a Boston duplex, drives a station wagon a block long and affects the kind of slash-pocket, casual clothes worn mostly by male models for Esquire as they horse around, without damaging the creases.
At one point in the film, which pretends to be concerned with his hunt for the person who performed a fatal abortion on the hospital administrator’s daughter, Peter is described as a dissident professor who, like disloyal soldiers and renegade priests, is bent on destroying the Establishment. However, I don’t think we have to take this too seriously, for The Carey Treatment, like so many respectable private-eye movies, is sustained almost entirely by irrelevancies.
For Monday, we have a mystery woman.
Update: This is Melissa Torme-March.
For Tuesday, we have another mystery woman.
Brain Trust roll call: Jenny M. (mystery movie).
Update: This is Jennifer Edwards, Blake Edwards’ daughter.
For Wednesday, we have a mystery gentleman.
Brain Trust roll call: Jenny M. (Monday’s and Tuesday’s mystery women).
Update: This is Michael Blodgett.
For “Aha Thursday,” we have this mysterious gent with his camera adding an extra bit of mysteriousness.
Update: John Hillerman may be hiding behind a camera but there is no concealing his distinctive hairline.
We also have this mysterious gent on the phone.
Update: This is Pat Hingle, the 1970s go-to actor for police officials.
Update: This is James Hong.
Brain Trust roll call: Jenny M. (Wednesday’s mystery man), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and all mystery guests), B.J. Merholz (Wednesday’s mystery man), Mike Hawks (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery man), E. Yarber (mystery movie), Alexa (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery man), Benito (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery woman and Wednesday’s mystery man) and Patrick (Wednesday’s mystery man).
For Friday, we have our mysterious leading lady.
Update: This is the lovely Jennifer O’Neill, who has nothing to do in this film.
And our mystery leading man.
Update: And the miscast leading man James Coburn.
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Tucson Barbara (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Sylvia E. (mystery movie and mystery cast), Beach Gal (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests Nos. 2 and 3), Funky PhD (mystery movie, Monday’s, Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests, Thursday’s mystery guests Nos. 2 and 3), B.J. Merholz (Thursday’s mystery guest No. 3), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery guests), Gary (mystery movie, Thursday’s mystery guest No. 2), Patrick (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests) and Megan and Thom (mystery movie and all mystery guests).