Coming Soon Coupons Forum Reviews Shop Advertise

Nursing 101
BY G. NOEL GROSS  |  May 16, 2003

"A student nurse." Such an ingeniously simple brainstorm, yet it helped launch New World Pictures, one of fringe cinema's most prolific and influential studios. As B-mogul Roger Corman tells it, the nurse notion came from Larry Woolner, a former owner of a Louisiana drive-in chain, who partnered with Corman during the studio's financially lucrative fledgling steps. Roger figured why tell the story of just ONE nurse when you could go with FOUR intermingling story lines. He also insisted they reflect the social climate by being strong, independent women who needn't rush to a MAN with every problem. Of course, these nubile feminists STILL had to pop their tops every 15 minutes or so. This IS business, after all! Stephanie Rothman directed and co-wrote The Student Nurses in just three weeks for $150,000. The flick rang in a MILLION dollars New World's first year and simultaneously touched off a working-woman firestorm in exploitation cinema. It was such a hit that Roger made the same goldang movie four more times before he was through (or rather his competitors choked drive-ins with coattailers such as Nurse Sherri and The Naughty Stewardesses). Now that they've all arrived on DVD, it's an excellent excuse to revisit the nurse genre -- with an awareness of Corman's formula: the naughty nurse, the witty nurse and the socially-conscious nurse plot lines peppered with '70s cultural hallmarks such as drug experimentation, racial tension, sexual liberation, Vietnam, bikers, pop psychology, the anti-establishment movement and pert American gazongas.

But first, a couple quick technical notes. Only Student Nurses is presented in its original widescreen (1.85:1) format. The others are most likely fullframe as boom mics are visible on occasion. All but Private Duty Nurses (perversely named for an organization who complained about the original flick's sensuality) feature theatrical trailers and Candy Stripe Nurses contains a brief Leonard Maltin interview with Mr. Corman. That said, class is now in session ...

The Student Nurses
(1970, 81 mins)


Video: 3 Audio: 3
Extras: 0 Replay: 3
Advice: Highly
Private Duty Nurses
(1972, 75 mins)


Video: 2 Audio: 3
Extras: 0 Replay: 1
Advice: Rent It
Night Call Nurses
(1972, 77 mins)


Video: 2 Audio: 3
Extras: 0 Replay: 1
Advice: Recommended
The Young Nurses
(1973, 75 mins)


Video: 2 Audio: 3
Extras: 0 Replay: 1
Advice: Rent It
Candy Stripe Nurses
(1974, 76 mins)


Video: 2 Audio: 3
Extras: .5 Replay: 3
Advice: Highly
Title tunes: Groovin' about them groovy gals
Ladies hitch to work amid the girl-power strains of "We Can Make It!" Bar band "Sky" jams (a la Curtis Mayfield) at the vaguely nazi-friendly Schlunderfelders. Urban cowboy licks creep into the '70s groove. Girls sail topless as the song "Nurse" asks for a little of what they've got. Overheated singer pleads for a doctor's assistance in "Candy Stripe Nurse."
Advantage: The Student Nurses. That rousing anthem edges past the campy toons 'n' tunes of Candy Stripe Nurses.

Sexual healing: How to meet chicks and also eat your weight in Jell-O
Sharon beds gloomy Greg who flutters near death due to cystic fibrosis.
Spring diddles daredevil Domino whose plastic-plated brainpan keeps him one dent from a permanent dirt nap.
Sure Tex is always hop'd up on speed, but Janis says "ride 'em cowboy!"
Kitty comforts Matt since he nearly drown upon seeing her boobs. (Untold hazard of topless sailing.)
Dancer Dianne falls for poetic moves of an illegally medicated jock.
Advantage: The Student Nurses. Florence Nightingale has NOTHING on Sharon's bedside manner.

Roll up that sleeve: Bucking the establishment by any means necessary
Victor wages revolution in the streets and wishes Lynn would lick his wounds.
"Boomer" wants to be hospital's first black resident. Lola helps stage his sit-in.
Samson the prison radical finds solidarity with Sandra.
Joann lends her self-taught aid to an equally unlicensed womens clinic.
Marisa struggles to clear crush for being wrong race in the wrong place.
Advantage: Private Duty Nurses. Civil disobedience breeds change AND l'amour.

Just say ... Yes!: Nancy Reagan would never approve
Priscilla voluntarily gulps LSD spiked OJ and gets herself knocked up on the beach. Domino claims pot kept him alive in Vietnam. Trucker Toby free wheels on amphetamines. Michelle is slipped a dangerous designer drug and finds herself at an orgy. Team physician pumps basketball star full of uppers.
Advantage: The Student Nurses. Priscilla's nekkid gyrations and preachy hallucinations are jaw droppers.

Wannabes: Play doctor? Sure! But WE'RE wearing the stethoscope!
Lynn doesn't voice any outward goal to become a doctor, but does dig a slug out of an outlaw's shoulder.
Lola's doctor beau is mighty slow to take her higher aspirations seriously.
What's a stethoscope?
Joann boldly oversteps her station by playing doctor in AND out of the bedroom.
Dr. Dianne tags along on rounds and saves the day as an expert on blood typing.
Advantage: The Young Nurses. At a hearing, Joann defends her actions in a blouse unbuttoned to her navel.

Battle cries: War ... What is it good for?
Victor "Charlie" earned his nickname in Vietnam and still digs the fatigues. Vet Domino cracks wise about his Bob Hope snapshot collection. Sunbathing girls overhear news of B-52 bombing campaign. Deaf and mute veteran scribbles a come-on for Michelle. Nada.
Advantage: Private Duty Nurses. Domino may be bitter about "the conflict," but amusingly so.

Smell bacon?: Heartless coppers beholdin' to the power elite
Police really hate being shot at by social radicals.
Narcotics officer uses civilians as bait.
Crusty corrections honcho hides his racism poorly.
"Nothing in the rule book says I gotta go to the funeral!"
Bumbling cop accidentally apprehends suspect.
Advantage: Private Duty Nurses. Should've been white, but this guy is criminally unconcerned with civilian lives.

Dr. Feelgood: Physicians who wanna get -- physical! -- physical!
Dr. Caspar twists Phred's professional error into regular house calls.
Duplicitous Dr. Doug's save-the-planet earnestness pays off with Lynn.
Bramlett suggests Barbara "let me help" with her sexual inexperience.
Joann agrees that her beau is "a fast-rising young surgeon."
Horndog Wally swaps homework for nekkid Twister sessions with Sandy.
Advantage: The Student Nurses. After their breakup, Caspar claims Phred's so good that she "ruined screwing" for him.

I Spit On Your Grave: Here a rapist, there a rapist, everywhere a rapist
Priscilla knees a slobbering, berserkoid patient who'd pinned her to his bed. Lynn is molested in her apartment while preparing for a shower. Thankfully, no. Michelle is chased down by two men. Their attack is thwarted by a fishing lure. Cook foolishly attempts to defile Marisa at gunpoint.
Advantage: Candy Stripe Nurses. Scumbag deliciously underestimates Ms. Valdez.

Cross our hearts: Sexual liberation goes way beyond blazing brassieres
Perky Priscilla "never" wears a bra and lets pals perform her clandestine abortion.
Lynn has needs (dang it!) and won't settle for a "sexual epileptic" in the sack.
Psych students strip nekkid to show each other how liberated they are.
Speculum-supplied women perform their own pelvic exams.
Sexpot Sandy brings a rock star to HIS knees just by keeping hers together.
Advantage: The Student Nurses. Doesn't get any clearer than the "woman's right to choose" plot line. (No matter how slutty she may be).

Easy Riders: America's motorcycle love affair
Priscilla longingly paws Les' bike before their formal introductions. Domino pops wheelies and dreams of dirt track victory. Goon rides up just in time to box Toby's ears. Michelle wears a red cross on her helmet as she makes neighborhood rounds. Marisa desperately searches for the robbery witness with a, ahem, rainbow gas tank.
Advantage: The Student Nurses. Biker babes just don't come any hotter.

Oh, behave!: Head nurses who don't cotton to this free-love generation
Miss Boswell scolds Priscilla for the length of her non-regulation skirt.
Bland agrees that nurses should be "bright eyed and bushy ... [tailed]."
Mayo thinks Barbara's blouse is "two sizes too small."
Thwarting boundaries will led to "patients emptying their own bedpans!"
Bucks the stereotype by mothering her younger charges.
Advantage: The Young Nurses. Excellent foil for Joann's brash empowerment trip.

Cuckoo's Nest: It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world
Doctors don't bat an eye at brutally strong-arming a "manic" patient. Sadly sane. Sex'd up students participate in experimental group "therapy" sessions. Crazed Lizard King lookalike randomly harpoons two fellas on muscle beach. Hospital houses "non-reproductive" sex clinic.
Advantage: Night Call Nurses. Doc Bramlett has quite the seedy scene put together for himself.

What the F#&%!?!: Who ARE these bizarro schmoes?
Beyond-weird Mexican street theater devolves into a brawl.
Dewey is a beach-bum mating of Jeff Goldblum and Fox Mulder.
Psych ward orderly works out his issues with world's tiniest meat cleaver.
Dr. Sidney Freedman leaves the 4077th long behind.
This bozo simply can't get enough "marital therapy."
Advantage: Private Duty Nurses. M.C. Quick Release and his Waterbed of Shame are the only reason to see this sucker.

Six breasts. Three corpses. Nekkid man hiney. Gratuitous Hare Krishnas. Blouse swapping. Victor proclaims, "A woman should be protected -- no matter how crazy she is!" Six breasts. Two corpses. Gratuitous waterbed. Climatic dual surgeries. Domino yelps, "I don't need any help from a bedpan stewardess!" 16 breasts. Three corpses. Mirrored disco gloves. Gratuitous skydiving. Crossdressing. Barbara stammers, "Professional relationship!? We just finished making love!" Eight breasts. Six corpses. Kite tethered to wangdoodle. Questionably therapeutic hot tubbing. Pedestrian pancake. Ah, the sexist compliment, "For a nurse, you're a hell of a doctor!" 10 breasts. No corpses. Whittlin'. Interpretative dancing. Streaking. Cheerleader crotch cam. Cliff is in denial, "Hell, amphetamines aren't drugs. They're essential nutrients!"

Send your comments to [email protected]

Check out CineSchlock-O-Rama
for previous reviews and bonus features.

G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.