Appellate Judge Tom Becker is tawdry but not gaudy.
In this hospital, patients come first!
After directing around 50 films in a 15-year span, Roger Corman founded New World Pictures. New World cranked out dozens of cheap, but profitable, films throughout the '70s, and Corman used the cash to distribute critically acclaimed foreign art films such as Cries and Whispers, The Romantic Englishwoman, and The Story of Adele H.
Among the mainstays of New World were the "Nurses" series and the "Teachers" films, softcore romps that were successful because—well, as any schoolboy or chronically ill person can tell you, after strippers, porn stars, and nuns, no woman is sexier than a nurse or a teacher.
On Roger Corman's Best of the B's Collection 2: Naughty Nurses & Tawdry Teachers, we get five nurses and two teachers, which I believe makes a complete set:
• The Student Nurses (1970, directed by Stephanie Rothman)
• Private Duty Nurses (1971, directed by George Armitage)
• Night Call Nurses (1972, directed by Jonathan Kaplan)
• The Young Nurses (1973, directed by Clint Kimbrough)
• The Student Teachers (1973, directed by Jonathan Kaplan)
• Candy Stripe Nurses (1974, directed by Allen Holleb)
• Summer School Teachers (1974, directed by Barbara Peeters)
When I started writing this review, I'd intended to provide individual plot descriptions, but after sitting through two Nurses and a Teacher, I realized I was basically watching the same film over and over again. They are all surprisingly plot-heavy, but it's really the same heavy plot. According to Bright Lights Film Journal, Corman reportedly instructed Jonathan Kaplan: "Exploitation of male sexual fantasy, a comedic subplot, action and violence, and a slightly left-of-center subplot…and then frontal nudity from the waist up, total nudity from behind, no pubic hair, and get the title in the film somewhere and go to work." And that is the formula consistently on display here.
This aesthetic—or lack thereof—works fine for these films. They were meant as one-shot, drive-in movies, to be glimpsed between gropes, not analyzed or discussed—or even rewatched. In the days before home video and excessive cable, films like these would turn up without fanfare, turn a buck, then disappear, making little-enough impression that when you found yourself and your honey (or a carload of friends) parked in front of the next installment later that year or the next, you'd barely notice that it was a virtual carbon copy of what you'd seen before.
In each film, we meet three—sometimes four—buxom, usually sexually liberated young women. Low comedy and high drama ensue as they do their jobs, have romantic entanglements, befriend patients (or students), and battle close-minded authority figures. Nudity is rampant, and we catch the ladies taking a refreshing shower, changing clothes, running on the beach (or the woods or the mountains or a deserted roadway), posing for photos, exercising, or just spending quality time with a panting male admirer.
Some of the films offer low-key thriller elements—a stalker here, an assailant there—and a couple feature some fairly nasty rape sequences. Hallucination scenes are not uncommon, triggered by a drug ingested willingly or otherwise. There are plenty of "serious" moments as well—the nurses and teachers are constantly in danger of losing their jobs because of their free-spirited dedication and their insistence on treating patients and students like people rather than chattel. And one features an at-home abortion.
In case anyone was watching, most of the films also included a "socially conscious" subplot, usually featuring the non-white characters. These simplistically political shenanigans generally involved sticking it to "the Man" and despite the heavy-handedness of the set-ups, often ended with a comical chase scene or fight.
The seven films are spread over four discs. They look pretty miserable, faded, soft, nicked, and in some cases, dark. Audio is flat and tinny. The words "Hollywood Select Video" are burned into the lower right-hand corner on each, and except for a few "Nurse" trailers, there are no extras. Most, if not all of these have been released before—I reviewed Summer School Teachers on a Retro-Seduction set just last year—and the whole thing feels like a box set of public-domain VHS tapes.
If quantity over quality is what you're looking for, then this is the set for you, though I'd advise you against watching them all in a row. Park your brains and expectations, saddle up some Easy Cheese and Saltines, and have a blast.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Infinity Entertainment
• IMDb: The Student Nurses
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