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The Student Nurses

USA 1970
produced by
Charles S. Swartz, Stephanie Rothman, Roger Corman (executive) for New World
directed by Stephanie Rothman
starring Elaine Giftos, Karen Carlson, Brioni Farrell, Barbara Leigh, Reni Santoni, Richard Rust, Lawrence P.Casey, Darrell Larson, Paul Camen, Richard Stahl, Scottie MacGregor, Pepe Serna, John Pearce, Mario Aniov, Ron Gans, Jean Mason, Ashley Porter
story by Charles S. Swartz, Stephanie Rothman, screenplay by Don Spencer, music by Clancy B.Grass III

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The (intertwined) stories of student nurses (hence the title):

  • Sharon (Elaine Giftos) takes care of a terminal patient (Darrell Larson), who seems to have nothing on his mind but death. Sharon tries pretty much everything, until she figures the only thing he might actually need would be a good shagging. Now that works to keep his mind off things, but the next day he dies just the same (after all, he was a terminal patient).
  • Priscilla (Barbara Leigh) falls for a hippie (Richard Rust), and the two go on an acid-trip and have sex on the beach - unprotected sex I might add. The next day, he's gone, but he has left her something behind, something only an abortion can take care of. However, in the early 1970's an abortion is not that easy to get, so she asks Doc Jim Caspar (Lawrence P.Casey), a friend, to perform the operation secretly, to which he agrees - and the whole thing ends quite successfully too.
  • Phred (Karen Carlson) has fallen in love with above mentioned Jim Caspar and the two had a relationship going too - when she finds out that he had performed the abortion on Priscilla, her flatmate actually, and immediately falls out of love with him again, making out with his colleague Mark (Paul Camen) almost on the spot.
  • Finally there's Lynn (Brioni Farrell), who has an encounter with the (communist) Chicano movement and falls in love with its leader Victor Charlie (Reni Santoni) - but soon the two of them find themselves on the run from the police.

At their graduation, the four student nurses meet each other again, though Phred has meanwhile given up on becoming a nurse for real and instead has decided to become Mark's secretary while Lynn doesn't want to become a nurse in a hospital, but instead wants to - according to her newfound communist believes - bring the hospital to the people.

 

The first film by Roger Corman's then newly found New World Pictures, clearly an exploitation pic about four pretty nurses who are supposed to get naked as often as possible (though Brioni Farrell as Lynn has no nude scenes in this one), but only in R-rated situations - at least that's what Corman wanted the film to be, knowing his audience. However, he did also welcome and encourage certain left-leaning subplots (like Lynn's story) in his films, probably because his former employer AIP (he had only just parted ways with the company) would have opposed a thing like this - he never had any illusions though that a certain leftist spirit would influence his box office takes in one way or the other.

The film, which was a relative success at the drive ins, actually did succeed to put New World on the map, which followed this one with a string of similar as well as dissimilar, great as well as trashy films, some of which cinematic milestones of one sort or another.

Still, all of this isn't saying much about The Student Nurses as such: Actually, the film is pretty much as silly as you would suspect it to be and full of 1960's and 70's clichés ... but on the other hand it's also well-paced, at times quite (self-)ironic and overall quite entertaining - if in a silly way.

Nothing great maybe, but totally likeable - if you are into this sort of thing.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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out now on DVD