This is hot stuff!
Shout! Factory is beginning to wind down their Roger Corman Cult Classics collection, but there are still a few gems out there to be shared, and The Nurses Collection certainly qualifies. This two disc set of classic medically themed exploitation is a little over six hours of good times and there are very few dull moments along the way. The revolving door for "talent" at New World provided Nurse fans fresh meat every few months, and the quality production from Julie Corman was all killer and no filler. I'm not going to attempt to synopsize each of these four films, that seems a bit over ambitious, but I will give a good overview of the things I really enjoyed about this set.
The Nurses Collection is made up of four loosely related films made between 1971 and 1974. The films don't seem to share any characters, but they do share several really great ideas. Namely, the idea that everyone loves sexy nurses. The films each follow the lives of three or four young, nubile nurses, both in and out of their scrubs, sometimes without even leaving the hospital! Being the progressive guy that he was, Roger Corman was always contributing ideas to the films and their casting, as such, there was always one minority nurse, either Latina or Black, and typically they managed to shoehorn at least one liberal revolutionary idea into each film for that girl's storyline. Night Call Nurses, was probably the most blatant "offender", as its black nurse ends up freeing an escaped black revolutionary who was injured in a prison riot, though the girls in the other films had pretty good stories as well.
Each of the four films were directed by different men, presumably because that way Corman never had to give someone a raise after they made a successful picture. However, Jonathan Kaplan (Night Call Nurses), went on to make Brokedown Palace, Truck Turner, White Line Fever and more, and was easily the most successful of this batch. Equally elusive after these films were the starlets, none of whom really went on to do much except for the Latina Nurse from Candy Stripe Nurses, Maria Rojo, who went on to a long career in Spanish language films. However, perhaps it's better that we remember them this way, in their prime. After all, they weren't hired for their acting ability, some of them are downright painful to watch.
In spite of their technical and artistic failings, the Nurse films never failed to entertain, and at an average length of around 75 minutes, they understood their purpose. No exploitation film should run more than 75 or 80 minutes, and the Cormans lived by that credo, much to their financial and artistic benefit. There are no sloppy story lines, no extended dialogue sequences, and the actresses aren't given opportunities to spread their dramatic wings, there's just action, exactly the way it should be.
The four films in The Nurses Collection look far better than I would have ever expected. The brand new anamorphic transfers look great and are relatively clean of major damage, though a bit of grime here and there never hurt anyone. The prints are clean and show a surprising amount of detail, I was very impressed. The mono audio on the four films is pretty good, though there's nothing flashy to make them stand out, I guess that's the best we can hope for. No major hisses or scratches on the soundtrack, good stuff.
The Nurses Collection has two bonus features. One is an interview with Jonathan Kaplan and Allen Holleb, a pair of directors. These two directors have great recollections of what it was like to be recruited for a Corman film, they went from relative nobodies to filmmakers in the span of a few weeks, and what a way to do it! The second featurette is an interview with Roger and Julie Corman, the producers of these films. Julie did most of the heavy lifting on the Nurses films, so she does most of the talking here. She's very open and honest about the process, and she shares exactly what she was looking for from these films, tits and ass. She had no illusions about what she was putting on screen, and that's a remarkable thing these days. She was really fucking good at it, as well!
I can't recommend this set highly enough. I've seen it on Amazon for as little as $14, it's a steal at twice the price, if you ask me!
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