NEW WORLD PICTURES MONTH: Private Duty Nurses (1971)

Roger Corman got the idea for this movie — a sequel of sorts to The Student Nurses — after being sent a letter of complaint about that movie from the Private Duty Nurses Association. It’s written and directed by George Armitage, who wrote Gas-s-s-sHot Rod, Vigilante Force and Darktown Strutters. He’d go on to direct and write Grosse Point Blank.

It’s a really similar story to the first Corman nurses film as, you knew it, a group of nurses deal with the issues of the day. There’s Spring (Katherine Cannon, later Donna’s mom on Beverly Hills 90210) who falls for Vietnam vet and bike rider Domino (Dennis Redfield). Lynn (Pegi Boucher) has a water pollution storyline. And Lola (Joyce Williams) has to take a backseat to her black doctor boyfriend who is trying to change the status quo, but just for black men. Women will have to wait or so he states.

The social issues here feel tacked on, the women feel less interesting than the men they’re with — they often take a backseat to them and it feels wrong — and it just seems like we miss the deft touch that Stephanie Rothman brought to the first of New World’s female job movies. That said, the music is by a band called Sky and I kind of liked it; I’m amazed that Doug Fieger in that band was also in The Knack.

Armitage would go on to write the next film in this series, Night Call Nurses, which is a perfect exploitation title that suggests something illicit without ever saying it.

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