Tuesday, May 18, 2010

ROGER CORMAN'S BEST OF THE "B'S" VOL. 2: NAUGHTY NURSES & TAWDRY TEACHERS

In the early-to-mid 1970s, producer Roger Corman struck drive-in gold with a cycle of low-budget sexploitation films that are usually referred to as "The Nurses series." Hollywood Select Video has just released seven of these movies on DVD in a single, four-disc set, ROGER CORMAN'S BEST OF THE B'S VOL. 2: NAUGHTY NURSES AND TAWDRY TEACHERS.

All seven of these films follow essentially the same formula: a trio or quartet of liberated young women (usually a blonde, a brunette and a black or Latina girl) experience life, love and 70s-styled sexual freedom while working together as nurses - or, in a minor variation of the formula - school teachers. Each film is episodic melodrama which manages to showcase its young starlets in various states of undress (though not quite as often as one might expect). Acting, writing and direction are generally awful, though the women are all quite lovely in their 70s fashions -- and out of them.

The titles included in this collection are: THE STUDENT NURSES (1970), starring Elaine Giftos, Karen Carlson, Brioni Farrell and Barbara Leigh and directed by Stephanie Rothman; PRIVATE DUTY NURSES (1971), with Kateherine Cannon, Joyce Williams, and Pegi Boucher, directed by George Armitage; NIGHT CALL NURSES (1972), starring Patti Byrne, Alana Stewart, and Mitti Lawrence, directed by Jonathan Kaplan (TRUCK TURNER); THE YOUNG NURSES (1973), with Jeane Manson, Ashley Porter, & Angela Gibbs, directed by Clint Kimbrough; THE STUDENT TEACHERS (1973), starring Susan Damante, Brooke Mills, Brenda Sutton, directed by Jonathan Kaplan; CANDY STRIPE NURSES (1974) with the sexy Candice Rialson (HOLLYWOOD BLVD., CHATTERBOX), Robin Mattson, and Maria Rojo, and helmed by Allan Holleb; and SUMMER SCHOOL TEACHERS (1975), starring Rialson, Pat Anderson, and Rhonda Leigh Hopkins, directed by Barbara Peeters (HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP).

All seven movies are essentially the same and interchangeable, though I prefer the ones that starred Candice Rialson, a charismatic, beautiful girl who should have been a much bigger star. They're all very cheap, shot on locations in and around Los Angeles, and are only mildly titillating. A product of their time, most of them also include some unpleasant acts of sexual violence; it seems that 70s sexploitation films were almost obligated to include at least one rape scene, unfortunately.

Some of the featured actresses did go on to have decent careers on television, while others pretty much disappeared. Various familiar faces show up here and there in small roles, like Sally Kirkland, Dick Miller, Mantan Moreland, and Chuck Norris (as a karate instructor in THE STUDENT TEACHERS).

THE STUDENT NURSES is presented in 1:66 non-anamorphic widescreen, and looks pretty fair. The remaining six titles are all represented with full-frame (1.33:1) prints of varying quality. PRIVATE DUTY NURSES looks the worst - with a soft, almost blurry transfer - but none of them look all that great, with faded colors and varying amounts of print dirt and/or damage. In fact, they look basically VHS quality. Hollywood Select Video has also chosen to place their logo "watermark" on all the movies, which is really rather annoying. Audio is an adequate mono. The only extra features are trailers for four of the titles.

The presentation is frankly disappointing, but it's still nice to have these classic exploitation flicks available on DVD at last.

BUY: Roger Corman the Best of B's 2: Teachers & Naughty