The Student Nurses (1970)

Four lovely young nurses in their last year of nursing school experience all kinds of turmoil and excitement in their lives: sweet Susan (winsome brunette Elaine Giftos) tries to comfort the bitter, terminally ill Greg (a moving performance by Darrell Larson), eager, but neurotic Phred (lovely blonde Karen Carlson) romances handsome gynecologist Jim Caspar (affable Lawrence Casey), free-spirited hippie Priscilla (the stunningly gorgeous Barbara Leigh) gets impregnated by laid-back drug dealer Les (the solid Richard Rust), and compassionate Lynn (nicely played by Brioni Farrell) helps out angry Mexican revolutionary Victor Charlie (the excellent Reni Santoni). Despite the fact that this film was made for Roger Corman’s legendary exploitation outfit New World Pictures, it’s anything but your standard mindless piece of leering soft-core schlock. Instead, it’s a very pleasant, charming and even often thoughtful time capsule of the social and political upheavals of the groovy early 70’s (the subplot involving Lynn and the revolutionaries is especially potent and provocative). Special kudos are in order for director Stephanie Rothman, who brings a welcome and refreshing intelligence and sensitivity to the material. Moreover, the four attractive and appealing female leads all turn in sound and praiseworthy work. Scottie MacGregor likewise impresses as wise supervisor Ms. Boswell and ubiquitous 70’s trailer voice guy Ronald Gans supplies the off-screen voice of a psychiatrist. Stevan Larner’s polished cinematography, the fantastic rock soundtrack, and the flavorsome folksy’n’funky score by Clancy B. Grass III are all up to speed.