Friday, November 11, 2016

#2,247. Candy Stripe Nurses (1974)

Directed By: Alan Holleb

Starring: Candice Rialson, Robin Mattson, María Rojo

Tag line: "Playing doctor was never like this!"

Trivia: Joe Dante edited the original theatrical trailer

Having recently watched Night Call Nurses, the third of Roger Corman’s “nurse” series, I figured I’d follow it up with the 4th entry, 1974’s Candy Stripe Nurses, not because I was expecting anything different (which is a good thing, seeing as the basic structure of both movies is about the same), but because the later film featured the lovely Candice Rialson. With her at the top of the cast list, I was hoping that Candy Stripe Nurses might, at the very least, be a bit more entertaining than the previous movie.

And it turns out I was right!

Three high school students go to work as candy stripe nurses at Oakwood hospital. While filling in for the receptionist at the facility’s sex clinic, the beautiful Sandy (Rialson) meets the doctor’s newest patient, rock star Owen Boles (Kendrew Lascelles), whose sexual energy is apparently at an all-time low. Anxious to score with a famous musician, Sandy takes a personal interest in the rocker, and will stop at nothing to cure him of his woes.

After a run-in with one of her teachers, teenage delinquent Marisa (Maria Rojo) is forced by her principle to “volunteer” as a candy striper, and while at the hospital tends to the wounds of Carlos (Roger Cruz), who was shot during a gas station robbery. Believed to be part of the gang that pulled off the crime, Carlos will be arrested the moment he recovers. But after convincing Marisa that he was framed, the feisty nurse sets out to prove he is innocent.

Diane (Robin Mattson) is an over-achiever, a straight-A student who wants to be a doctor, and believes her experience as a candy stripe nurse will benefit her in the long run. During her tenure at the hospital, she falls in love with star basketball player Cliff Gallagher (Rod Haase), who has been using speed to keep him going at game time. Diane does what she can to help Cliff get over his addiction, but with the playoffs on the line, there are those who’d prefer that she mind her own business.

After seeing her (all of her, in fact) in Hollywood Boulevard, I was hoping Candice Rialson would be just as funny in this movie, and even though it took a while for her story to get going, the actress generates laughs each time she encounters Owen Boles (especially during their final scene together). As with Hollywood Boulevard, Ms. Rialson isn’t shy about taking her clothes off, and does so quite often throughout Candy Stripe Nurses. But as she proves here, there’s more to her than a pretty face and a great body. 

Equal to her in every way is Robin Mattson, who is both smart and sexy as Diane. The scenes in which she’s tagging along with Dr. Wilson (Don Keefer) as he makes his rounds are among the film’s most entertaining (she offers her unsolicited opinion on every patient, driving the doctor to despair). As for Maria Roja, she does a passable job as the tough-as-nails Marisa, but even though her individual story is exciting at times, it lacks the charm and appeal of the film’s other tales.

Bottom line: Candy Stripe Nurses is a standard nurse exploitation flick, with just as much nudity, and as many improbable situations, as Night Call Nurses. But thanks to Rialson (and Mattson), what would have been an otherwise run-of-the-mill motion picture was more fun than it had any right being.

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