The Movie Waffler DVD Review - <i>The Nurse</i> (1975) | The Movie Waffler

DVD Review - The Nurse (1975)

Italian sex comedy reissue from Shameless Screen Entertainment.

Directed by: Nello Rossati
Starring: Ursula Andress, Jack Palance, Duilio Del Prete, Mario Pisu

The Movie:

Welcome to the world of the seventies sex comedy. Where climaxes always occur to the accompaniment of penny whistles, light hearted sexual assaults are not only encouraged but are considered foreplay and jobbing American actors can slum it in cameo appearances and get two weeks' paid vacation.
Shameless have built a cult reputation as a label specialising in Euro horror and sleaze to fine effect, a label that aficionados of the more esoteric cult work can always trust to deliver the goods. The Nurse is a less sleazy, more Ray Cooney meets Benny Hill, work than say Strip Nude For Your Killer. Despite moments of nudity and sex you are likely to find more Bush in an Iraq War documentary than you will in this tame outing.
What plot there is revolves around widowed millionaire Leonida (Pisu),who has a heart attack whilst in flagrante delicto with a gravedigger's wife whilst ostensibly visiting his dead spouse at the cemetery. With the possibility of another heart attack killing him, his family of ne’er do wells hit on the idea of hiring an improbably sexy nurse called Anna (Andress) which they hope will tip Leonida over the edge and allow them to cash in and sell the business to American Mr Kitch (Palance).
Obviously the main selling point of the movie is to see Ursula undress, however you do get two former Bond girls for your money with an appearance from Thunderball’s Luciana Paluzzi. For a film revolving around sexual allure it sure is chatty, spending way too much time with a dyspeptic gardener and drawn out subplot regarding the deflowering of a younger family member of the type that seemed to be de riguer in such eighties films as Class and Private Lessons, in which an older lady seduces an inexperienced man. Uncle Gustav provides the most fun as a military obsessed nut, which could be a subtle critique of Italy’s fascist history or might just be an excuse to have someone goose step into a swimming pool.
For such a slight film it looks beautiful, classically framed and highlighting the picturesque scenery. A mixture of exotic travelogue and erotica that seemed so prevalent in adult cinema before the age of inexpensive air travel allowed us to introduce competitive drinking and Chlamydia to foreign soil.
Andress may be the main draw to the film, but truth be told she has always been a somewhat wooden actress, on the plus side she has an admirable commitment to kit-offery that the Bond film lacked, although strangely she seemed sexier in a bikini in Dr No. The ladies, on the other hand, get Jack Palance, which seems a distinctly lacklustre trade off. With the granite like countenance of an Easter Island statue and the piercing stare of a new born baby vulture, Palance is hardly a sexual Vesuvius. He is only in three scenes and in two he is literally phoning it in. Rossati’s idea of a tycoon seems to be a big cigar, a glass of Scotch and a naked woman on your lap. Palance’s idea of smouldering sexuality seems to be staring intently into the distance whilst twisting a naked lovely's nipples as if trying to find a frequency on a short wave radio.
As a footnote to the wave of soft core erotica of that decade it is worth a watch, the type of film that used to be found lurking on the higher numbered satellite channels. If the work of Benny Hill and Robin Asquith have you in stitches and hot behind the collar then this is a classic. To a certain age group this may seem whimsically nostalgic, like finding a porn mag in the woods in those old fashioned days when you had to hide your ill gotten gains under the bed as opposed to clearing your browser's history before you go to bed.

For a minor film, it has a commendable 30 minute doc that includes discussion with the Director and Costume Designer, discussing the practicalities, the financial imperatives and the artistic intent behind the film.
An English and Italian Trailer, European lobby-cards and also a selection of trailers for other sleazy erotica on the Shameless label. Unfortunately most of the other films on offer seem more challenging and interesting than the main feature.
Both English Language dub and original Italian soundtracks are available, capping a good selection of extras.

Jason Abbey