Candy Stripe Nurses (1974)
Director: Allan Holleb
Writers: Allan Holleb
Starring: Candice Rialson, Robin Mattson, and María Rojo

The Plot: Candy Stripe Nurses is a sex-comedy following three candy stripers at a local hospital. Marisa (María Rojo) is a young girl who follows her very own path, and usually angers the establishment while doing so. When she assaults a teacher at highschool, she is forced into the previously mentioned candy striper position. When she arrives at the hospital she meets a young Hispanic man who has been framed for a armed robbery. Although she is doubtful of his claims at first, she soon looks into the matter and finds out that he may be right. This of course leads her in an attempt tp try and clear his name and find the real culprits. Then we have Sandy (Candice Rialson), who eventually sidelines her doctor boyfriend in order to chase a rockstar who visits the hospital in order to find what ails his libido. Finally, we have Dianne (Robin Mattson) who has fallen in love with a young basketball player who was brought to the hospital after going into a violent fit of rage. It first appears that the young man is having some sort of fit brought on by head trauma, but after it comes out that he may have been under the influence of drugs, it becomes a matter of finding out who is covering up his drug use!

The Review
As someone who is looking to get into the nursing profession, it seems that this Roger Corman 2-disc set was specifically built just for me! Now I am fully aware of the amount of sex and partying that the future holds for me! Going right back to when I first saw the news about the release of this set, I knew that I had to see it in order to further my education! Or not. Bullshit aside, Roger Corman knew how to capture the attention of his audience. Although it is true that I am intending to enter the nursing field, I can’t say that I expect nursing college will be filled with nymphomaniacs. Nor do I expect to find every societal pressure in the world permanently represented in the hospital on a daily basis. However, that is the world that Roger Corman introduced the world to with his nurse series. For whatever reason, our society has a fascination with female nurses as a form of explicit sexuality. It likely goes back to the Florence Nightingale concept, which seems somewhat alluring for any man. To be looked after AND lusted after, it seems like heaven for most men! You throw such a concept into the seventies, where everything seemed to have a heightened sexual nature, and you get the birth of this niche genre. Candy Stripe Nurses is the final film from the original nurse series produced by Roger Corman, and it is certainly one of the better films within the set.

The film has that quintessential Roger Corman vibe that can be felt in the majority of his youth-oriented titles from the seventies. There is a certain aura within these movies where it seems as if young people are leading the charge against authority, and to me that marks the quintessential Roger Corman spirit. Whether or not it is true, the best work from Corman’s studio seems to evoke the same atmosphere. Keeping in tune with the youthful spirit, the movie has a thudding funk-oriented score that so many films of this era also had. The attitudes are ever present and directly reflect the carefree attitude of the seventies. The girls in this film are empowered, and they are not afraid to use their sexuality to get what they want. This is all perfectly representative of this wild time and place. Best described as a sex comedy, the sexual liberation is felt in nearly every scene of the film. That of course means ample amounts of nudity in scenes that pop up nearly ever three minutes. If made in today’s society, the standards of these young girls would likely be considered too loose and the characters would probably be considered unidentifiable. However, as a time capsule picture, the product doesn’t suffer in the least. Audiences should know what this was all about, and should appreciate the free-spirited nature of the plot.

Despite all of the sex flying around, this is indeed a comedy, and the humor is actually quite witty for this sort of affair. The dialogue is so much better than audiences might expect from a silly seventies-era sex comedy, and that remained one of the first things that drew me in about it. Despite the utter ridiculousness of Candy Stripe Nurses and its sexy shenanigans, the reason that the comedy works so well is because of the characters themselves. Although they might seem a bit over-the-top, they are given highly entertaining personalities. Despite the fact that some audiences will find some of these women a bit perplexing, they each have a rebellious wit that carries them through the movie. The intelligence can be felt and understood, and that goes a long way in forming an opinion about the movie. These films within the genre are cheap, but the cast and crew are so obviously involved in the joke that their enthusiasm becomes infectious. These actors know that this isn’t great cinema, but they still give it their all. Each character, of the main three cast members, are given the opportunity to shine and develop their individual stories. This is a trait that will be seen throughout the entire series on this set, but I particularly enjoyed the characters found in Candy Stripe Nurses. Each of the girls provides their own unique sexualized adventure, and each makes a three dimensional arch by the conclusion of the film. They inevitably discover something about themselves or the world around them. Formulaic stuff, but we have fun along the way!

What do you come into a film like Candy Stripe Nurses for, however? Surely it isn’t the well developed characters or the humorous writing. The sex is our main selling point in a film such as this one. Even the introduction for the movie features a naked cartoon female! The filmmakers wanted the audience to know, right up front, that this movie would provide the requisite breast shots. So, for those of you who are interested, yes, this movie does deliver in that regard. Topless girls are found in nearly every other scene. Shots that linger around the pubic area are avoided, however, so this one refrains from delving heavily into the world of pure sleaze. This is fine, because the movie manages to at least have some credibility, and our lead actresses actually seem all the more glamorous for it. The girls who star in the film are also undeniably attractive. María Rojo in particular, who plays Valdez, is an absolute stunner. It is actually surprising that this turned out to be her only role. From the rest of the leading ladies, she turns out to be the only actress who manages to keep her clothes on, which might also be part of her allure. She, along with Candice Rialson and Robin Mattson, actually manage to put in very solid performances. Their comedic timing is really well played for a movie of this sort. Knowing Roger Corman productions, one can easily assume that there was very little preparation time. Still, these girls are all top notch, and I enjoyed their scenes… even the ones that featured clothing!

The Conclusion
What else can be said about Candy Stripe Nurses? It follows a very strict formula, there is no getting past this. It is also wildly exploitative and panders to its audience at times. However, the movie brings JOY with all of its silliness. Audiences can watch the movie and have a laugh while soaking up the beautifully nostalgic look at the innocence of youthful sexual inhibition. In the world of our film, sexually transmitted diseases do not exist. In this world, people rarely become pregnant, unless it serves as a dramatic catalyst. This is popcorn fodder, but of the most exciting and imaginative sort. I have some problems with it, but they are minor. I give it a four out of five! It pushes the limits and earns its place out of pure entertainment. This is a definite recommend.

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