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THE STUDENT NURSES (1970)

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Discussion before

When Roger Corman formed his independent company New World Pictures, he asked the husband and wife team of producer Charles S. Swartz and director Stephanie Rothman to make a sexy film about nurses. What he got is viewed today as a snapshot of American life at the start of the 1970s and one of the first independent, or Hollywood studio films, informed by the women’s movement. Corman let them make the socially conscious film they wanted as long as it featured enough sex and violence to keep theater owners and audiences happy. Rothman took a standard Hollywood formula—a group of young women working in the same field and living together—and turned it on its ear by having her leading ladies deal with issues rarely touched by major studio films, including abortion, student protests, minorities’ conflict with the police, illegal immigration and sexual politics. The film’s success inspired a mini-genre of sexy nurse movies—none of them as forward thinking as Rothman’s picture—while its social conscience has given the film a life beyond its first release that extends to the present. (d. Stephanie Rothman, 89m, 35mm)

*STUDENT NURSES preservation courtesy of Cinema Conservancy & the Women’s Film Preservation Fund. Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.

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