Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Review: The Happy Nurses (197?, Harrison Marks)

Sometime in 1976 sex superstar Mary Millington ran into a spot of bother with the law after selling a policeman 8mm copies of Harrison Marks’ softcore Maximus films “Goodnight Nurse” and “The Danish Maid” at her Norbury sex shop, only to see the same copper return a few days later with some of his colleagues to raid the shop. And while the police never really needed a good reason to raid Mary’s shop, one can imagine she’d have been in even more hot water had she slipped him a copy of Marks’ The Happy Nurses, a hardcore “under the counter” production, which used the same sets, storyline and the more opened minded cast members-or should that be cast’s members- as Goodnight Nurse.

Released in Germany by Diamant Films, likely an offshoot of Charlie Brown’s Tabu company, the hospital ward set Happy Nurses opens with the hilariously off the wall sight of Marks’ muscle-bound stooge Howard ‘Vanderhorn’ Nelson, playing an irate foreign patient. A role Howard has been blacked up for, while the typical Vanderhorn disguise also includes a fez and a glue on goatee as an extra touch so people won’t know its him.
Clearly not a happy camper, and presumably suffering from a disease that turns you into a hybrid of Tommy Cooper and Al Jolson, Howard is quickly carted away by wheelchair by one of the staff, and while the Horn is away the doctors and nurses will play. With no patients around, the head doctor and one of the nurses seize the opportunity to screw each other senseless in his office. Elsewhere, a patient turns up on the ward and checks himself into a bed. No one actually bothers to enquire what is wrong with him, but there is a succession of randy nurses on hand to administer blowjobs and fuck him in bed, which while it might not cure his illness, presumably will cheer him up a bit.

Aside from Howard, the other familiar face in The Happy Nurses is Peter, the actor playing the doctor, who Marks also cast in his 8mm short ‘Hot Fingers’. Peter was clearly something of a player in the 1970s London hardcore scene, and pops up in numerous blue films by both Marks and John Lindsay. Slightly more mature looking than your average 70s porn actor, and distinguished by that and his wavy, Sid James type hairdo, he also had a small, uncredited role as -aptly enough- a stud for hire in Stanley Long’s film On the Game, from 1973.

After finishing off with the doctor, the nurse remembers she was meant to deliver an important letter to another of the nurses, and hurries off to find her, inadvertently walking in on her riding the patient. The letter reveals the man isn’t a patient and all, and it turns out he is actually the new ward porter who has been posing as a patient in order to get some free sex on the NHS. Left a not very happy nurse at the news of this deception, the nurse gets her own back by empting a fruit bowl over him, which knocks him out and leaves him with an apple stuck in his mouth. Actually given the spontaneous way sex seems to break out between doctors, nurses and patents in the film, its hard to make sense of why it matters whether he was a ward porter or a patient, still thats the NHS for you!!

Hyped by Tabu in their typically excitable, broken english manner as “a jewel for the broadminded … after this film you are bound to have a permanent itch, if not a quivering cunt”, Marks was definitely firing on all cylinders when he came up with this one, and a boozy sense of mirth is very much in evidence in the films mixture of horny blue movie action, Howard’s music hall like get-up and Marks’ penchant for working slapstick comedy and assorted silly gags into the dirty film equation. While the joke revelation about the ward porter might not be up to much, The Happy Nurses can lay claim to featuring the rudest, dirtiest sight gag Marks surely ever filmed, which entails poor Mr. Nelson being wheeled out again at the end of the film for the honour of suffering an even greater indignity than he does in Come Play With Me. Still moaning at the nurses while they are busy wanking off the ward porter in the next bed, Howard’s complaints are cut short mid-sentence when he is hit in the face by the ward porter’s misdirected spunk!! A freeze frame of Howard fuming and the (obviously fake) cum running down his face ends the film.

Actually this ending comes across -no pun intended- as a bit of an improvisation due, you suspect, to the porn actor running out of steam and failing to deliver the requisite money shot that by rights the film should have ended on, leaving Marks to substitute it with a belly laugh instead. A suspicion further fuelled by an earlier scene with the ward porter and one of the nurses also making use of the same porridge like substance, or whatever the heck it was that Marks used as a double for mansplat, that also ends up being squirted on Howard’s face for the film’s finale. Still while the porn actor doesn’t seem to have been able to deliver all the goods, Howard certainly went way beyond the call of duty for The Happy Nurses, blacking up, spending an afternoon being wheeled around and taking the porn equivalent of a custard pie to the face. Thus providing the film with its wickedly obscene, laugh out loud final moment, and ensuring that the Happy Nurses will live on as surely the only straight 8mm porn film to end with a blacked up, former bodybuilder being ejaculated on!!!