What's Up Nurse! (1978)

Unrated   |    |  Comedy


What's Up Nurse! (1978) Poster

When Dr. Robert "Sweeney" Todd arrives to fill his post at a new hospital, he is shocked to see the lengths that the nurses go to in caring for their patients. Of course Dr. Todd is no ... See full summary »

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4.4/10
102

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6 March 2008 | sep1051
3
| Another "Oh, its not as bad as all that ...." comment
If you were to categorize all the comments on IMDb you would end up with a large group of "Oh, it's not as bad as all that..." comments. Inevitably the film in question has a few modest "good" points but ends up being described as the "worst film ever made". Some lonely poster feels called upon to try and put some perspective back into the discussion. That is all just a preamble to saying that What's Up Nurse isn't really as bad as all that.

Young Doctor Todd (Nicholas Field) has an embarrassing encounter with Olivia Ogden (Felicity Devonshire) on the train to his new hospital appointment. This sets up his meeting with her father, the senior surgeon, Doctor Ogden (John Le Mesurier), the hospital orderly Carthew (Graham Stark - also an associate producer of this film) and the hospital Matron (Kate Williams). He obtains lodging with the young widow Helen Arkwright (Angela Grant) and starts work at the hospital. His work leads him to a gentleman who believes he has a "frog" in his throat (Mr. Newberry - Keith Smith), a gentleman who has an unfortunate problem with an inanimate object ("The Jam Jar Man" - Ronnie Brody) and local confidence man Flash Harry Harrison (Bill Pertwee). Along for a variety of other roles are actors from the Carry On film series (Peter Butterworth and Jack Douglas) and assorted British television comedies (i.e. Anna Karen "On The Buses", Frank Williams "Dad's Army", Andrew Sachs "Faulty Towers" - a waiter again!).

There appears to be three basic criticisms of this film: its degrading for established British comedy actors to appear in a "sex comedy", that the film does indeed contain sex and that finally that it isn't all that funny. For the first point it should be noted that many established British actors appeared in sex comedies during this period (a relatively lean period for the British film industry). In this film the established actors (i.e. John Le Mesurier et al) don't really appear in any of the sexy bits but are more concerned with the hospital aspects of the script. On the second point, there is nudity in the film but it isn't any more than I see in mainstream Hollywood movies today. Its mostly handled by the fetching Angela Grant, apparently Felicity Devonshire was four months pregnant during the filming of this movie, and a nudist camp stumbled into by Dr. Todd in his search for Mr. Newberry' s frog! The third point is a matter of personal taste. British comedy is often the comedy of embarrassment and any combination of sex and the indignities of hospitals offer opportunities for comedy.

I'm not here to argue this is a great movie. In addition to the points above, the younger actors (i.e. Field, who reminds me of a young James Villiers, and Devonshire) are rather bland. However there is a steady stream of comedy, admittedly more of embarrassment than of wit, and little of it very original. In addition the film will appeal to the fans of the plethora of beloved British comedy actors who are doing their bit.

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Comedy

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