Director: Gerald Thomas
Stars: Kenneth Williams, Kenneth Connor, Shirley Eaton, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Hattie Jacques, Joan Sims, Leslie Phillips, Charles Hawtrey, Bill Owen, Terence Longdon
Hard on the heels of Carry On Sergeant, the second outing for the Carry On team placed them in a hospital – a setting that would become the most familiar theme throughout the entire series, with no fewer than four films being based around activities in a hospital. In Carry On Doctor the medical staff were incompetent and the patients revolting; in Carry On Matron the staff were lecherous and the patients were all pregnant; and in Carry On Again Doctor the staff were out to make a quick killing with their ‘fountain of youth’ formula. Carry On Nurse takes us back to a more sedate age, where the patients were patient, the nurses were beautiful, and Matron was in charge.
When he gets hospitalised for an appendectomy, local reporter Ted York (Terence Longdon) finds himself writing about all the other inmates – there’s bookish Oliver Reckitt (a very young Kenneth Williams); boxing star Bernie Bishop (Kenneth Connor) and working man Percy Hickson (Bill Owen). These are easy to diagnose, but others, such as Charles Hawtrey’s Mr Hinton, are not.
York can’t focus well on his writing, however, as he’s immediately smitten by Nurse Denton (Shirley Eaton at her finest). And he’s joined by the arrival of Leslie Phillips’s Jack Bell (“Ding Dong!”), adding more flirting to the mix.
The nurses are all rushed off their feet, and this isn’t helped by The Colonel (Wilfrid Hyde-White) constantly buzzing from his private room – usually because he wants Mick the porter to place a bet for him. All is silenced however, during Matron’s rounds.
As the film progresses, Bell is more and more desperate to get out, especially as he has a holiday planned with his current target, played by June Whitfield. If he doesn’t have his operation, he’ll miss his chance with her.
And when the Bunion removal gets postponed one more time, he manages (with the help of some smuggled champagne) to convince his drunken fellow-patients to cut it off for him……..
Norman Hudis’s early screenplays only hinted at the double entendres of those that would be so well written by Talbot Rothwell. But he had some flashes of comic genius, and some jokes that, for their time, were bordering on being cut out. The one that is most remembered from this movie is actually the very last scene, where the nurses are getting their own back on The Colonel once and for all – only for Matron to walk in and see The Colonel lying face down, having his temperature taken with a daffodil!