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Carry On Nurse (1958)

Courtesy of ITV Global Entertainment Ltd

Main image of Carry On Nurse (1958)
Directed byGerald Thomas
Production CompanyAnglo Amalgamated Film Distributors
Produced byPeter Rogers
Screenplay byNorman Hudis
Based on an idea byPatrick Cargill
 Jack Beale
CinematographyReginald Wyer
MusicBruce Montgomery

Cast: Ted York (Terence Longdon); Bernie Bishop (Kenneth Connor); Nurse Dorothy Denton (Shirley Eaton); Matron (Hattie Jacques); Jack Bell (Leslie Phillips); Nurse Stella Dawson (Joan Sims); Oliver Reckitt (Kenneth Williams); Colonel (Wilfrid Hyde White); Hinton (Charles Hawtrey); Sister (Joan Hickson)

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The comic and sentimental misadventures of the patients and staff in the men's surgical ward of Haven Hospital.

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After the unexpected box-office success of Carry On Sergeant (1958), the team of producer Peter Rogers, director Gerald Thomas and screenwriter Norman Hudis quickly came up with another comedy using the same template, this time set in an NHS hospital. Carry On Nurse (1959) was financially even more successful than the first, and a surprise hit in America, leading to a five-year contract for Rogers and Thomas to provide more of the same. They subsequently repeated its popular formula directly in such medically-themed films as the near-remake Carry On Doctor (d. Thomas, 1967), as well as Carry On Again Doctor (d. Thomas, 1969) and Carry On Matron (d. Thomas, 1972).

Like the previous film, Carry On Nurse was based on a pre-existing property owned by Rogers - Ring for Catty, written by Jack Searle and actor Patrick Cargill - and once again features a pair of romantic lovers (Shirley Eaton and Terence Longdon, who both appeared in Sergeant), around which a series of comic and sentimental episodes are loosely stitched together. The glue that binds the film is the Greek chorus of character comedians, many of whom simply reprise their roles from Carry On Sergeant. Once again, Kenneth Williams is the supercilious intellectual, Kenneth Connor is the 'little man', Charles Hawtrey the campy outsider and Hattie Jacques the no-nonsense authoritarian matron. To these are added Leslie Phillips, (who, playing a character named Jack Bell, utters his immortal catchphrase "Ding dong, you're not wrong" when his name is called out), while Joan Sims makes the first of her 24 Carry On appearances as an accident-prone trainee nurse.

It is probably best remembered, however, for its notorious final gag, in which the nurses decide to get even with the overbearing Colonel, played by Wilfrid Hyde-White, by replacing a rectal thermometer with a daffodil.

Sergio Angelini

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Video Clips
1. False Alarm (0:46)
2. Mr Hinton's symphony (0:31)
3. Ward discipline (3:07)
4. Mr Able (2:21)
Production still
Monthly Film Bulletin review
Cargill, Patrick (1918-1996)
Connor, Kenneth (1918-1993)
Handl, Irene (1901-1987)
Hyde-White, Wilfrid (1903-1991)
Phillips, Leslie (1924-)
Sims, Joan (1930-2001)
Whitfield, June (1925-)
Williams, Kenneth (1926-1988)
Carry On
The Carry On Legacy