The Sensuous Nurse (1973) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Scoop's notes in white

God bless those guys at NoShame Films, whoever they might be, for bringing The Sensuous Nurse to DVD. They did everything right.

The Sensuous Nurse is one of the great Italian sex farces of the 60s and 70s, but nobody has known that for a couple of reasons. First, it has never been available on DVD. Second, the available video tapes were not only of inferior quality, but were significantly expurgated as well. Although the film runs more than 100 minutes long, various video versions have been as short as 77 minutes. This DVD not only restores the film to its original full length, but also preserves the original widescreen aspect ratio, and has been digitally re-mastered from the vault negatives. The DVD even includes a 23 minute featurette about the film. Such a feature is rare for any 30-year-old film, let alone one which originally ran in Italy's "seconda visione" circuit (roughly the equivalent in quality of America's drive-in circuit).

The low IMDb rating is just crazy. I have to assume that the people who assigned those low grades must have seen the truncated versions, and that those versions must have been edited down to incoherence. The full version not only looks good, but it works quite well, both as a lowbrow comedy and as erotica. There are sexy scenes; there are funny scenes; and there are funny sex scenes. Oh, sure the humor is crude. It consists mainly of mugging and lowbrow hijinks. The liner notes mention that this film is basically like a Benny Hill sketch expanded to feature length, and that's true, but it's such good-natured, irreverent, over-the-top fun that I found myself laughing out loud several times, almost against my will. The politically incorrect comedy is just the icing on the cake, because the primary appeal of the film is not one but two naked Bond girls: Ursula Andress (Dr. No) and Luciana Paluzzi (Thunderball). Luciana didn't remove her panties, but I think this movie presents your only opportunity to see her ample bosom. Ursula showed it all, again and again, and looked magnificent doing so. Pretty Carla Romanelli also supplied full frontal and rear nudity in a comic role, and one other woman stripped stark naked just to get her nipples tweaked by Jack Palance while he was making a phone call.

The plot concerns a rich old man who has a heart attack during sex with a younger woman. Expecting his imminent demise, his family has just about divided his possessions when the family doctor presents them with the bad news: he might recover. The doctor has two things to add: (1) the old man would surely die if he had a second heart attack; (2) he will need constant care and, given his financial status, can and should be attended by a full-time nurse. His scheming nephew thinks about these medical recommendations and realizes that if the two points were to be combined into one, it would be a sinister and profitable plot. What if the old man had a full-time nurse so gorgeous that he would have to mount her, thus causing his second heart attack?

Enter Ursula Andress.

Andress eventually comes to realize that the old boy is quite a good fellow, while his family consists of a bunch of greedy sycophants, so she backs out of the scheme, falls in love with the old man, and ...

... well, I think you can probably take it from there.

Some of the family members are hilarious. One of the nephews is a retired war veteran who seems to think he's still in the army, and re-creates various military exercises and maneuvers around the grounds of the estate, complete with military music played on a powerful sound system. His nemesis is the local drunkard, who loves to play pranks on him by sabotaging his equipment. Those two characters, and their rivalry for the affections of the gorgeous maid, fuel much of the comedy.

Without really thinking it through, I started watching the film in English with English sub-titles, and that turned out to be a great idea, because the translations were radically different, and sometimes one of the two came up with a much funnier way to translate the Italian jokes into English equivalents. You will miss some of the humor if you choose only one or the other. The American English dubbing is surprisingly good - not good in the sense of "co-ordinated with the lip movements," but good in the sense of "actually employing real actors with a deft comic touch." Although I lack sufficient skills to understand the Italian soundtrack, I have to think the American actors probably did an excellent job at conveying the humor of the original Italian script.

I thought I was watching this film in order to record the nudity dutifully, but I ended up enjoying the hell out of it, dumb though it was. I recommend this DVD if you have any interest in the Italian sex farces of that period, or in the beautiful women in the cast.



  • Original Italian trailer
  • Widescreen. Anamorphically enhanced. Remastered from vault negatives. Looks good, but monaural sound.
  • Souvenir booklet with liner notes.
  • 23 minute featurette. Interviews with the director and costume designer.


Luciana Palluzzi - breasts

Ursula Andress, Carla Romanelli, and an unknown all do full frontal and rear nudity.

see additional details in the main commentary

Tuna's notes in yellow

The Sensuous Nurse (1975) is:

A) One of the best Italian sex farces ever made?
B) The best exposure ever from the amazing Ursula Andress?
C) A chance to see two naked Bond girls in one film?
D) Available in a pristine UNCUT DVD version?
E) Lighthearted fun, and reasonably good comedy?
F) Full of eccentric but believable characters?

The correct answer is G) All of the above

Producer Carlo Ponti contacted director/author Nello Rossati after seeing his successful low-budget La Nipote in 1974, asking him to make another sex farce in 1975, and offering him eleven times the budget. Rossati and his brother, who did the production design, were so used to low-budget production that they finished The Sensuous Nurse nearly three weeks ahead of schedule, and couldn't figure out how to spend any more of their time or Ponti's money on it. I agree, it is done perfectly as is.

It begins with a wealthy widower having a heart attack after having sex with the wife of the grave-digger, which goes a long way toward explaining why he had visited the cemetery twice per week since his wife died. His two nephews come to his aid, and find him barely conscious, chanting "pussy, hard-on, pussy." They take him home before the grave-digger returns. The priest gives last rites, and the doctor doesn't give him much hope. Almost all of his nieces and nephews are overjoyed at this, and hope to cut a deal with an American investor (Jack Palance) to sell off their uncle's vineyard.

The old boy proves hardier than expected and recovers, but the doctor cautions the relatives that a second heart attack would kill him for sure, and that they should make sure he doesn't get excited. That is when they hire nurse Ursula Andress to seduce him to death. Their plan certainly seemed flawless. Ursula Andress was arguably the most beautiful woman of her time and she was in her physical peak, so her charms could have overcome the resistance of the most abstemious man, let alone an old lecher. The master plan backfires, however, when Ursula finds out that she really likes the old man.

Most of the Italian sex farces of that period were so over-the-top they were just plain silly. This is a happy exception. Each character is somewhat developed, and much of the humor comes from supporting characters, especially one military retiree who stages military exercises on the estate, and can only get sexually aroused in his basement bunker with martial music playing. The drunken handyman, who is his rival for the maid's affections, constantly and hilariously thwarts the war games. In addition to top-notch erotica and physical comedy, the film is beautifully photographed and offers acting which is is good to excellent. Equally important, we can now see and hear every minute of it in an uncut widescreen DVD with an amazingly good transfer. Perhaps Ponti knew something about film preservation. The DVD also includes a featurette with memories from the Rossatis, trailers, a poster art and stills gallery, and excellent liner notes. This Noshame release elevates The Sensuous Nurse to its proper status near the top of the list of the best film nudity of all time.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major  reviews on file

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C+, a surprisingly charming genre film which can now be seen uncut, widescreen, and re-mastered.

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