Tender Loving Care (1973) - USA - Drama - Rated R
Directed by Don Edmonds
Starring Donna Young (as Donna Desmond), Marilyn Joi (as Anita King), Michael Asher, Lauren Simon (as Leah Simon), John Daniels, Tony Mumolo, Josh Taylor (as Tim Taylor), George Buck Flower, Kathy Hilton
A soap opera plot involving nurses and doctors, drugs, extortion, and slappy gangsters offers plenty of skin to get through the occasional slowness of the film to make for an entertaining movie.
Karen is new in town. She's a nurse and just starting at the hospital where she meets and rooms with two other nurses. Between the three of them one will get involved with a doctor she has the hots for even though he is married to his profession, one will have to deal with a boxer whose medical condition will end his fighting career, and one will be dragged into her boyfriend's drug addiction with a by-product of extortion and murder. They will also encounter gangster, philandering guys who want to hook them up with other women, and tragedy.
Tender Loving Care is a short movie at 72 minutes, and despite that it does have an occasional drag, but not too many and the skin content is much better than the more successful nurses drive-in movies of the 70s that Julie Corman produced. Of what I have seen of the Corman produced nurses movies, Tender Loving Care has a stronger story that moves along with few glitches. What glitches there are is in the department of acting capability and silliness in some characters.
Of the three primary actresses, of course that would be the nurses, Donna Young's performance, even though she is the top billed of this movie (as Donna Desmond), is the weakest. She is not the least experienced of the cast, but most of her previous efforts were in x-rated movies where acting was not a prerequisite. For most of the movie she is fine in her performance but in at least two scenes she is stretching her ability as an actress.
Marilyn Joi, the most experienced of the three primary actresses and very probably under-credited on IMDB due to acting under so many pseudonyms (Anita King in this one), gives an expected good performance that is above the means of this film. Lauren Simon also turns in a good performance as the put upon girlfriend of a drug addicted doctor, not only having to deal with his mood swings but having to deal with covering up for him even facing extortion for sex. And of course George Buck Flower delivers a good performance as a lecherous hospital orderly as does John Daniels as a troubled young man facing the end of his boxing career.
There are weak performances in this, as in many low budget r-rated sex movies of the 70s, but the weakest are the gangsters. It seemed about standard in a lot of 70s drive-in fare to have slappy gangsters (humorously portrayed as idiots) whether it was a comedy or drama as this is. It makes me think that casting directors had special audition lines for bad actors called 'gangster auditions'; I don't think these guys had to stand in line for very long. ;)
I would normally review a sex movie, even though it is r-rated, on my Sex and Blood Show blog. This movie has only seen the the light of day on an Embassy Home Entertainment VHS release in 1986, which is difficult to find and expensive if you can, and an even more difficult to find DVD release, which I suspect is nothing more than a VHS master put on DVD, but I don't know for sure. I have the VHS but it is old and not worth even trying to do screen caps from it. Being I use screencaps from the movie I review on the Sex and Blood Show blog and don't have any, I decided to put the review here.
Actual reviews of this movie are also difficult to find. IMDB has two reviews on this movie's page, at complete opposite ends of the spectrum, and most other sites that even list a review for the movie are junk seo listings with no more than a basic informational listing of the director, stars, and running time of the movie. The standard description given for this movie is "Teenage nurses give love therapy. Lots of action when they try to straighten out the corrupt hospital staff" which is inaccurate as they are definitely not teens and no more than two of the hospital staff are portrayed in a negative light, and it certainly is not the hospital at fault.
My Rating: 3 Fingers. This has more to offer in terms of a coherent story and nudity than a lot of the other nurses movies of the same time, and in only 72 minutes it provides an entertaining watch if a hospital drama liberally sprinkled with sex is your type of movie.
The image I am using is a tamer newspaper ad for the movie I found at www.critcononline.com