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  Nurse on Wheels
Year: 1963
Director: Gerald Thomas
Stars: Juliet Mills, Ronald Lewis, Esma Cannon, Noel Purcell, Joan Sims, Raymond Huntley, Norman Rossington, Jim Dale, Amanda Reiss, Deryck Guyler
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 3 votes)
Review: After finally passing her driving test young Nurse Joanna Jones moves to the small country village of Blandley to take up the role of District Nurse. But how will she fit in with the odd characters she finds there, can she live up to her predecessor's reputation and will local farmer Henry Edwards ever ask her out? Her slightly dotty mother, who has moved with her, will only add to the frivolity.

Full of familiar British actors who had performed in many other Anglo-Amalgamated movies of the day, Nurse on Wheels is a perfect example of those films. In other words it’s a gentle comedy with eccentric characters, a dash of slapstick and a touch of romance. Although coming from the same team that were behind the Carry Ons (producer Peter Rogers and director Gerald Thomas) the jokes are far less risqué and the film is more a comedy/drama than an out and out gigglefest. Having said that the daily duties of a District Nurse make for enjoyable comic vignettes and the witty misadventures of young Nurse Jones are highly watchable. Such as her first day, in which she encounters all the various villagers who will form the basis of the character driven script, the irascible Miss Farthingale, the accident prone George Judd who takes an immediate shine to her, and many more. Not forgetting of course that prerequisite, the comical first meeting with the man of her dreams.

The plot moves along merrily, and although pretty predictable that doesn’t matter, such is the warmth and charm of the cast. Juliet Mills is her sweet likeable self as the sweet likeable Nurse Jones, she could play this sort of role with effortless ease and her performance here is no exception. Joining her are British favourites such as Esma Cannon, who gives another expert comic turn as the Nurse's “muddle-headed” mother, Joan Sims in more serious mode as the love struck vicar's daughter and Noel Purcell as the eccentric local grocery store owner. Nurse Jones’ love interest is played with typical English reserve by Ronald Lewis, who co-starred with Mills a year earlier in the excellent Twice Round The Daffodils. Here he portrays a rather middle class farmer, and there are no prizes for guessing that these two will be romantically entangled by the end of the movie, bar a few comic complications along the way of course. The catalyst being the arrival of Jim Dale and his heavily pregnant wife, played by Amanda Reiss.

Complemented by a score from Carry On composer Eric Rogers, Nurse on Wheels is a fine example of the warm, light comic British films being made in the late 50s and early 60s. A cast of true professionals deliver flawlessly timed performances in a family friendly movie that will raise more than a few smiles, from its opening comic driving test scene to its final gag (the only real moment when a bit of Carry On humour is evident.) It is undemanding fun, the sort of comforting Sunday afternoon film to watch with a cup of tea and a slice of cake, and you can’t really get a better recommendation than that.
Reviewer: Jason Cook

 

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Gerald Thomas  (1920 - 1993)

British director responsible for every film in the Carry On series. Started as an assistant editor before debuting with the childrens' film Circus Friends. Thriller Timelock followed, but the success of 1958’s bawdy Carry On Sergeant launched one of the most successful series in British cinema. Thomas directed 30 Carry On films up until 1978’s Carry On Emmannuelle, returning in 1992 to deliver his final film, Carry On Columbus. Other films include the Carry On-esque Nurse on Wheels and The Big Job, plus the big screen version of Bless this House.

 
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