The immense success of the first Carry On film came as a huge surprise to most of the people concerned. Once it became clear that their first full-fledged comedy film was a hit, Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas set about planning a further project.
Carry On Nurse once again used a familiar setting, the jokes were corny, and the emphasis was on lavatorial humour.
The nurses of a men’s surgical ward at Haven Hospital have equal difficulty in resisting the advances of their charges and meeting the demands of their martinet Matron (Hattie Jacques).
Individual pursuits among the patients range from nuclear physics to studying racing form.
But these are all eventually forgotten in the collective pursuit of an unofficial operation on the bunion of new patient Leslie Phillips, anxious for a speedy discharge so that he can enjoy a gay weekend.
This operation, performed in a general state of intoxication, is not a success since all concerned succumb to laughing gas.
The combination of a cheery community of male bonding and lustful dreams, the man in the street battling against authority (this time the stern figure of Matron), regular chats with jolly rogue Leslie Phillips and nurses such as the gorgeous Shirley Eaton is almost enough to break your leg for and get in.
However, it falls to Connor, Hawtrey and a maniacally anxious Williams to bombard the medical profession with camp innuendo, pathetic whining, one-upmanship and childish play.
The Carry On regulars again roll out the stereotypes, Hawtrey minces and giggles from his hospital bed while locked into his radio headphones for most of the film, Connor stumbles and bumbles as an unwilling and sexually uneasy boxer with a broken hand and Williams plays his big-headed bookworm with sardonic relish.
Williams throws himself energetically into a battle of wills with frosty Hattie Jacques. Joining the already established group is Joan Sims as probationer Nurse Dawson.
The most famous scene sees Nurse Dawson getting her own back on “The Colonel” (Wilfrid Hyde-White) by taking his temperature using a daffodil in place of a rectal thermometer.
Carry On Nurse was a major success both in England and, amazingly, America (where it ran for two years in one Los Angeles cinema alone). The film became the highest-grossing movie in Britain in 1959, seen by 12 million people.
Staff Nurse Dorothy Denton
Student Nurse Stella Dawson
Nurse Georgie Axwell
Nurse Stella Dawson
Nurse F. James
Nurse Helen Lloyd
Nurse Rose Harper