22 October 2014

Night Nurse (1978)
78 min.
Directed by Igor Auzins.
With Gary Day, Davina Whitehouse, Kay Taylor, Reg Gillam, Kate Fitzpatrick, Edward Howell, Max Meldrum.
This 1978 Aussie TV thriller wants to be an 'eccentrics psychodrama' - sort of a terror take on 1975's documentary masterpiece Grey Gardens, if you will.

But unfortunately the promising premise here only serves up standard fare.

'The Diva' (Whitehouse) is a retired opera legend confined to her wheelchair and clinging to the mega glory days of her past.

She and her best friend-caretaker Clara (Fitzpatrick) live in a sprawling mansion, and the two women try their best to block out the modern world outside.

But when the Diva hires young night nurse Prudence (Taylor), Clara feels her longtime devotion is being threatened. It's not long before the Diva and Clara engage in a battle of wills...a war that will unearth a dark secret laid buried for some 30 years.

The three principals deliver solid performances (especially Whitehouse, in her larger-than-life turn). But their stalwart efforts can't compensate for the lazily conceived plot which fails to supply them with enough action and suspense to make this a worthy watch.

The ending is mildly zesty, but we needed more of that, sooner.

Still, Night Nurse taught us at least one big life lesson: never run in the house swinging an axe. Someone could get hurt.

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