The beginning of the Eighties saw a rise in Gerda's popularity among screen producers and directors. In 1981, she had joined Peter Weir's great project Gallipoli and the following year she starred in two feature films - Next of Kin and The Clinic.
The Clinic is a rarity amongst Gerda's films since it is a comedy. In a VD-clinic, different and independent situations are being shown through an ironic, but warm-hearted, camera-lens. The film stars many famous Australian actors, many of whom Gerda would come to work together with in productions like Prisoner. Among others, we see Pat Evison, Jane Clifton, Betty Bobbit, Alex Menglet and Tommy Dysart.
As always, Gerda plays the person in charge. She is Doctor Linda Carmichaels, head of the clinic. Together with Chris Haywood, Simon Burke and Rona McLeod, Gerda has one of the more distinguished roles in the film. The resemblence between Dr. Carmichaels and Mrs. Reynolds in Prisoner is quite striking.
The story starts with a young fellow who seems reluctant in going inside the clinic. Just like so many others in real life, he feels embarassed. When finally inside he is relieved to see lots of other people who feels just like him. There are also those who have grown accustomed to the procedures of such a place and handles the situation with ease.
Early in the story, Gerda's character announces that she will leave for a meeting and will not be back until lunch-time. She disappears and is not seen for about half an hour until she returns to tell her work-mate (Pat Evison) what happened on the way to the meeting. Before breaking out in hysterical laughter, she explains that her suitcase, containing pieces designed for sexual information, was accidentaly opened up by a pair of nuns who were astonished of what they found among a respectable woman's belongings. It is certainly hilarious watching Gerda laugh her knickers off, forced to burst out in mid-sentence.
The Clinic is one of the pioneer screen-works when it comes to dealing with then delicate issues such as homosexuality. Like in Prisoner, the view is very liberal, which is noteworthy as 1982 was a long time before different sexual orientations became something that could be discussed with ease. The film even contains some friendly jokes about homosexuality. But, then again, the film jokes about almost anything connected to sex.
The originality with The Clinic is that there is no main story which the story centres around. The audience is merely shown a series of incidents during an ordinary day at the clinic. We follow the circumstances regarding both doctors, nurses and patients. When a hard days work is completed, so is the film.
It can only be presumed that Gerda's performance in The Clinic, as authorative and kind, eventually led to the role as Governor Reynolds in Prisoner.
|Pat Evison, Chris Haywood and Gerda Nicolson in one of the first scenes in The Clinic.|
|Gerda has a whole-hearted giggle with Pat Evison.|
Just like Ann Reynolds, Linda Carmichaels sits behind the desk in her office, giving out advice and prescriptions.
|Our great lady, trying to get everyone out of the building during a bomb-scare.|
|The end credits, where Gerda is shown first.|