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House Calls

Despite some horsepower casting, House Calls is overall a silly and uneven comedy about doctors which wants to be as macabre as, say, Hospital, and at the same time as innocuous as a TV sitcom. It manages to be neither.

Despite some horsepower casting, House Calls is overall a silly and uneven comedy about doctors which wants to be as macabre as, say, Hospital, and at the same time as innocuous as a TV sitcom. It manages to be neither.

Walter Matthau, engaging as a middle-aged lech, is one of four stars in the film, herein a newly-widowed medic out to make up for lost infidelity time; Glenda Jackson, divorced from a philanderer, seeks a faithful new mate; Art Carney is a near-senile hospital chief of staff whose mistakes are supposed to be funny but come off as really nasty; Richard Benjamin is a young doctor whose part is essentially to provide plot exposition.

The film is thus a middle-years comedy-romance vehicle [story by Max Shulman and Julius J. Epstein] for Matthau and Jackson, latter in her first made-in-Hollywood project and appearing none too comfortable either; the lightness of her A Touch of Class Oscar-winning performance is gone.

Carney also huffs and puffs his way uncomfortably through an unsympathetic part. Benjamin relaxes and Matthau seems mellow enough.

House Calls

  • Production: Universal. Dir Howard Zieff; Producer Alex Winitsky, Arlene Sellers; Screenplay Max Shulman, Julius J. Epstein, Alan Mandel, Charles Shyer; Camera David M. Walsh; Editor Edward Warschilka; Music Henry Mancini Art Dir Henry Bumstead
  • Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1978. Running time: 98 MIN.
  • With: Walter Matthau Glenda Jackson Art Carney Richard Benjamin Candice Azzara Dick O'Neill
  • Music By: