HOUSE CALLS (director: Howard Zieff; screenwriters: Max Shulman/Julius J. Epstein/Alan Mande/ Charles Shyer/story by Max Shulman and Jules Epstein; cinematographer: David M. Walsh; editor: Edward Warschilks; music: Henry Mancini; cast: Walter Matthau (Dr. Charley Nichols), Glenda Jackson (Ann Atkinson), Art Carney (Dr. Amos Willoughby), Richard Benjamin (Dr. Norman Solomon), Candice Azzara (Ellen Grady), Dick O’Neill (Irwin Owett), Thayer David (Pogostin), Anthony Holland (T.V. Moderator); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Alex Winitsky/Arlene Sellers; Universal Pictures; 1978)
“Though poor on character development, it catches the flavor of what a mediocre hospital looks like.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A standard bearer for innocuous romantic comedies. Howard Zieff(“Slither”/”Private Benjamin”/”Unfaithfully Yours”) weakly directs this superficial and unfunny TV sitcom about loose living doctors. It’s based on a story by Max Shulman and Jules Epstein. It’s written by those authors and Alan Mandy and Charles Shyer. Though poor on character development, it catches the flavor of what a mediocre hospital looks like.
The middle-aged surgeon Charley Nichols (Walter Matthau) is a recent widow. Charley uses his new freedom to chase the skirts. The great English actress Glenda Jackson, in her first made in Hollywood acting job, plays the feisty divorced wife of a womanizer, who is seeking a faithful mate. While a patient for a jaw operation, that’s botched by the chief of surgery, at Charley’s hospital, they meet and fall in love. Richard Benjamin plays a young doctor, Matthau’s friend, whose character helps clarify the film’s agenda.
The botched surgeon surgery head (Art Carney) is senile–which is supposed to mean that’s a funny thing.
The film was soon made into a TV sitcom starring Wayne Rogers.
REVIEWED ON 10/272015 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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