House Calls (1978 film)

House Calls
Directed by Howard Zieff
Produced by Jennings Lang (executive producer)
Arlene Sellers (producer)
Alex Winitsky (producer)
Written by Julius J. Epstein (story)
Alan Mandel (writer)
Max Shulman (story)
Charles Shyer (writer)
Starring Walter Matthau
Glenda Jackson
Art Carney
Richard Benjamin
Music by Henry Mancini
Cinematography David M. Walsh
Edited by Edward Warschilka
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • March 15, 1978 (1978-03-15)
Running time
98 mins.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6.5 million
Box office $29,000,000[1]

House Calls is a 1978 film comedy starring Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson, directed by Howard Zieff.[2]

Plot summary

Charles Nichols is a respected doctor. He is also a new widower, and as soon as he returns to Los Angeles from a tropical vacation and period of mourning, he finds himself propositioned by a number of women.

The hospital where Charley works is ineptly run by Dr. Amos Willoughby, a senile chief of staff. Typical of the incompetence there is the way a fractured jaw of patient Ann Atkinson is being treated by Willoughby with a primitive contraption.

Charley frees her from the device, angering Willoughby for stealing a patient. Charley and his pal Dr. Norman Solomon know something needs to be done about Willoughby, but because the "old fart" now has a hold on him, Charley agrees to nominate Willoughby for one more term as the hospital's chief.

The divorced Ann proves attractive to Charley. She is a bright conversationalist and bakes delicious cheesecake that she sells. Charley enjoys being with her and helps her land a job at the hospital, but with all the available women out there, he is reluctant to commit to a monogamous relationship. Ann finally persuades him to agree to a trial period of a few weeks.

At the hospital, a botched diagnosis leads to the death of a wealthy owner of a baseball team. The widow, Ellen Grady, intends to sue for millions, saying the only thing she knows about medicine is that nobody at this place can practice it.

Charley tries to charm her. They share a common background and Mrs. Grady is definitely interested in him. But she nonetheless adamantly refuses to drop the lawsuit, and when Charley neglects a date with Ann and shows up late with a lame excuse, she angrily hides his clothes while he showers.

Ann also wants him to show some backbone in not nominating Willoughby for chief of medicine, but he does so anyway. Willoughby reneges on a promise to stop personally treating patients, however, so Charley takes back his nomination. He then does his best to win Ann back as well.


Home media release

House Calls was released on DVD in 2005. Portions of the soundtrack were edited for the DVD; for example, "Something (In The Way She Moves)" by the Beatles was replaced for unknown reasons.[3][4]

Television series

In 1979, CBS debuted a television sitcom version of House Calls, starring Lynn Redgrave as Ann Atkinson (later replaced by Sharon Gless) and Wayne Rogers as her doctor, now named Dr. Charley Michaels. The television series ran through 1982.


  1. "House Calls, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  2. "House Calls". TCM database. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  3. Film Music-George Harrison
  4. DVD version of House Calls

External links

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