Avoiding to settle in a nursing home, Joseph Kotcher, a retired salesman, is obliged to leave his son's family. He embarks on a road trip during which he strikes up a friendship with a ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Deborah Winters ...
Erica Herzenstiel
...
Wilma Kotcher
...
Gerald Kotcher
...
Vera Kotcher
Donald Kowalski ...
Duncan Kotcher
Dean Kowalski ...
Duncan Kotcher
Arlen Stuart ...
Mrs. Fisher
Jane Connell ...
Miss Roberts
James Brodhead ...
Mr. Weaver (as James E. Brodhead)
Jessica Rains ...
Dr. McKernan
...
...
Motel Manager
...
Dr. Ramon Caudillo
Lucy Saroyan ...
Sissy
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Storyline

Avoiding to settle in a nursing home, Joseph Kotcher, a retired salesman, is obliged to leave his son's family. He embarks on a road trip during which he strikes up a friendship with a pregnant teenager and begins to understand the true meaning of life as he helps the girl give birth to her child. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Walter Matthau in the role only he could make so excitingly different...you'll start talking about it from the opening scene. Jack Lemmon directs. He takes his talent 'behind' the camera for the first time to add a new, fresh dimension to his brilliant career.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 September 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ainda Há Fogo Sob as Cinzas  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Walter Matthau was 7th at the US boxoffice in 1971. See more »

Goofs

Kotch collects old bowling pins to throw into his fireplace to keep warm; in reality, the thick plastic coatings would create smoke and noxious fumes. See more »

Quotes

[Kotch is being given a psychological exam by an obnoxious psychiatrist]
Dr. McKernan: Do you like "Alice In Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll?
Joseph P. Kotcher: I wouldn't like it by anyone else.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 44th Annual Academy Awards (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Life Is What You Make It
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
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User Reviews

 
Bonding With The Oddest People
23 May 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

I had not seen Kotch for a long time before viewing my VHS copy today and I was really moved with how good it was. Too bad Jack Lemmon never wanted to try directing again. Maybe had the film won an Oscar or two, he could have been persuaded to try.

I think I finally figured out who Walter Matthau modeled his Oscar nominated performance on, it's Casey Stengel. Casey without the double-talk, but the same non-stop garrulousness that I remember from my youth.

But Casey had his captive audience of baseball writers and fans. Poor Joseph Kotcher is a retired salesman who lives with his son and his family. Though he's an excellent babysitter for his young grandson, he's generally underfoot according to his daughter-in-law Felicia Farr. Son Charles Aidman gently persuades him he ought to move into a retirement home.

But Matthau is just a lonely old man, looking for someone to bond with. He finds someone quite unlikely in the person of Deborah Winters, the new babysitter who finds herself pregnant by her boyfriend Darrell Larson. She moves in with him and not in a retirement home and they have some interesting experiences.

Matthau lost the Best Actor Award to Gene Hackman and Kotch similarly lost as Best Picture to The French Connection. Still I think this one has stood the test of time a lot better.

Marvin Hamlisch and Johnny Mercer wrote the song Life Is What You Make It for Kotch and it lost for Best Song to the Theme from Shaft. That one was truly unfortunate.

Kotch is a picture about the person who's your grandfather, old and a bit crotchety and some times a pain in the posterior as Deborah Winters says. But he's also the one with enough life experience to come through in the clutch.

Come to think of it, one of the things that drove Deborah crazy was his insistence on a car with an old fashioned clutch as opposed to automatic transmission.


14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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