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House Calls (1978)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  15 March 1978 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,332 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 7 critic

Charley is a surgeon who's recently lost his wife; he embarks on a tragicomic romantic quest with one woman after another until he meets up with Ann, a singular woman, closer to his own age... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screenplay), 5 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Charley Nichols
Ann Atkinson
Dr. Amos Willoughby
Dr. Norman Solomon
Ellen Grady
Irwin Owett
Phil Pogostin
Anthony Holland ...
TV moderator
Mrs. de Voto
Sandra Kerns ...
Lani Mason
Jane Connell ...
Mrs. Conway
Lloyd Gough ...
Harry Grady
Dr. O'Brien
William J. Fiore ...
Dr. Sloan


Charley is a surgeon who's recently lost his wife; he embarks on a tragicomic romantic quest with one woman after another until he meets up with Ann, a singular woman, closer to his own age, who immediately and unexpectedly captures his heart. Written by Dan Hartung <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

enema | based on novel | See All (2) »


More than a touch of comedy. Just what the doctor ordered.


Comedy | Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

15 March 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alegrías de un viudo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Last film of Thayer David. See more »


Dr. Charley Nichols: [On a date] You have a very infectious laugh.
Lani Mason: Don't worry that's the only thing about me that is!
See more »


Spin-off House Calls (1979) See more »


George Harrison
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User Reviews

"It's been said people are not appreciated until they are dead. You're dead Harry....We appreciate it!"
7 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Walter Matthau is best remembered for the long series of comedies he did with his equal comedy partner Jack Lemmon from THE FORTUNE COOKIE to THE ODD COUPLE II. But people tend to forget that in the late 1970s he appeared with another partner in two films - a female partner. This was Glenda Jackson, the English double Oscar winner, who demonstrated her comic abilities against Matthau's first in HOUSE CALLS and then in HOPSCOTCH. Matthau's role was slightly larger in both films, because his characters were more central to the plots, but the chemistry between them was quite good. If you ever want to see two pros demonstrating how sexual intercourse can be crazily funny watch Walter and Glenda as Dr. Charley Nicholson and Ann Atkinson experimenting to see if two people could have sex on a bed under the old movie code rule of the two parties each having one leg on the floor! Never has sex been looked at from such a clinical and mechanical point of view.

Matthau's Charlie has just been widowed before the film began. He has only had one woman in his life - his wife. So now he's the eligible bachelor. He also is the leading surgeon in the hospital he works out of, but the chief surgeon is Dr. Amos Weatherby (Art Carney). Carney is apparently senile (there are moments later in the film that show he turns his senility on and off - see the scene where he rams Richard Benjamin's car). Amos is up for re-election (Charlie is his closest competitor for the post - if he wants it). However, Amos manages to convince Charlie to let him keep the job for reasons of self-esteem.

One day Charlie notices Ann in the hospital. She has had a slight accident and is resting in bed, but Amos has put her into a cage like apparatus (which Charlie remarks has not been used since about 1920). He gets her out of the device, and soon is romancing her. She joins the staff of the hospital, but she is critical of Charlie's willingness to cater to Amos, and she is critical of certain selfish tendencies she sees among the doctors in the hospital.

Amos' bungling causes the death of a wealthy patron of the hospital (Lloyd Gough), who owned a baseball team (his greatest innovation being separate admission costs for double headers). Amos tries to calm down the young widow of the team owner, delivering the eulogy at the burial service (the line in the summary above is the peroration line of the eulogy). However she is still determined to sue (her lawyer Thayer David says the hospital is the most incompetent he's ever seen). So Amos suggests that Charlie romance the widow to satisfy her from that expensive lawsuit. But how will Ann react to this? The film is quite amusing, and was so successful that besides causing a sequel for Jackson and Matthau, it led to a television series as well.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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