Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series pay tribute to the late, great Glenda Jackson with a screening of one of her most successful movies, ‘House Calls‘ from 1978. Over the course of her long acting career, before she chose to segue to politics as a member of the British Parliament, Jackson triumphed in many different genres. She won two Oscars—one for the dramatic adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s ‘Women in Love’ (1970) and a second for the romantic comedy ‘A Touch of Class (1973).’ She also earned Oscar nominations for the groundbreaking 1971 drama ‘Sunday, Bloody Sunday’ and for the 1975 film ‘Hedda,’ adapted from Henrik Ibsen’s classic play, ‘Hedda Gabler,’ a role that Jackson had also played on stage. Other outstanding performances include ‘The Music Lovers,’ ‘Stevie,’ ‘The Romantic Englishwoman,’ ‘Nasty Habits,’ and ‘The Rainbow.’
‘House Calls‘ teamed her with fellow Oscar winners Walter Matthau and Art Carney, along with our special guest at this screening, Richard Benjamin. Matthau plays a doctor at a poorly run urban hospital who is still grieving the death of his wife as he explores the dating world with fairly disastrous results. When he meets Jackson, a patient at the hospital, he begins to form a more meaningful connection. Carney plays the increasingly senile chief of staff at the hospital, whose ineptitude contributes to the pressures on the entire beleaguered staff. Benjamin plays a fellow doctor who tries to aid Matthau with his professional and romantic challenges.
Howard Zieff (‘Hearts of the West,’ ‘Private Benjamin’) directed the script by Alan Mandel and Charles Shyer, from a story written by veterans Julius J. Epstein and Max Shulman. Candice Azzara co-stars as a widow who also has her eye on Matthau. Multiple Oscar winner Henry Mancini composed the score.
Leonard Maltin called ‘House Calls‘ a “laughing-out-loud contemporary comedy” and added, “Carney is hilarious as the addle-brained head of surgery at Matthau’s hospital.” The movie was successful enough to spawn a TV series that ran for three seasons on CBS. And Matthau and Jackson re-teamed for the comedy adventure film, ‘Hopscotch,’ in 1980.
Richard Benjamin has been one of the most frequent and generous supporters of our Anniversary Classics Series over the last several years. He joined us to reminisce about ‘The Sunshine Boys,’ ‘Goodbye, Columbus,’ ‘The Last of Sheila,’ and his highly acclaimed directorial debut, ‘My Favorite Year.’ His other films as an actor include ‘Diary of a Mad Housewife,’ ‘Westworld,’ ‘Catch-22,’ ‘Love at First Bite,’ and ‘How to Beat the High Cost of Living.’ He also directed ‘Racing with the Moon’ (starring Sean Penn, Elizabeth McGovern, and Nicolas Cage), ‘The Money Pit’ with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long, ‘Mermaids’ with Cher and Winona Ryder, and ‘Little Nikita’ with Sidney Poitier and River Phoenix. Mr. Benjamin will join us for a Q&A before the screening on November 8.