Kotch

  • 1971
  • 1 HR 53 MIN
  • GP
  • Comedy, Drama

Matthau (who lost to Gene Hackman for THE FRENCH CONNECTION), the Hamlisch-Mercer tune "Life is What You Make It", Winters' film editing and Portman and Solomon's sound design took Oscar nominations in this, the only picture directed by Jack Lemmon to date. Unfortunately, there was some unfortunate nepotism in the casting. Matthau is a crotchety 72-year-old...read more

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

  • Watch on
Rating:

Matthau (who lost to Gene Hackman for THE FRENCH CONNECTION), the Hamlisch-Mercer tune "Life is What You Make It", Winters' film editing and Portman and Solomon's sound design took Oscar nominations in this, the only picture directed by Jack Lemmon to date. Unfortunately, there was some

unfortunate nepotism in the casting. Matthau is a crotchety 72-year-old living with son Aidman, daughter-in-law Farr, and their tiny son (played by twins Donald and Dean Kowalski). Matthau is totally alert, perhaps too alert for Farr, who wishes he'd move into a retirement home, because his

presence is invasive. He's happy as the babysitter for his grandson but becomes irked when Farr hires Winters, a teenager, to take over the chore. Matthau catches Winters in the clutches of her boy friend while in the house and lets Farr know about it. Winters is dismissed, but Farr is annoyed

that her rule of the house is being questioned by Matthau, so she prevails on Aidman to find Matthau quarters in a retirement home. Matthau and Aidman inspect one such place, but the old fellow will have none of it and decides to smooth things over by taking a long bus trip to northern California,

hoping that by the time he comes back, Farr's feathers will no longer be as ruffled. He feels some guilt toward Winters for getting her sacked, so he goes to her high school to apologize, and she reveals that she's pregnant and will stay with relatives until the baby is born. Matthau presses some

money on her and later receives a postcard from Winters saying goodbye. Matthau searches and finds her in Palm Springs. He rents a house and asks her to stay with him until she gives birth. Time passes, and the two form a symbiotic relationship, each caring more for the other than they might like

to admit. Winters decides to offer the baby to a barren couple, then leaves the desert house to stay in a mountain cabin until she gives birth. Matthau again traces her to her new abode and is present when the labor pains start. They race to a hospital but don't make it in time, and Matthau helps

deliver the baby in a filling station restroom. A few days later, Winters surreptitiously leaves with the baby, and Matthau finds a note saying that she's changed her mind and will keep the child. Aidman and Farr ask Matthau to come back to them, but he's found that he enjoys the desert and living

alone and declines, still hurt about what happened before. In the final scene, he finds a letter that Winters had written to her then-unborn child (when she was still planning to give the baby up) to the effect that "Kotch didn't have all his marbles but he would have been one helluva

grandfather." Matthau smiles and the film ends. Lemmon attempted to examine the plight of being old in a society in which youth is venerated. He went wide of the mark, because, while old people are wise, cantankerous, abrasive and proud, they are seldom cute. What is most surprising is that Lemmon

never directed anything else after this. He showed a good eye, worked well with the actors, and came out with a movie that has more plusses than minuses.

Watch This Now!

Your new favorite show is right here. Trust us.

Cast & Details See all »

  • Released: 1971
  • Rating: GP
  • Review: Matthau (who lost to Gene Hackman for THE FRENCH CONNECTION), the Hamlisch-Mercer tune "Life is What You Make It", Winters' film editing and Portman and Solomon's sound design took Oscar nominations in this, the only picture directed by Jack Lemmon to date… (more)

Show More »