The Landlord (1970) 720p

Movie Poster
The Landlord (1970) - Movie Poster
Comedy | Drama
Frame Rate:
23.976 fps
English 2.0  
Run Time:
112 min
IMDB Rating:
7 / 10 
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Directors: Hal Ashby [Director] ,

Movie Description:
At the age of twenty-nine, Elgar Enders "runs away" from home. This running away consists of buying a building in a black ghetto in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. Initially his intention is to evict the black tenants and convert it into a posh flat. But Elgar is not one to be bound by yesterday's urges, and soon he has other thoughts on his mind. He's grown fond of the black tenants and particularly of Fanny, the wife of a black radical; he's maybe fallen in love with Lanie, a mixed race girl; he's lost interest in redecorating his home. Joyce, his mother has not relinquished this interest and in one of the film's most hilarious sequences gives her Master Charge card to Marge, a black tenant and appoints her decorator. —alfiehitchie


  • The Landlord (1970) - Movie Scene 1
  • The Landlord (1970) - Movie Scene 2
  • The Landlord (1970) - Movie Scene 1

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It's unlikely this satirical comedy-drama would be made today.

I'm not sure this satirical comedy about race relations in 1970's America would be made today, times being what they are. Let's just say that if it were made today it would almost certainly be directed by an African-American director and the satire would be even more pointed. Unfortunately for many people the stereotypes are just...well, too 'stereotypical'. It was a Norman Jewison production but directing duties were handed to his former editor Hal Ashby, making his directorial debut.

It's about a white yuppie, (Beau Bridges, very good), who buys a tenement building in an African-American neighbourhood as an investment but finds he just can't get rid of his tenants and that, as he gets to know them, he becomes a little too involved in their lives and problems. Here is a movie about as subtle as a sledgehammer and it's often hard to shake the feeling we are meant to laugh at these characters, both black and white, rather than with them as if sending up the rich white folks makes the racist jibes seem funny.

About midway through it takes a somewhat melodramatic and unlikely turn that might seem even more offensive than the comedy but in its favour you can see that Ashby was prepared to take chances, (as Jewison had done with "In the Heat of the Night"), and risk being offensive if that's what it took. The performances throughout are excellent, (Lee Grant was Oscar-nominated as Bridges' mother), and while today we have to view it as a period piece and something of a curiosity, it's also a striking debut and deserves to be better known.

Reminded my of a 1970's Woody Allen type stylistic film

Not memorable at all. White bread naive rich guy (Beau Bridges) buys a run down Brooklyn tenement in a predominantly black neighborhood and discovers that the tenants are real people with real problems, and one of those problems is their inability to pay their rent on time each month. There is a lot of useless banter between Beau Bridges and his matriarch mother (Lee Grant) who he still lives with (as a 30 plus year old son) about what her son should do with his life, and being a landlord and subsequent lover of one of his black tenants is not one of them.

I watched it, and I won't be able to remember much about this film as it was filled with useless banter and even less of a story line.

I give it a meaningless 5 out of 10 IMDB rating

Was With It Up to a Point

I was really with "The Landlord," Hal Ashby's offbeat 1970 comedy, up to a point, but by the end I really disliked this movie.

Most of the responsibility for that falls on lead actor Beau Bridges, who plays a socially conscious man brought up by an oblivious rich family and decides to rehab an apartment building in a black ghetto. I didn't like his character much, but that's not really the problem. I just don't like Beau Bridges very much, so it was hard to get into the groove of the film since he's in virtually every scene. Hal Ashby's quirky fingerprints are all over this movie, but the story starts to meander and unravel the longer the movie goes on. It's a shame I didn't like it more, because it's become incredibly relevant again, what with its dissection of gentrification and misguided white liberal guilt.

Lee Grant received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for playing one of the most popular character types to be recognized in that particular award category, the overbearing mother. She plays her like a dingbat society matron from one of those 1930s screwball comedies, but her performance becomes progressively more awkward as the film around her begins to shift in tone while she doesn't modulate at all to match it.

Grade: B
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