7.0/10
1,600
31 user 27 critic

The Landlord (1970)

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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The early life of Woody Guthrie as a vagabond folk singer.

Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: David Carradine, Ronny Cox, Melinda Dillon
Shampoo (1975)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Lovers undo a hairdresser from Beverly Hills around Election Eve in 1968.

Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn
Coming Home (1978)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A woman whose husband is fighting in Vietnam falls in love with another man who suffered a paralyzing combat injury there.

Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Bruce Dern
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

A high-spirited wife and her meekish husband hit the road to take back her kids from her previous marriage who live with her ex-inlaws.

Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Robert Blake, Barbara Harris, Collin Boone
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two Navy men are ordered to bring a young offender to prison but decide to show him one last good time along the way.

Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, Otis Young
The Landlord I (2009)
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

The Landlord is the story of Tyler, the unfortunate young proprietor of a demon-haunted apartment building. While finding tenants has never been a problem for Tyler, keeping them alive long... See full summary »

Director: Emil Hyde
Stars: Brian Amidei, Rom Barkhordar, Jayson Bernard
Comedy | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

A major league star who is on the verge of breaking a record, meets a singer and they get married, but they have different goals, so they separate, jeopardizing his opportunity in sports and the possibility of making up with his wife.

Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Michael O'Keefe, Rebecca De Mornay, Martin Ritt
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The Rolling Stones' shows in Tempe, Arizona and East Rutherford, New Jersey during their 1981 US tour.

Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts
Being There (1979)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A simple, sheltered gardener becomes an unlikely trusted advisor to a powerful businessman and an insider in Washington politics.

Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas
Certificate: GP Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A museum curator falls in love with a crazy parking attendant.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, Seymour Cassel, Val Avery
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Elgar
...
Mrs. Enders
Diana Sands ...
Fanny
...
Marge
...
Mr. Enders
...
Copee (as Lou Gossett)
...
Lanie
...
Professor Duboise (as Melvin Stewart)
...
Susan Enders
...
Peter (as Bob Klein)
Will Mackenzie ...
William Jr.
Gretchen Walther ...
Doris
Douglas Grant ...
Walter Gee
Stanley Greene ...
Heywood
...
Mr. Farcus
Edit

Storyline

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. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Watch the landlord get his.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 May 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El casero  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Hal Ashby: bearded hippie/groom in opening shot. See more »

Quotes

Joyce Enders: If she's putting you on, she's most likely only Jewish.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Oral Generation (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Let Me Love You
Lyrics and Music by Al Kooper
Sung by Lorraine Ellison
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
witty and with enough emotional depth and intelligence to carry the subject matter; good debut for Ashby
25 September 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As one of the scruffy underdog filmmakers of the 1970s- who's career unfortunately faltered in the 80s before his untimely death at 59- Hal Ashby was good at taking a set of characters and a particular idea or theme and getting under the surface just enough to make a mark, while also keeping it an oddly entertaining and accessible as a picture for the art houses. Also, it shows Ashby coming out of his cocoon of editing jobs (he even won an Oscar, for Jewison's In the Heat of the Night) by giving the Landlord a very particular rhythm. Many times he'll just let a scene play out, giving the actors the freedom to work with the script their way, and then other times he'll implement montage- or just a subliminal cut-away (or not so subliminal, as Lee Grant envisions an African tribe going to the Park Slope building, and a whole pack of black babies upon hearing about a little 'accident' her step-son caused late in the film).

I was really struck by how he uses experimentation for equal uses of humor, abstraction, and to just feel out the mood of the character(s) in the scene. Like when Brides runs to meet with Lanie at her school, and it's inter-cut with images from Fanny at her apartment, and Lanie, and a couple of other things. It can be called 'European'- and Ashby was an admitted fan of Godard's- but it feels unique to the sensibility of the production and the 'radical' feeling of the period. Meanwhile, Ashby has the best photography back up a first-time director could ask for: Gordon Willis and Michael Chapman, who give the film a look sometimes of lightness, especially when Elgar is at the family home and the walls are all a bland white, or seem to be; then other times they light it darker, like in a more intimate setting like Elgar and Lanie out by the beach at night, or just when at the Park Slope apartment. A scene especially with Elgar and Fanny is effective, not simply because she actually comments on how the red light makes her look a certain way- it's the timing of the actors, the awkward but strong sexual tension, and the red light, and the soft soul music coming up, that makes it one of the best scenes Ashby's ever filmed, thanks to the right team.

If the style verges on being a little "dated" here and there, like in the opening minutes as Elgar talks to the camera and says what he intends to do with the tenement, or those extreme close-ups of Elgar kissing with Lanie (which are quite striking on their own), its attitude towards the pure human problems of race haven't diminished that much. I liked seeing Bridges, who is spot-on as the total naive future yuppie who's heart is in the right place but confused how to really go about it as the new landlord, interact with the other apartment dwellers, their 'welcoming' by chasing him away with a flowered pot in his hands, or at the party when after getting him good and drunk tell him what it's really all about in first-person takes. And most of all it's funny and challenging to see, especially during a tense period around 1969 when it was filmed, how essential decency on either side of the race coin could get complicated by love and lust, of the rich family understandably not understanding how Elgar could go through this- not to mention the eventual 'mixed' dating and the pregnancy- and at the same time the tenees never totally knowing why, aside from foolish design ambitions, wanted to run the place to start with.

The best laughs end up coming from the awkward moments, and the obvious ones, as the subtle moments are meant to be more quiet and the 'big' laughs to come from the interaction of not just in terms of race but class; watch as everyone in the building uses the drapes from Joyce (Lee Grant in a well deserved Oscar nom performance) as clothes and head-dressing, or when Joyce has some pot liquor with Marge, who knows her better than her own family probably does. And who can resist the NAACP joke? Or a throwaway joke about dressing up as a historical figure for a costume ball? Ashby and his writers (both screenwriter and novelist were African-Americans) know not to slam every point home either, which uplifts the comedy to an honest playing field, which means that when a scene like the quasi-climax when Copee finds out about the pregnancy and flips out with an ax at Elgar it's not really all that jokey, when it easily could've been played as such for an exploitation effect. Only the very ending, which feels complicated by a sort of need to tidy things up with Elgar, Janie and the baby, feels sort of forced (not helped by the end song, not too ironic, called God Bless the Children).

But as it stands, the Landlord is provocative fun, if that makes sense, as it works as cool satire, led by sure-fire performances (Bridges has rarely been this good at being true to a mostly unsympathetic character), and it points the way for a career that the director would have where oddball slices of life wouldn't mean there wasn't larger points being made. It's one of the best bets as an obscure find a film-buff can have from 1970.


14 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?