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The Tenant (1976)
"Le locataire" (original title)

 -  Thriller  -  11 June 1976 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 23,299 users  
Reviews: 124 user | 74 critic

A bureaucrat rents a Paris apartment where he finds himself drawn into a rabbit hole of dangerous paranoia.

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(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Tenant (1976)

The Tenant (1976) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Monsieur Zy
...
Madame Dioz
Bernard Fresson ...
Scope
...
Madame Gaderian
Claude Dauphin ...
Husband at the accident
Claude Piéplu ...
Neighbor (as Claude Pieplu)
Rufus ...
Georges Badar
Romain Bouteille ...
Simon
Jacques Monod ...
Cafe Owner
Patrice Alexsandre ...
Robert
Jean-Pierre Bagot ...
Policeman
...
Office Worker
Michel Blanc ...
Scope's Neighbor
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Storyline

In Paris, the shy bureaucrat Trelkovsky rents an old apartment without bathroom where the previous tenant, the Egyptologist Simone Choule, committed suicide. The unfriendly concierge (Shelley Winters) and the tough landlord Mr. Zy establish stringent rules of behavior and Trelkovsky feels ridden by his neighbors. Meanwhile he visits Simone in the hospital and befriends her girlfriend Stella. After the death of Simone, Trelkovsky feels obsessed for her and believes his landlord and neighbors are plotting a scheme to force him to also commit suicide. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

How could he escape from his nightmares? See more »

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

11 June 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Tenant  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to his biographer Neil Sinyard, British director Jack Clayton originally planned to film 'The Tenant' ca. 1970 for Universal, but this never came to fruition. He returned to the project while preparing to make 'The Great Gatsby' (1974), believing it would be a good follow-up movie, and hopeful that it would be the first of a proposed three-picture deal with Paramount (which never eventuated). Unfortunately, while Clayton was tied up doing post-production work on Gatbsy, Paramount boss Barry Diller reviewed the project, arbitrarily assumed that Clayton was no longer interested. Diller then handed the film on to Roman Polanski without consulting Clayton, who angrily phoned Diller to express his dismay at the fact that a project which Paramount had bought for him had been handed to another director without consultation. This marked the second time that Clayton had fallen foul of Diller - a couple of years earlier, while Clayton was preparing another pet project, a screen version of Ray Bradbury's 'Something Wicked This Way Comes', it was abruptly canceled by Diller, even though the studio had already approved the script for production. The normally mild-mannered Clayton later admitted in a 1987 interview with the Los Angeles Times that he was so enraged by Diller's action that he put his fist through a window in the Paramount offices. See more »

Goofs

When Trelkovsky is unpacking as he moves into the apartment, a crew member is reflected in the small mirror adjacent to the kitchen sink. Two crew members are then reflected in the armoire's mirror as Trelkovsky opens it. See more »

Quotes

Trelkovsky: I am not Simone Choule!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film has no end credits; only the Paramount logo. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant psychological horror!

Roman Polanski is considered as one of the most important directors of our time, as the mind behind classics such as "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown". Probably what makes Polanski's cinema a very interesting one is the fact that while he is capable of creating commercially attractive films such as the afore mentioned masterpieces, he is also fond of making low-key movies that are of a more personal nature. "Le Locataire", or "The Tenant", is one of those movies; a horror/suspense story about paranoia and obsession that is among his best works and probably among the best horror movies ever done.

Polanski himself plays Telkovsky, a young man looking for an apartment in France. When he finally finds one, he discovers that it is empty because the previous tenant, Simone Choule, attempted to kill herself by jumping out of the window. After Simone dies of the injuries, Trelkovsky begins to become obsessed with her, to the point of believing that her death was caused by the rest of the tenants in the building.

While sharing the same claustrophobic feeling of his other "apartment-themed" films ("Repulsion & "Rosemary's Baby"); this film focuses on the bizarre conspiracy that may or may not be entirely in Trelkovsky's head, the catastrophic effects the paranoia has on his mind, and the bizarre obsession he has with the previous tenant.

Trelkovsky's descend into darkness is portrayed perfectly by Polanski. While at first his performance seems odd and wooden, slowly one finds out that Polanski acts that way because Trelkovsky is meant to be acted that way; as a simpleton with almost no life, who traps himself in this maddening sub-world that happens to be inhabited by a collection of bizarre people. The supporting actors really gave life to the people in the building creating memorable characters that are very important for the success of the film.

Also, the beautiful cinematography Polanski employs in the film helps to increase the feeling of isolation, and gives life to the beautiful building that serves as cage for Trelkovsky. The haunting images Polanski uses to convey the feeling of confusion and madness are of a supernatural beauty that makes them both frightening and attractive.

If a flaw is to be found in the film, is that it is definitely a bit slow at first. this may sound like a turn-off but in fact the slow pace of the beginning works perfectly as it mimics Trelkovsky's own boring life and how gradually he enters a different realm. Also, the convoluted storyline is definitely not an easy one to understand due to the many complex layers it has. However, more than a flaw, it is a joy to face a thought-provoking plot like this one.

While "The Tenant" may not be for everyone, those interested in psychological horror and surreal story lines will be pleased by the experience. "Le Locataire" is really one of Roman Polanksi's masterpieces. 10/10


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