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Le locataire
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The Tenant (1976) More at IMDbPro »Le locataire (original title)

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Roland Topor (novel)
Gérard Brach (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for The Tenant on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
26 May 1976 (France) See more »
No one does it to you like Roman Polanski. See more »
A bureaucrat rents a Paris apartment where he finds himself drawn into a rabbit hole of dangerous paranoia. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
The muppet's Marlboro complot See more (136 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Roman Polanski ... Trelkovsky

Isabelle Adjani ... Stella

Melvyn Douglas ... Monsieur Zy

Jo Van Fleet ... Madame Dioz
Bernard Fresson ... Scope

Lila Kedrova ... 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

Josiane Balasko ... Office Worker

Michel Blanc ... Scope's Neighbor
Florence Blot ... Madame Zy
Louba Guertchikoff ... Wife at accident (as Louba Chazel)
Jacques Chevalier ... Patron
Jacky Cohen ... Stella's Friend
David Gabison ... Witness at accident (as Alain David)
Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu ... Bar Waiter (as Bernard Donnadieu)
Alain Frérot ... Begger (as Alain Frerot)

Raoul Guylad ... Priest
Eva Ionesco ... Bettina - Madame Gaderian's daughter

Gérard Jugnot ... Office Clerk
Héléna Manson ... Head Nurse
Maïté Nahyr ... Lucille

André Penvern ... Cafe Waiter
Gérard Pereira ... Drunk
Dominique Poulange ... Simone Choule
Arlette Reinerg ... Tramp
Jacques Rosny ... Jean-Claude
Serge Spira ... Philippe
Vanessa Vaylord ... Martine
François Viaur ... Police Sergeant

Shelley Winters ... The Concierge
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Albert Delpy ... Neighbor (uncredited)

Bruce Lee ... Bruce Lee (archive footage) (uncredited)

Alain Sarde ... Peeping tom (uncredited)
Philippe Sarde ... Man staring at Trelkovsky in the movie theatre (uncredited)

Directed by
Roman Polanski 
Writing credits
Roland Topor (novel)

Gérard Brach (screenplay) &
Roman Polanski (screenplay)

Produced by
Hercules Bellville .... executive producer
Andrew Braunsberg .... producer
Alain Sarde .... associate producer
Original Music by
Philippe Sarde 
Cinematography by
Sven Nykvist (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Françoise Bonnot 
Casting by
Catherine Vernoux 
Production Design by
Pierre Guffroy 
Art Direction by
Claude Moesching 
Albert Rajau 
Costume Design by
Jacques Schmidt 
Makeup Department
Didier Lavergne .... makeup artist
Ludovic Paris .... hair stylist
Production Management
Alain Depardieu .... unit manager
Yves Marin .... unit manager
Marc Maurette .... production manager
Juliette Toutain .... unit manager
Lindsley Parsons Jr. .... executive production manager: Paramount (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jean-Jacques Aublanc .... second assistant director
Marc Grunebaum .... assistant director
Jean-Pierre Poussin .... second assistant director
Art Department
Raymond Lemoigne .... property master
Eric Simon .... set dresser
Sound Department
Michèle Boëhm .... sound editor (as Michèle Boehm)
Louis Gimel .... boom operator
Jean Nény .... sound re-recordist
Jean-Pierre Ruh .... sound mixer
Visual Effects by
Jean Fouchet .... optical effects
Camera and Electrical Department
François Catonné .... assistant camera (as François Catonne)
Bruno de Keyzer .... assistant camera (as Bruno de Keyser)
Jean Harnois .... camera operator
Bernard Prim .... still photographer
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Mimi Gayo .... wardrobe
Editorial Department
Jacques Audiard .... assistant editor
Music Department
Hubert Rostaing .... conductor
Carlo Savina .... conductor
William Flageollet .... score mixer (uncredited)
Other crew
Walter Alford .... unit publicist
Sylvette Baudrot .... continuity
Josée Bénabent-Loiseau .... press attache (as Josée Bénabent)
Simone Escoffier .... production secretary
Robert Rietty .... dialogue director
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Le locataire" - France (original title)
See more »
126 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The film was entered and accepted to screen in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1976.See more »
Crew or equipment visible: 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 »
Trelkovsky:You want me to do it again? I shall do it again! You did not like it the first time.
Trelkovsky:Simone Choule does not disappoint!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)See more »
En Souvenir De Madame ChouleSee more »


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38 out of 58 people found the following review useful.
The muppet's Marlboro complot, 9 July 2003
Author: manuel-pestalozzi from Zurich, Switzerland

This beautifully directed and photographed movie seems to be full of allusions. It demands attention and may be boring for people who just want plain action or a quick succession of blood curdling horror scenes. Some knowledge of art and film history is helpful here.

The cast is marvelous. You meet Shelley Winters as the concierge and Melvyn Douglas as the proprietor of an old apartment house in the midst of a moldy 19th century Parisian district. The two great veteran actors are used for what they are – icons. Every movie buff who likes The French Connection II will experience a pleasant feeling of "deja vu". The same actor who serves Gene Hackman's Popeye Doyle a whisky in a Marseilles bar and becomes his only buddy in France is now the waiter who brings the tenant a cup of cocoa in a Paris bar. He even wears the same wardrobe! The same can be said of French actor Bernard Fresson, Popeye's police contact in Marseilles. He plays the nasty, vulgar acquaintance of the tenant who wants to teach him how a tenant should behave. Polanski plays the kafkaesque main character himself. His performance impressed me very much, he is not only one of the most interesting directors I know but an immensely talented actor too.

The way people look in this movie reminded me very much of the Muppet show (incidentally the TV series was started the same year The Tenant was released). The characters are deliberately overdrawn and feel like caricatures (nobody more so than the sexy Isabelle Adjani character – not exactly a Miss Piggy but not too far from it either). The way they were made up and filmed gives them a strong puppet-like appearance. The apartment house is realistic yet it looks more like a doll house than the set of Hitchcock‘s Rear Window. Muppets pop out of their compartments and do things that are banal or mysterious.

The Tenant deals mainly with the main character's paranoia. The apartment house offers a look into the tenant's troubled mind. The movie comments on the effects of bigotry and indifference but also on the perception of an individual who may give wrong meanings to certain events. The situation allows the introduction of signs and objects with symbolic values. The director made full use of the possibilities the movie offered here. I could not say I understood the meaning of it all (e.g. the tenant slaps a kid in the face in a park for no apparent reason), but I am sure it does not really matter. The tenant thinks there is a complot against him and he sees all events in this light. Even the fact that the barkeeper has run out of his beloved Gauloises bleues and presses Marlboros on him instead he sees as part of a devilish plan!

Despite the finely tuned dark colors and the dark thoughts of the main character they reflect, The Tenant is surprisingly light. Some may call it sophisticated camp. This lightness which is achieved with a peculiar sense of humor seems to be a trademark of Polanski's movies. He persues his tactics to look for the absurd in the midst of horrors. The ending is very grotesque. Ashamedly I have to admit it: It made me laugh.

Somehow The Tenant borrows from Polanski's earlier film Repulsion. But it has more flourish. The choice and the use of real locations is very good. Some ideas of this movie were integrated in Polanski's later film Frantic, including Polanski's apparent love for Paris garbage men and their equipment. Whoever likes The Tenant should look for movies of Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki. They are in the same vein.

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