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The Landlord (1970) - Plot Summary Poster

(1970)

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Summaries

  • 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.

  • Twenty-nine year old Caucasian Elgar Enders still lives at the estate of his parents, William and Joyce Enders, and off their vast wealth with their blessing, although his ultra-conservative father hopes that some day Elgar will have some drive and make a name for himself, much as he believes his eldest son, William Jr., has done. Elgar decides finally to move out, and buys a tenement house in Park Slope, Brooklyn, a rough neighborhood seemingly on the verge of gentrification. He plans to tear it down and build a new house for himself. Although they have no idea of his plans, the tenants of the building, exclusively black, do not welcome their young, lily-white new landlord with open arms. They believe he is just another slum white landlord who wants their money, although most of them are indeed several months behind in their rent. Despite their antagonistic beginning, Elgar, after spending time with his tenants and learning their stories, decides to be a proper landlord and fix up the building for them and for him to live in. Elgar's transition into liberal minded lover of his black brothers and sisters is not without its problems as he deals with some tenants who are indeed deadbeats, his parents who just don't understand and agree with this phase of his life, and race relations where the color of one's skin does affect how they are treated in life and in turn how they interact with others. The latter is epitomized by his relationships with Lanie, a biracial woman who he initially believed was white, and with husband and wife tenants Copee and Fanny to who he gets a little too close.

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