the early 1970s, the impact of
mixed race relationships and racial
prejudice were still considered by many
too sensitive as subjects for films, but
Landlord handles the story of a
wealthy white boy buying a
house in a black ghetto and becoming
involved with his tenants exceptionally
THE LANDLORD IS A FINE SEVENTIES MOVIE, based on a novel by Kristin Hunter,
made at a time when the effects of the death of Martin Luther King were still
Young white entrepreneur Elgar Enders (Beau Bridges: The Descendants),
who lives a privileged life but decides it is time to leave the home of his
parents, his high-society mother Joyce (Lee Grant) and his bigoted father, to
buy a home of his own.
The problem is, he has chosen an inner-city tenement in a black area to renovate
to a luxury home; and he will have to evict his tenants before he can begin
the work and the low-income, streetwise tenants won't go quietly.
Elgar turns up at his house in his convertible Beetle, he is soon to learn that
any landlord let alone a white landlord is not welcome. He is
even blackmailed into giving a young boy two dollars.
Elgar moves into the basement but his plans go awry. Fortune-teller Marge (the
wonderful Pearl Bailey) introduces him to her special soul food and he has an
ill-fated affair with Fanny (the lovely, late Diana Sands) while her husband
Copee (Lou Gossett) is in prison. The greenhorn white boy also has much to learn
from Professor Duboise (Melvin Stewart).
Elgar's na´vetÚ creates unforeseen problems and raises the question of whether
true harmony can ever exist between people of such varying social and ethnic
backgrounds. He shocks his parents by announcing at a family dinner attended
by his sister Susan (Susan Anspach), wealthy fiancÚ Peter (Robert Klein), brother
William Jr (Will Mackenzie) and his wife Doris (Gretchen Walther) he
is in love with half-caste bar dancer Lanie (Marki Bey).
The Landlord is described as a mix of social satire, urban drama and
high comedy. The outstanding ensemble cast includes Lee Grant, who received
a Best Supporting Actress Nomination that year at the Oscars, and also featured
is Stanley Greene as Heywood, the Butler.
Music is by Al Kooper; Director of Photography is Gordon Willis; Screenplay
by Bill Gunn; based on a novel by Kristin Hunter; Produced by Norman Jewison;
and Directed by Oscar-winning film editor Hal Ashby, making his directorial
The Landlord is an extraordinarily funny, poignant and thought-provoking
film that dared to tackle a subject that, for the time, was highly controversial.
* The Landlord is released on DVD
on 1 October 2012. Running Time: 105 Minutes Approximately | RRP: ú15.99.
"The Landlord is an extraordinarily funny, poignant and thought-provoking
film" Maggie Woods, MotorBar