Shared June 2, 2009
Based on a wonderful novel by African-American writer Kristen Hunter and adapted by the estimable Bill Gunn ("Ganja and Hess"), another African-American,"The Landlord" looms as a template for responsible socio-comic filmmaking.
Beau Bridges - in perhaps his first and last screen role of any relevance - is hugely appealing as Elgar Enders, a clueless rich kid who decides to liberate himself from his repressive family by setting up housekeeping in the Park Slope neighborhood of New York - and this was years before the idea of inner-city gentrification became a reality.
The film consists of one memorable moment after another, fueled by a major (and award-worthy) performance by Diana Sands as one of Bridges's tenants and entertaining supporting turns by Lee Grant (Oscar-nominated), Louis Gossett, Jr., Pearl Bailey, Walter Brooke, Robert Klein, Susan Anspach, Marki Bey, Mel Stewart, Douglas Grant, Will MacKenzie (now a TV director) and in a brief, hilarious bit, dancer Grover Dale.
On the technical side, there's Al Kooper's spot-on song score and the always-reliatable Gordon Willis' shimmering cinematography - so good that it makes even a ghetto setting seem inviting and comparionable.
Beau Bridges... Elgar Winthrop Julius Enders
Lee Grant... Joyce Enders
Diana Sands... Francine MarieJohnson
Pearl Bailey... Marge, Tenant
Walter Brooke... William Enders Sr.
Louis Gossett Jr.... Copee Johnson (as Lou Gossett)
Marki Bey... Lanie
Mel Stewart... Professor Duboise (as Melvin Stewart)
Susan Anspach... Susan Enders
Robert Klein... Peter Coots (as Bob Klein)
Will Mackenzie... William Enders Jr.
Gretchen Walther... Mrs. Doris Enders
Douglas Grant... Walter Gee Copee
Stanley Greene... Heywood the Butler
Oliver Clark... Mr. Farcus
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