The Tenant (1976)

Tenant, The (1976, USA/FRA) C-125m. **** D: Roman Polanski. Starring Roman Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas, Jo Van Fleet, Shelley Winters, Bernard Fresson, Lila Kedrova, Claude Dauphin, Claude Piéplu, Rufus, Gérard Jugnot, Alain Sarde. Brilliant psycho drama / horror film is the final part in director Polanski's (inofficial) apartment house trilogy. Urban lost soul Trelkovsky (Polanski himself) rents a Parisian apartment, whose previous tenant has jumped out of the window. Slowly paranoia creeps up on the shy man, as the landlord (Douglas), the concierge (Winters), and virtually all the neighbors are obviously trying to drive him insane. Subtly frightening masterpiece is no less fascinating than Polanski's REPULSION (1965) or ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968), which also dealt with apartment house horrors. Low-key but chilling, simply a must. Superbly mounted script written by Polanski and Gérard Brach, based on the novella by Roland Topor. Striking cinematography by Sven Nykvist, eerie score by Philippe Sarde. French title: LE LOCATAIRE.


© Ron Altman