The Tenant (Locataire, Le) (1976)

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Released 2-Mar-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer-(1:02)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1976
Running Time 120:18
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Roman Polanski

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Roman Polanski
Isabelle Adjani
Melvyn Douglas
Jo Van Fleet
Bernard Fresson
Lila Kedrova
Claude Dauphin
Claude Piéplu
Romain Bouteille
Jacques Monod
Patrice Alexsandre
Jean-Pierre Bagot
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Philippe Sarde

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Marlboro features heavily.
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Roman Polanski starred in, directed and co-wrote the screenplay for this film, a suspenseful and tense trip through one man's descent into insanity. If this premise sounds familiar, that may be because Polanski touched on a similar theme in Repulsion, a film he directed ten years earlier with a female lead character. As with Repulsion, Polanski's faultless direction blurs the lines between coincidence and intention, then dreams and reality - to the point where we are questioning the motives of almost every character contained in the film.

    Polanski is superb as Trelkovsky, a Polish born French citizen who is searching for an apartment to live in. He finds a very nice and comfortable space, high in a clean and recently renovated building, however his excitement is dulled when he discovers that the previous tenant threw herself from the living room window in an attempt at suicide. The ex-tenant, Simone, has recently woken from her coma but is not expected to live. The curious Trelkovsky visits her bedside, where he meets her friend Stella (Isabelle Adjani) and they share their grief, Trelkovsky falsely claiming to be a friend of the incapacitated Simone. Their brief encounter climaxes in a quick fondle during a kung-fu film - but doesn't go any further. When Simone finally dies, the relieved Trelkovsky moves into her apartment, only to find many of her personal belongings still inside the cupboards. Even stranger is the unobstructed view of the block's single communal toilet from his window - a constant source of interest, with many of the building's tenants gathering there at all hours of the night. Slowly losing sleep and his grip on ordinary day-to-day tasks, he begins to unknowingly assume Simone's character - first her brand of cigarettes, followed by her choice of beverage and ultimately her nail polish and mascara. A series of coincidences leads Trelkovsky to believe that the other tenants in the building are responsible for the death of Simone, and the pressures of living in fear and isolation begin to take their toll.

    The Tenant is moderately paced so as to help build tension, but this could easily be interpreted otherwise by an impatient viewer. If you give it the time and the patience, this film will draw you in and cause you to question your interpretation of the people around you. The film is firmly anchored by its excellent performances - most of all Polanski's sublime role as the nervous, clumsy Trelkovsky. With such potential in front of the camera as well as behind, it makes one wonder why he doesn't perform on screen more often.

    This film is highly recommended for Polanski lovers, and anyone interested in a good thriller.

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Transfer Quality


    For a thirty year old film, this is a pretty good transfer to DVD with no major issues of concern.

    This transfer is presented in a ratio of 1.78:1, which is close to the film's original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1. 16x9 enhancement is included.

    The picture is pleasantly sharp and exhibits a good degree of visible detail. The sunlight beaming through Isabelle Adjani's hair at 14:20 is a perfect example, similarly the Hitchcock-style perspective shot of the stairs at 33:48. The level of shadow detail is satisfactory for the many dark, shadowy apartment scenes, as can be seen at 20:23. I didn't note any low level noise at all.

    Colours appear well rendered and realistic at all times. There are no problems concerning bleeding or oversaturation in the transfer.

    Compression artefacting is nowhere to be found, although film artefacting is present to a minor degree. Slight specks of dust and dirt are visible, combined with some slight telecine wobble - most of all during the first five minutes of the feature, but as a whole the source print is in good condition. There appears to be a spot on the centre of the camera lens at 10:25, which is accentuated by the camera's slow upward pan. A few minor instances of aliasing also occur, however they are not at all distracting.

    There is a minor hiccough in the film at 42:48 as Polanski answers a knock at the door. The scene is very dark, and as he approaches the door a jump in the source can be seen which looks like an edit of some kind - perhaps the combining of two different takes in the one scene. The scene's relatively low lighting makes this edit difficult to notice, so I doubt it would present a problem to the average viewer.

    An English subtitle stream is included on the disc, as well as streams covering a plethora of other languages. The subtitles follow the dialogue fairly closely and only omit the odd word here and there, without detracting from the story at all.

    This is a single layered disc (DVD5), so there is no layer transition present.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are four audio options on the disc, the default being the original English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. Dubbed soundtracks in Spanish, Italian and German are also included. All the soundtracks are encoded at a wafer thin 192Kb/s.

    Considerable amounts of the dialogue were re-recorded in post production, and as such the dialogue of the film tends to vary in volume and overall clarity. Synchronisation is also an issue, with some moments of dialogue not even nearly matching the actor's lip movements (19:04). Other scenes seem to have been completely rewritten during the ADR process. Take for example the scene in which Trelkovsky hosts a party in his apartment (32:18) - barely one line of dialogue here matches the lip movements on screen. It is possible that this film was made in both English and French, as the most glaringly out-of-sync lips belong to the French actors.

    There are no serious pops or dropouts in the soundtrack, however some slight hiss can be heard now and then. Given the age of the film, this is tolerable.

    The incidental music in this film is by Polanski's long-time scorer Philippe Sarde. The feel and pace of the film's music roots it firmly in the 70s, with pieces of everything from bursts of jazz and funk to smooth orchestration. This is an altogether impressive and memorable accompaniment to the story - although a higher bitrate would have served the depth of the score better.

    There was obviously no surround activity or subwoofer response in this mono soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu system is silent, static and is 16x9 enhanced. A language selection menu loads first, followed by automatic playback of the feature in the selected language.

Theatrical Trailer (1:02)

    This is a typical promotional trailer of the period, with audio that has been mastered considerably louder than the feature. This trailer is nicely presented with 16x9 enhancement, and appears to be taken from a good film source.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Aside from language and subtitle options, this release appears to be identical across all regions - even down to the cover art.


    The Tenant is a tense and riveting thriller that draws many parallels with Polanski's earlier work, Repulsion. The film's pace may be a little slow for some, however fans of Polanski won't want to be without this in their collection.

    The video transfer is good.

    The audio transfer is a little on the thin side, but is adequate.

    The only extra is a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Thursday, July 08, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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