In his directorial debut, the great Hal Ashby tackled race relations head on with this fable of gentrification and radical chic. Elgar (Beau Bridges) is a spoilt, callow New Yorker who decides to assert his independence from his dysfunctional patrician family by buying an inner-city tenement which he plans renovate and convert into a single luxury home. But first he must evict his tenants, all of whom are black.
The film's sometimes crude characterisations and almost hysterical racial politics reflect the turmoil of the time it was made (1970) and can make for uncomfortable viewing, but as Elgar's life becomes entwined with that of his tenants, Ashby's signature blend of comedy and drama becomes more balanced. Much of the pleasure of the film, however, lies in the way his camera drinks in the profusion of period detail, from the cluttered poverty of the tenement flats to the clashing wallpapers and rococo style of the 1970s moneyed elite.