Homebodies (Larry Yust / U.S., 1974):

Larry Yust has an image -- the little granny from The Ladykillers wielding a carving knife -- and uses it to anchor his droll snapshot of rundown Cincinnati in the midst of gentrification. Neighborhoods are being razed to make way for gleaming skyscrapers not built to last, virtually a Harry and Tonto vignette until one of the tenants being forced out, a bundled-up pixie (Paula Trueman), watches the construction from the sidelines and trembles with joy as workers get barbecued alive inside a short-circuiting elevator. An elegant, blind scarecrow (Peter Brocco), a timorous Baby Jane (Frances Fuller), a couple of kvetchers (Ian Wolfe, Ruth McDewitt) and a wizened widower surrounded by piles of memories (William Hansen) comprise the geezer gang, all coming to see murder and sabotage as the only way for the disenfranchised elderly to make themselves heard (or, at least, to delay the unending process of "temporary dislocation" a bit longer). A comedy of mortality and an endearing account of spry character actors carrying the bloody show, with Whistler invoked in the calm and sure technique that takes note of the wrecking ball that comes unscrewed, the choleric capitalist submerged in cement, the line of ducks gliding before the camera while someone gets drowned in the distance. "To bricks and mortar... to flesh and bones" goes the geriatric toast, setting up Yust’s offhand punchline out of Vernon Lee ("And thus, somewhat irrelevantly, concludes my praise of older houses"). With Linda Marsh, Douglas Fowley, and Kenneth Tobey.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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