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Elevator to the Gallows (The Criterion Collection)
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
- New, restored high-definition digital transfer
- New and archival interviews with Louis Malle, actors Jeanne Moreau and Maurice Ronet, and original soundtrack session pianist René Urtreger
- Footage of Miles Davis improvising the film's score
- New video discussion about the score with jazz critic Gary Giddins and musician Jon Faddis
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- 28-page booklet with essays by critic Terrence Rafferty and producer Vincent Malle and an interview with Louis Malle
Top Customer Reviews
The labyrinth story focuses first on illicit lovers Florence Carala, the restless wife of a corrupt arms dealer, and Julien Tavernier, a former war hero working for Florence's husband. There is not a wasted moment as they plot her husband's murder, but of course, things go awry with a forgotten piece of evidence and a running car ready to be taken. An amoral young couple, sullen and resentful Louis and free-spirited Veronique, enter the scene tangentially and get caught up in their own deceptions with a boisterous German couple whom they meet through a fender bender. The plot strands meander somewhat and eventually come together in a climax that has all the characters confronting the harsh reality of their past actions. There is a particular poignancy in the photos Florence sees at the end since we have no indication of the depth of emotion between the lovers otherwise.
Malle, along with co-screenwriter Roger Nimier, presents an interesting puzzle full of irony and chance events, but there is a periodic slackness to the suspense, for instance, Florence's endlessly despondent walk though nocturnal Paris.Read more ›
The plot revolves around two couples: Florence Carala (Moreau), her paramour Julien (Maurice Ronet) and two juvenile delinquents, Veronique (Yori Bertin) and Louis (Georges Poujouly)...who steal Julien's car. The quartet meet only at the conclusion of the film though their actions definitely affect each other earlier.
There is also intrigue involving Julien and Florence's husband Simon Carala (Jean Wall) and their participation in war profiteering in the Indochina War (it is 1957, after all). But the plot takes a back seat to the mise en scene as Malle's camera and the mood take precedence over plot development and plot logic.
"Elevator to the Gallows" (a very witty title, by-the-way) is at times breathtakingly beautiful to behold: Decae's moody camerawork and Miles Davis' score and trumpet work are brilliant. And as a precursor to the emotional depth, flash and profundity of what was soon to arrive, "Elevator to the Gallows" is an important piece of the wonderful puzzle that was to become the French New Wave a few years hence.
One of Malle's earliest films, "Elevator to the Gallows" has just been re-released. Shot in black and white, featuring Jeanne Moreau's first film role, and highlighted by a Miles Davis soundtrack, the film is a great example of Film Noir.
Florence (Jeanne Moreau) and Julien (Maurice Ronet) share a phone conversation that only two lovers in Paris can have; they make arrangements to meet later that evening. Julien, the second-in-command at a shady French corporation, asks the receptionist if she can stay a little late. They are working on a Saturday so Julien can finish a report for their boss, Carala to take with him to Geneva. The boss calls down and says he will be leaving to catch his train shortly.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This 1958 thriller by Louis Malle opens as Julien Tavernier (Maurice Ronet) is reviewing his plans to murder M. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dale Miller
I started talking back to the film in a few places, such as when Julien left his car running on the street, which was a clear
set-up for auto theft. Read more
Louis Malle fans might find this, his first film, interesting, but it is in no way comparable to his later work. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jane Q. Doe
The film is interesting, the score is very much in line with Davis's music in the 50s. Includes astonishing casual racism by alleged jazz critic Gary Giddins, who apparently... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Marilyn Wise
Best French movie ever. Great acting + Miles Davis soundtrack + good plot = winning combo.Published 6 months ago by Tyler R Olson
Great story that unfolds masterfully. Though, I suppose the title is a spoiler.Published 8 months ago by Peter F Liao
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