Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud

( 3 )

Overview

The feature-film debut of famed director Louis Malle is an interesting, modern film noir with the classic theme of lovers plotting to kill the husband and make it look like suicide reminiscent of The Postman Always Rings Twice. Jeanne Moreau, as Florence Carala, gives an astonishing performance, perverse but naive as she leads her young lover down a path that can only lead to doom for both of them. Malle and his cinematographer Henri Decae make extensive use of Paris at night, giving the film the feel of ...
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Overview

The feature-film debut of famed director Louis Malle is an interesting, modern film noir with the classic theme of lovers plotting to kill the husband and make it look like suicide reminiscent of The Postman Always Rings Twice. Jeanne Moreau, as Florence Carala, gives an astonishing performance, perverse but naive as she leads her young lover down a path that can only lead to doom for both of them. Malle and his cinematographer Henri Decae make extensive use of Paris at night, giving the film the feel of claustrophobia and desperation reminiscent of the classic noir films. The excellent score by Miles Davis adds to the entire effect of this mystery thriller.
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Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer; Theatrical trailers; New and improved English subtitle translation; New interview with actor Jeanne Moreau; Archival interviews with director Louis Malle, actors Maurice Ronet and Jeanne Moreau, and original soundtrack session pianist René Urtreger; Footage of Miles Davis and Louis Malle from the soundtrack recording session; New video program about the score, with jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis and critic Gary Giddins; Malle's student film Crazeologie, featuring the title song by Charlie Parker; Plus a booklet featuring a new essay by critic Terrence Rafferty, an interview with Louis Malle, and a tribute by film producer Vincent Malle
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Costello
The first feature of the 24-year-old Louis Malle, this assured film was one of the earliest rumblings of the Nouvelle Vague, a more conservative precursor to Godard's Breathless. Claiming a desire to combine the disparate styles of Bresson and Hitchcock, Malle's film is less a noir than a low-key meditation on the genre, as shots of a disconsolate Jeanne Moreau walking the streets of Paris in search of her lover (Maurice Ronet) are intercut with the adventures of the young couple who have stolen their car. Taking the familiar plot of homicidal lovers, Malle skips past the customary heavy breathing, beginning in medias res as the murder of Moreau's husband is carried out with clinical detachment. Ironically, Malle's older lovers are separated from each other for nearly the entire film, with Ronet's frantic efforts to get away from the scene of the crime almost a parody of the prisoner's calm demeanor in Bresson's contemporaneous A Man Escaped (1956). As the dominoes begin to fall, Moreau is reunited with Ronet, at least on paper, in one of the most elegant busts on celluloid. The melancholy of Miles Davis' improvised score underlines the film's tone of stoic fatalism.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/25/2006
  • UPC: 715515017725
  • Original Release: 1957
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Language: Français
  • Time: 1:32:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 481

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jeanne Moreau Florence Carala
Maurice Ronet Julien Tavernier
Georges Poujouly Louis
Felix Marten Subervie
Lino Ventura Insp. Cherter
Jean Wall Simon Carala
Yori Bertin Veronique
Elga Andersen Mme. Bencker
Micheline Bona Genevieve
Jean-Claude Brialy Chess player at motel
Marcel Cuvelier
Gérard Darrieu Maurice
Charles Denner Inspector Cherier's assistant
Hubert Deschamps Attorny of State
Jacques Hilling Garage owner
Marcel Journet
Francois Joux
Ivan Petrovich Horst Bencker
Jacqueline Staup
Technical Credits
Louis Malle Director, Screenwriter
Leonide Azar Editor
Alain Cavalier Asst. Director
Miles Davis Score Composer
Boris de Fas Makeup
Henri Decaë Cinematographer
Irenee Leriche Production Manager
Francois Leterrier Asst. Director
Jean Mandaroux Art Director
Rino Mondellini Art Director
Jean Thuillier Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Elevator to the Gallows
1. "Je T'Aime" [2:43]
2. Mr. Carala [8:44]
3. Julien Tavernier [6:35]
4. Florence Carala [1:41]
5. Secret Agent Man [2:18]
6. Miles Apart [2:58]
7. Night on the Champs-Élysées [3:41]
8. A Mercedes 300 SL [4:38]
9. Party in the Benckers' Room [3:12]
10. "A Good Joke" [2:54]
11. Night Watchman [6:18]
12. Friend of Julien's [3:00]
13. Midnight Getaway [1:14]
14. "The Tragic Lovers" [3:18]
15. Police Roundup [3:45]
16. Scene at the Trappes Motel [6:14]
17. Breakthrough [4:01]
18. The Same Man [4:04]
19. "A Little Riddle for You" [2:54]
20. "I'll Save You, Julien" [5:07]
21. Photos [6:38]
22. Color Bars [5:14]
Disc #2 -- Elevator to the Gallows
1. From Cousteau to Bresson [3:25]
2. Directorial Debut [2:43]
3. A Clear Premonition [4:19]
4. Themes Revisited [6:36]
1. "When I Met Louis" [3:28]
2. A Revolutionary Film [6:34]
3. The Actress and Her Director [4:46]
4. "This Beautiful Lie" [3:09]
1. Touring With Miles [2:45]
2. Recording the Score [6:52]
3. Time in the Spotlight [5:03]
1. The Cool and the Hip [4:34]
2. A Fascinating Story [3:37]
3. Antithesis of Bebop [6:30]
4. In Louis' Hands [6:55]
5. Where Miles Went, Jazz Went [3:20]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Elevator to the Gallows
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   Trailers
      Original Theatrical
      Rialto Re-Release
   Subtitles
      English Subtitles On/Off
Disc #2 -- Elevator to the Gallows
   Louis Malle, 1975
      Play
      Index
   Jeanne Moreau, 2005
      Play
      Index
   Malle and Moreau at Cannes
      Play
   Maurice Ronet
      Play
   The Miles Davis Score
      The Recording Session
         Play
      On Piano, René Urtreger
         Play
         Index
      Miles Goes Modal: The Breakthrough Score for Elevator to the Gallows
         Play
         Index
   Crazeologie
      Play
   Subtitles
      English Subtitles On/Off
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Fifties-Style French Film Noir

    "Elevator to the Gallows" is a deliberately paced outstanding example of fifties-style French film noir. Accompanied by a desolate tenor sax in its score, this film does not have the jackhammer drive and breathtaking momentum of contemporary thrillers. What it lacks in nail-biting suspense, however, it more than compensates for with character and story line.<BR/><BR/>A motley collection of well-limned intriguing characters become ensared in an intricate web of malevolence that is spun by an unhappy, alienated woman who decides to use her lover as a cat's-paw to do away with her wealthy corporate husband.<BR/><BR/>In the process, two joyriding teenagers are caught in the web after they rob the murderer's expensive car while he is stuck in the company elevator during his botched attempt to flee from the scene of his recently perpetrated crime. Trapped by circumstances beyond his control and desperate to escape, like all typical film-noir antiheroes, he can do nothing--no matter how hard he struggles--but meet his miserable fate when the elevator finally starts up again.<BR/><BR/>If you like Jean-Pierre Melville noir films like "Le Samourai," you should savor watching the various characters of "Elevator" succumb to their fates.<BR/><BR/>--Bryan Cassiday, author of "Fete of Death"

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews