Elevator to the Gallows
1958 | Film Noir | 88 minutes | English
Florence Carala and Julien Tavernier are in love. The problem is Florence is married to Julien’s boss, Simon Carala. Julien decides that the solution to their problem is to murder Simon. Julien uses a rope to climb to Simon’s office and shoots him. He sets the scene so it looks like a suicide and quickly leaves. When he’s in his car, Julien notices the rope is still dangling from Simon’s office. Julien hurries back. While in the elevator, the power in the building is shut off for the night . Julien is stuck in the elevator between floors. Another mistake: Julien left his car running. A teenage couple happen by, and Louis, a petty criminal, decides to steal the car with his ditzy girl friend Véronique and go cruising. They end up at a motel. Because of Louis’s brush with the law, they register as Mr. and Mrs. Julien Tavernier. That night, Louis is caught trying to steal the Mercedes 300 SL belonging to German tourists staying at the motel. Louis shoots and kills the German tourists with Julien’s gun. The police now pin these murders on Julien. But Julien has an alibi: he was stuck in the elevator during the time the Germans were murdered. But, then, how can Julien explain to the police what he was doing in the elevator about the time Simon was murdered? It’s the classic tangled web.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 93%
- Metacritic Score: 94
Prix Louis Delluc: Winner, Best French Film
The film received 3 1/2 out of 4 stars in Leonard Maltin’s MOVIE GUIDE
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ELEVATOR to the GALLOWS is as elegantly fatalistic as it sounds. Made in 1957, at a turning point in French cinematic history, it’s saturated with the romantic atmosphere of Paris. It drew upon several major talents—director Louis Malle, star Jeanne Moreau, musician Miles Davis—and achieved near legendary results with all of them.
Louis Malle’s first feature, ELEVATOR to the GALLOWS is a delicious Hitchcockian thriller about a man who seems to have just pulled off the perfect crime. It’s a suspenseful, elegant entertainment with an ultra-cool Miles Davis soundtrack and glistening black-and-white photography by the great Henri Decae.
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