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.    

Jeanne Moreau (Florence Carala) / Maurice Ronet (Julien Tavernier) / Georges Poujouly (Louis) / Yori Bertin (Véronique)
Why Stream This Film?
In the U.S., many think a noir film is one that  stars Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, and Ida Lupino. After all, wasn’t film noir an American creation? Well, Louis Malle showed us  the French can also produce very compelling  noir films and Elevator to the Gallows is a superb exampleMalle added something that made this film unique:  an outstanding Miles Davis soundtrack. Enjoy!  
  • 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
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.
Kenneth Turan

Los Angeles Times

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.
William Arnold

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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