Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Criterion on FilmStruck: Elevator to the Gallows (1958)

Elevator to the Gallows (1958) - Directed by Louis Malle; Written by Roger Nimier, Malle; Starring Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet, Georges Pourjouly, Yori Bertin.

By Kenny Howell

A man sets out to murder his mistress' husband, and it sets off a series of events that will drastically change the lives of several people in this noir from Malle.

Julien (Maurie Ronet) has the perfect plan to kill his girlfriend Florence's (Jeanne Moreau) husband. He goes to great lengths to make it look like a suicide, and almost pulls it off perfectly, but doesn't notice that he left the rope that he used to climb into his office hanging from the top of the building after he's done. He goes back into the office, but it is closing up for the day, and the building super shuts off the power while he is in the elevator going up. He must find a way to get out of the elevator before the authorities realize what is going down.

Outside, two young troublemakers, Louis and Veronique (Georges Pourjouly and Yori Bertin) in love are eyeing his convertible. Louis can't help himself, and he jumps into the car. Veronique protests at first, but ends up following him into the car. They go on a road trip that ends up with tragic results because of their reckless behavior.

Louis Malle (Black Moon) perfectly handles the unfolding of the events, as bad stuff keeps piling on top of each other. I don't really want to give away anymore than that because it really takes away from the fun of the movie. Just know that it unfolds perfectly, and everyone that deserves it gets its due.

The entire score for the film is original work by Miles Davis as well.

Elevator to the Gallows is available on FilmStruck as a part of the Criterion Collection.

Rating: ***1/2

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