Elevator to the Gallows (1958)

Elevator to the Gallows (Ascenseur pour l’échafaud)elevator poster
Directed by Louis Malle
Written by Roger Nimier and Louis Malle from a novel by Noël Calef
Nouvelle Editions de Films
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental

Le commissaire Cherrier: You see, madam, there are always several photos in a camera …

In his first film, Louis Malle gets film noir just right.

Simon Carala is a wealthy international arms dealer.  His young wife Florence (Jeanne Moreau) is having an affair with his assistant Julien Tavernier (Maurice Ronet), a former mercenary soldier.


The two plot the husband’s murder.  As is the way of these things, everything goes to hell. I shall not reveal the details of the clever plot.


This has everything going for it. The cinematography is the equal of that in any great noir.  The stunning shots are often accented by Moreau’s beauty.  Her debut in this film revealed her to have one of the great expressive faces of all time.  Even on the second viewing, the intricate story line retained its surprises and little thrills.  The films sultry darkness perfectly suits the great Miles Davis score.  Highly recommended.

Re-release trailer

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