Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows) (Lift to the Scaffold) (Frantic)
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Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows) (Lift to the Scaffold) (Frantic)
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… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Efficient but soulless."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Henri Decaë's black-and-white cinematography brings out the melancholy mystery of Paris' boulevards and cafes, and Ms. Moreau, shot with natural lighting and without make-up, is like a mournful goddess of glamour."
‑ Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News
"Louis Malle's supremely stylish New Wave thriller combines Miles Davis's music, Henri Decae's wonderfully evocative black-and-white cinematography of Paris and plenty of close-ups of a young Jeanne Moreau looking very anguished."
‑ Geoffrey Macnab, Independent
"Few debuts come punchier, cooler, and more influential than Louis Malle's 1958 thriller about a Parisian murder plan unravelling, scene by fateful scene."
‑ Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph
"The ambition is bracing, but critical hindsight obscures how exciting Malle's noir thriller is on its own terms."
‑ Simon Kinnear, Total Film
"Elevator to the Gallows is a treat for the film buff. Watching Moreau and Malle as they discover each other and a new trend in filmmaking, and listening to Miles Davis during their quest will remind you of what movies are all about."
‑ Marta Barber, Miami Herald
"A straightforward but classy thriller."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Malle made his feature directorial debut with this assured thriller, which recalled both the poetic realism of Marcel Carné and the brooding menace of American films noirs."
‑ David Parkinson, Radio Times
"Its constituent parts are great, but just don't come together to make a coherent and satisfying movie."
‑ David Jenkins, Little White Lies
"Louis Malle's brilliant feature directorial debut is a stylish film noir, boasting great jazz score and impressive performance from the young Jeanne Moreau."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"A suspense thriller with a tense, jazzy score and a rich undercurrent of fatalistic irony."
‑ Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"The plot crackles with energy and misdirection, while the black-and-white film sharpens angles and amplifies the shadows lurking in every hallway."
‑ Michael Booth, Denver Post
"What a supremely stylish and watchable picture it is."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"Striking to look at, with each frame resembling an intricately designed photograph ..."
‑ Jason Wood, Electric Sheep
"the score by Miles is a remarkable one, tapping into the jazzy zeitgeist of the time"
‑ Dan Jardine, Apollo Guide