Elevator to the Gallows (Ascenseur pour l'échafaud)
Elevator to the Gallows (Ascenseur pour l'échafaud) (1958)

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… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: June 24, 1958
DVD Release Date: April 25, 2006
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Critic Score: 93% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
John Hartl
Seattle Times

A classic European film noir with an irresistible score by Miles Davis, it builds tension from a series of seemingly minor mistakes that echo the political/military context of the postwar era.

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Aaron Hillis
Village Voice

The film's alchemic blend of Bressonian rigor, Hitchcockian suspense, and overall proto-Nouvelle Vague cool more than compensates for its straightforward plotting ...

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Kenji Fujishima
Paste Magazine

The experiencing of watching Malle's 1958 debut is akin to that of watching a preordained outcome, much like an academic thesis, work itself out, with much of the suspense residing all in the journey rather than the destination.

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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer

Elevator to the Gallows, killer stuff.

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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader

Efficient but soulless.

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Kate Muir
Times (UK)

Lift to the Scaffold (Ascenseur pour l'échafaud) was the perfect opening to the French New Wave in 1958, sashaying in to a jazz score from Miles Davis and starring Jeanne Moreau as a mistress-in-peril.

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Tina Hassannia
Village Voice

Elevator to the Gallows married a new kind of jazz to a new kind of cinema, and created something altogether sublime.

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Marta Barber
Miami Herald

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.

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Geoffrey Macnab
Independent (UK)

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.

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Flixster Audience Score: 91% Flixster User Reviews
Bob Stinson
Many elements of this film were breakthroughs - and it is a wicked cool film. But... I can't help thinking it was a little slight and really relied on… More
danny d
a hitchcockian thriller that was not only malle's first film but an anomaly in that he never touched the genre again. what he accomplished with this film… More
Melvin White
Elevator to the Gallows is a solid French thriller, that is very similar to Hitchcock movies. There's a lot of suspense, but no twists and turns. We are… More
Randy Tippy
Exquisite crime drama that kept me in suspense from beginning to end. It's really three stories seamlessly interwoven and simultaneous, topped off by a… More
jay nixon
Clever, atmospheric thriller with a fine Miles Davis score.
El Hombre Invisible
One of the craftiest films in the history of cinema, Elevator to the Gallows marked the start of the French New Wave. This film is just cool, not only… More