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ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS
aka ASCENSEUR POUR L'eCHAFAUD
USA: Rialto Pictures
Cast: Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet, Georges Poujouly, Yori Bertin, Jean Wall, Elga Andersen, Sylviane Aisenstein, Micheline Bona, Gisele Grandpre, Jacqueline Staup, Marcel Cuvelier, Gerard Darrieu, Charles Denner, Hubert Deschamps, Jacques Hilling, Marcel Journet, François Joux, Ivan Petrovich, Felix Marten, Lino Ventura
Director: Louis Malle
Language: French (English subtitles)
USA: 88 mins
USA Release Date: 29 July 2005 (Limited Re-release - wider)
USA Release Date: 24 June 2005 (Limited Re-release - New York)
ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS is director Louis Malle's 1957 masterpiece of suspense and film noir starring Jeanne Moreau, in the role that catapulted her to international stardom. Long unseen, ELEVATOR is being reissued by Rialto Pictures in a new 35mm restoration supervised by the Malle family. Long unseen in theaters and unavailable on video or DVD, Rialto's re-release also features new subtitles by Lenny Borger.
Scheming lovers Julien (Maurice Ronet) and Florence (Jeanne Moreau) engineer the "perfect murder" of her husband. But when Julien attempts to tie up one more loose end (literally... a rope dangling from the dead man's office window), he becomes trapped between floors in the elevator, with precious minutes ticking away before the police discover the victim's body. Complicating things are a teenage juvenile delinquent and his thrill-seeking girlfriend — stealing Julien's super-cool convertible (and the pistol in the glove compartment), they go on a joy ride that ends in murders #2 and 3, with the incapacitated Julien unwittingly becoming the prime suspect.
Shot by Henri Decaë, who also lensed the first films of François Truffaut and Claude Chabrol, ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS was a stunning debut for 24-year-old director Malle, winning him the Prix Delluc, France's most prestigious film award. Ushering in the French New Wave, it also made an international super-star of cool beauty Moreau, here giving perhaps the most iconic performance of her career. And as seminal as the film itself is its legendary Miles Davis music (largely improvised by Miles and combo) —still the most famous of all jazz film scores.