In his mesmerizing debut feature, twenty-four-year-old director Louis Malle brought together the beauty of Jeanne Moreau, the camerawork of Henri Decaë, and a now legendary score by Miles Davis. A touchstone of the careers of both its star and director, Elevator to the Gallows is a richly atmospheric thriller of murder and mistaken identity unfolding over one restless Parisian night. —The Criterion Collection
Louis Malle (born October 30, 1932, Thumeries, France—died November 23, 1995, Beverly Hills, California, U.S.) French motion-picture director whose eclectic films were noted for their emotional realism and stylistic simplicity.
Malle’s wealthy family resisted his early interest in film but allowed him to enter the Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies in Paris in 1950. After studying at the institute, he worked as an assistant to filmmaker Robert Bresson and codirected the documentary Le Monde du silence (1956; The Silent World) with underwater explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
Malle’s first feature film, Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (1957; Frantic), was a psychological thriller. His second, Les Amants (1958; The Lovers), was a commercial success and established Malle and its star, Jeanne Moreau, in the film industry. The film’s lyrical love scenes, tracked with exquisite timing, exhibit Malle’s typically bold and uninhibited treatment of sensual themes. Social alienation… read more
As an edgy forerunner to the New Wave - beating Belmondo’s petty thief and Doinel’s delinquent - comes the intrigue of Chez Malle, a debut which boasts such chic energy - much like its jazz sounds - and yet precision affiliated more with the casual cool and languish of Le Samouraï - if not for a muffled mischievous streak warping its thriller into fare both lite and dark, in nimbly mirroring the indulgent paths of young and old towards disaster. Contextual trifles aside, the touchstone and pizzazz of Ascenseur pour l'échafaud remain intact.
Florence Carala and her lover Julien Tavernier, an ex – paratrooper want to murder her husband by faking a suicide. But after Julien has killed him and he puts his things in his car, he finds he has… read review
If the Nouvelle Vague didn’t ‘officially’ begin with Louis Malle’s precocious ‘Elevator to the Gallows’ then I think we can agree it could at least be seen from there. Malle came to his first feature… read review
Elevator to the Gallows, a beautifully photographed film noir, ushered the French New Wave onto the world stage, and in so doing influenced the future of cinema. That’s all very grand, but historical… read review