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Monday, February 16, 2015

Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud (aka Elevator To The Gallows) (1958)

A woman (Jeanne Moreau) and her lover (Maurice Ronet) plot to murder her husband (Jean Wall), a wealthy and important businessman and make it look like suicide. What would seem to be the perfect crime starts to fall apart when a young thug (Georges Poujouly) and his girl (Yori Bertin) steal his car. The directorial debut of Louis Malle, ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS is an intense thriller whose stylish intricacies would do Hitchcock proud.  The narrative itself is clever enough if not particularly original but Malle soaks it with a strained yet creamy brew that keeps you riveted. You know where everything is going but you're compelled to watch it to the inevitable if predictable finale. Malle has three co-conspirators to this end. Henri Decae's superb B&W cinematography, Miles Davis' moody underscore and Moreau whose love affair with the camera really begins here. With Lino Ventura, Charles Denner, Jean Claude Brialy and Elga Andersen. 

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