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

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Super Reviewer
March 29, 2007
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 those very elements - Jeanne Moreau's haunting performance, the brilliant camerawork and Miles' genius score to carry it. What am I saying? Never mind.
Super Reviewer
June 20, 2011
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 told everything that it is going on, but there's still a lot of suspense. All of the performances are very good especially Jeanne Moreau. Miles Davis' score is fantastic and suits the movie well. When people say, "they don't make them like they used to;" this is the type of movie that they are referring to.
Super Reviewer
December 17, 2007
Clever, atmospheric thriller with a fine Miles Davis score.
Super Reviewer
January 10, 2008
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 at 24 years old is remarkable in that so few other crime stories have ever touched the flawless execution and tension building that we find in this film. the miles davis score is perfect as a tone setter considering he recorded the entire thing in one day. the way the film was shot, the intricacies of the plot, and the excellent acting all come together to form a perfect movie. usually in noir style films the detective character is an emphasis, but the great lino ventura blends into this highly detailed story in an appropriately subtle way. a masterpiece of film making.
Super Reviewer
½ January 12, 2009
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 Miles Davis score that's just fantastic.
Super Reviewer
July 1, 2007
If you like "Breathless", you'll like this. A very similar feel to it. And if you like looking at Jeanne Moreau, even better. She's prominent in this and she's gorgeous. A couple of things made me scratch my head and go "Huh?", but for the most part a well-done film, and it gets an extra star because I really REALLY dig how they wrapped everything up. Definitely worth a couple of hours of your time.
Super Reviewer
½ June 3, 2007
I liked a lot about Elevator to the Gallows despite the suspension of disbelief some elements of the story required (a military badass forgetting his rope and leaving his car running? Come on!) but I really liked the interrogation scene and Miles Davis' score (lots of great extras with him on the DVD) alone is worth the viewing. Watching Moreau skulk around for nearly an hour got a little boring, even if she did it very well and looked very good doing it. I like how everything came together at the end even if it came off as a little boring around the middle.
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2013
Rating: 2 stars
Arthouse Rating: 2.5 stars

Elevator To The Gallows is the only truly acclaimed work of Malle that I've seen. While it was unique, following two criminal couples with baggage in France, it wasn't particularly good. For one everything felt to coincidental, everything happened at the wrong time, or right time depending on how you viewed the film. I was viewing it rooting against the protagonists. All four of them, I was cheering for the police. Therefore the ending actually did bring some joy to me. I doubt this is how Malle intended to deliver the film though. I also felt like the female performances were amateur. The men did alright, but the woman didn't seem convincing at all. I feel like my rating is a tad rough, but honestly I didn't catch the hype. I'm not saying it's overrated, just not of value to me. I will say though, some scenes looked gorgeous.
Super Reviewer
April 3, 2012
Very stylish film with a very intriguing premise. Watching this film reminded me of the feeling I had when I watched Godard's Breathless. The cool protagonist and a seductive blonde as his partner, accompanied by a classy score, this is a film that epitomizes the French noir films of it's time. The one problem I had was when Louis cannot steal the German's Mercedes because the German hid something the first gear of the gearbox. After Louis kills him, he manages to drive away in the Mercedes without adjusting any gearbox or anything; it wasn't a huge deal but it was confusing. Although there is quite a break from convention, the ending does not manage to tie up all the loose ends in a completely logical and realistic manner. Malle does cover his tracks and there is not any inconsistency in the ending, however, it seemed a bit out of place with the rest of the film.
Super Reviewer
February 14, 2008
Maybe this was rereleased in 2005, but it was 1957 or something like that. The Criterion DVD is amazing--it's perfectly remastered. Plus it has an original soundtrack by Miles Davis, which was pretty awesome.
Super Reviewer
March 22, 2008
Great bit of French Noir by Louis Malle. Superb direction, amazing cinematography and a knockout Miles Davis soundtrack combines with a star-making performance from Jeanne Moreau and great supporting performances to make a treat for the eyes and ears. This precursor to the French New Wave has a well earned reputation!
Super Reviewer
½ August 29, 2008
'Ascenseur pour l'échafaud' is gorgeous to the eyes and the ears. Every frame of Henri Decaë's cinematography is indeed pretty enough to frame and the Miles Davis soundtrack is superb. Moreau puts in a great performance, the scenes of her walking through Paris really are a joy to watch. Malle succesfully blended Film Noir with the coolness of the Nouvelle Vague and created and truly original and thrilling masterpiece.
Super Reviewer
July 24, 2008
Good French noir-y fun.
November 12, 2008
Before I ever saw this film, someone close to me said it was one of the sexiest films ever made. I was a bit skeptical going into it, but this film is easily one of the most beautiful and sexy pictures ever. The style of dialogue mixed in with many moments where no one is speaking has never been so perfectly balanced. The mixture of film noir with with suspense and romance with innocence is one of the most intriguing stories. The cinematography and the music by Miles Davis make this film very special for me. The scenes where the woman wanders the streets of Paris in the night looking for her lover is one of the most beautiful scenes that I have ever watched.
½ September 30, 2008
Allow me to point out that this movie was scored by Miles Davis, who also recorded all the music himself, leading me to wonder why nobody told me about this movie before.
½ January 12, 2008
spectacular, film noire at the best - throughout it all, we still don't see the full terror until it descends on us all.
Super Reviewer
March 3, 2008
some fantastic, memorable scenes here.
Moreau wandering the streets, the interrogation, the photos in the chemicals at the end. the style alone makes this one a winner.
June 19, 2007
What a cool movie! However, Louis Malle once again proves that any French male under the age of 22 is a complete bastard who is unaware of consequences.
June 5, 2007
Malle is an amazing director, and his debut is no exception. Perfectly captures the Hitchcock feeling.
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