Elevator to the Gallows (Ascenseur pour l'échafaud) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

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

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½ November 15, 2017
Elevator to the Gallows might feel like a minor work to some, but as a cinematic experience I can assure you that it is not. It's immersive, suspenseful, and best of all: fun.
½ June 2, 2017
This is another classic Film Noir that I was able to cross off my list via the blind-bought Criterion Collection disc, and I was rather impressed, as expected.

The film follows a pair of lovers, plotting to kill off a husband who's in the way, making it appear to be a suicide, but when one thing goes wrong, it sends the plan into a spiral that no one can escape from.

Great stuff, and a fine example of the genre.
January 8, 2017
Julien (Maurice Ronet) kills his boss so he can run away with the man's wife (Jeanne Moreau), but he gets stuck in an elevator in his efforts to retrieve an incriminating piece of evidence at the crime scene. To make matters worse, a pair of idiotic teens steal Julien's car and stir up even more trouble. Plenty of noir films involve a "perfect murder" that goes utterly wrong, but Elevator to the Gallows is unique thanks to tight camera work by Henri Decae, an expert pace from director Louis Malle, an atmosphere that anticipates French New Wave, a simmering performance from Jeanne Moreau, and a score from Miles Davis that ventures into the modal territory that the trumpeter would further explore with Kind of Blue.
½ August 14, 2016
This is a great film-noir/thriller that plays like Hitchcock meeting the French New Wave. This is the first film for acclaimed director Louis Malle, it's hard to believe he was just 24 when hr made this. Jeanne Moreau is stunning, and the cinematography is gorgeous and really captures the beauty of Paris at night. The score by the legendary Miles Davis which was recorded in just one night, helps to elevate the film even more. This film is a must watch!
August 7, 2016
Gonzo noir plotting, but beautifully shot and with the coolest score ever, courtesy of Miles Davis.
½ August 6, 2016
Louis Malle's first film is a very accomplished French film noir that's hard-edged, but also deceptively fun and ironic in the most playful sense. Amazing soundtrack from the one-and-only Miles Davis too!
½ May 18, 2016
It's about as cool filmmaking ever gets.
½ March 28, 2016
The New wave starts taking its baby steps in this 50s noir.
January 29, 2016
This is only the second Louis Malle film I've seen. The other is My Dinner With Andre, and wow does he have range - this couldn't be more different!

Beautiful B&W photography and a slightly Kafkaesque plotline. I was let down by the ending, too much denouement in what could have been a beautiful tragi-comedy of the absurd. But still a masterwork.
½ August 28, 2015
The idiot will drone on and on.

Julien Tavernier seems to have life set. He is a successful business man, is banging a hot married woman on the side, and is making plenty of money. One day the husband of the woman Julien is sleeping with starts getting wise to their activity and Julien kills him and disposes of the body; unfortunately, murder can be more challenging than a business transaction and life is flipped upside down for Julien.

"Is this a joke? It's not a joke?"

Louis Malle, director of May Fools, Damage, Alamo Bay, Crackers, The Thief of Paris, The Lovers, Black Moon, and My Dinner with Andre, delivers Elevator to the Gallows. The storyline for this picture is kind of slow and methodical with some thriller elements sprinkled in here and there. The acting is okay and the cast includes Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet, and Georges Poujouly.

"Don't sneer at war. It's your bread and butter."

I recently came across this on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and decided to give it a shot so I DVR'd it. I recently watched this and felt it was a bit bland, just okay, and not very...thrilling. There is a nice conclusion here; but other than that, I'd probably skip this.

"It's the same man...I'm telling you!"

Grade: C
August 19, 2015
The doomed lovers of 1958's "Elevator to the Gallows" do not find their erotic passion lost in a smoke of underlying deception. Their erotic passion is cloaked in the love Walter Neff dreamed of: quivering, gauzy, potent. But it's obstructed by the presence of an unwanted husband, a husband perhaps too sensitive, too vengeful, to simply divorce. Murder, it seems, is the only way to live happily ever after, even if all roads end in a blazing afterlife.
The lovers are Julien (Maurice Ronet) and Florence (Jeanne Moreau), her husband powerful business magnate Simon Carala (Jean Well). She married young, putting comfort ahead of adoration; Julien, incidentally, resides under her husband's employment. They aren't planning to off the man for his money - they figure the publicity, the ruthlessness of her husband would be catastrophic in their relationship. So they come up with a foolproof plan: while Florence waits around in a chic Parisian café, Julien, pretending to go back up to his office for a few after hour tasks, will instead climb up to Carala's work space, shoot him point blank, and stage it as if it were a suicide.
It is the perfect murder, and is, for the most part, carried out with finesse only paralleled by the most experienced of assassins. After the deed is done and the suspicions of his coworkers go untouched, Julien treads back to his convertible as if nothing is off, cool as a cucumber. But just as his foot steps on the gas, he notices that the grapple hook he used to climb into Carala's office remains. Though it's bound to eventually fall and go unnoticed by investigators, Julien's paranoia manages to seep into his common sense - so he decides to barge back into the building at the last moment, figuring that taking a chance poses too many risks. But as he takes the elevator back up to his office, the very worst possible scenario becomes a reality when the security guard shuts off the electricity and leaves our sympathetic killer trapped in the confines of the shaft.
Florence waits for what feels like days, wandering around the city while hiding her internal despair, letting rain pour onto her poreless facsimile as she gives numb face to the empty chill of the night. Did the lover she once trusted betray her?
"Elevator to the Gallows", the directorial debut of Louis Malle, is a mood piece years ahead of its time, its Miles Davis scored, glacial black-and-white assimilating it into something nearly futuristic in its slippery minimalism. It's film noir at its most downbeat, its most bewitching; the midnight streets of the city are seductively "The Third Man", and the murder is an act of love tattered by true affection rather than the artificial sort of "Double Indemnity". "Elevator to the Gallows" is so elegantly dangerous because it's the kind of film where everything goes wrong; perfection is cheap. It's the alarm of an unexpected deviation that beguiles.
The central romance between Julien and Florence diffuses a sort of efficacy only found in the love stories of forgotten classics - their devotion to one another makes the stake riddled surroundings all the more agonizing because we want them to end up together. Their crime is not a part of a double-cross or a scheme; it's an act of despondency fueled by desire. The side-plot, which focuses on the attractive teenage couple (Georges Poujouly, Yori Bertin) that steals Julien's car, commits murder, attempts suicide, and gets him framed, is so gripping only because it so eccentrically reflects the plight of the main anti-heroes. While the latter couple plans everything methodically yet doesn't get away with it, the former acts on haphazard instinct and glides by with ludicrous success. It's an irony Malle sees through with an utmost tragic eye.
But "Elevator to the Gallows" is stylish, sophisticated entertainment meant to bridge the gap between thriller style and the heaviness of crime and its side effects. In the end, our eyes are more pleased than our intellectual pangs (it's much more captivating to gaze upon Moreau's masterfully understated performance than consider the reality of it all), but "Elevator to the Gallows" is a noir less 1958 and more timeless - its efficiency has not aged.
July 31, 2015
Great crime drama filled with fascinating unexplained characters, a jazz score, classic Mercedes, beautiful people and all set in beautiful 60's France.
½ May 30, 2015
Slick, superb new wave thriller, as well as the first of the French New Wave movement. skillful editing and cinematography, with a well matched score by Miles Davis. Fans of Godard's Breathless should not overlook this one.
½ May 16, 2015
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April 13, 2015
An example of a european quality movie, european noir.
½ April 5, 2015
A deceptively simple detective story, filled with tension, explosive violence and loads of late 1950's French "cool," this had me on the edge of my seat. The characters are finely drawn, understandable and yet still cool. The soundtrack apparently improvised while watching the film by Miles Davis is outstanding. The denouement is unexpected, but satisfying. Jeanne Moreau has never been lovelier.
½ January 20, 2015
Primera pelicula de Louis Mallè, inolvidable ver al personaje de Jeanne Moreau vagando por Parìs con la banda sonora de Miles Davis, ahora una de mis pelìculas favoritas.
January 5, 2015
Malle hypnotizes me with his ability to make the mundane noteworthy. He has various tricks; one easy-to-explain example in this movie is when the guy goes to the bar to answer the telephone call, he passes the restaurant crowd for just one second, but they're all frozen. You're like, what? But there's so much of it, it doesn't stand out like that. The attention to detail doesn't just make you think, kinda removes you and puts you in his depressed mind.
November 4, 2014
All about style and being tragically hip!
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