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Elevator to the Gallows (1958)
"Ascenseur pour l'échafaud" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  29 January 1958 (France)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 12,057 users   Metascore: 92/100
Reviews: 76 user | 97 critic | 12 from Metacritic.com

A self-assured business man murders his employer, the husband of his mistress, which unintentionally provokes an ill-fated chain of events.

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Writers:

(adaptation), (adaptation), 3 more credits »
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Title: Elevator to the Gallows (1958)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Louis
Yori Bertin ...
Véronique
Jean Wall ...
Simon Carala
Elga Andersen ...
Frieda Bencker
Sylviane Aisenstein ...
Yvonne, La fille du bar
Micheline Bona ...
Geneviève
Gisèle Grandpré ...
Jacqueline Mauclair
Jacqueline Staup ...
Anna
Marcel Cuvelier ...
Le réceptionniste du motel
Gérard Darrieu ...
Maurice
...
L'adjoint du commissaire Cherrier
Hubert Deschamps ...
Le substitut du procureur
Jacques Hilling ...
Le garagiste
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Storyline

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 forgotten the rope outside the window and he returns to the building to remove it... Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rope | murder | german | alibi | thief | See All (151) »

Taglines:

More Hitchcock Than Hitchcock! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

29 January 1958 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Elevator to the Gallows  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$7,354 (USA) (24 June 2005)

Gross:

$263,404 (USA) (16 December 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Miles Davis recorded the music with a quartet of French and US musicians in a few hours (from 11pm to 5am one night), improvising each number and allegedly sipping champagne with Jeanne Moreau and Louis Malle. See more »

Goofs

Seen from the outside during the opening telephone call, Tavernier's office has a bare walkway and railing. Seen from the inside during the same telephone call, the walkway outside his office has a shrubbery. See more »

Quotes

Commissaire de police: Anything's good for an alibi. Wives, girlfriends, bartenders, childhood friends, deceived husbands - but not an elevator. That's ridiculous. It's totally harebrained.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in My Wife Is an Actress (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Played by:
Miles Davis - trumpet
Barney Wilen - tenor saxophone
Rene Urtreger - piano
Pierre Michelot - contrabass
Kenny Clarke - drums
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Camera Has Many Photos
6 October 2011 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

The former Captain Julien Tavernier (Maurice Ronet) works in the company of the powerful arms dealer Simon Carala (Jean Wall) and is the lover of his wife Florence Carala (Jeanne Moreau). Julien and Florence plot a scheme to kill Simon simulating a suicide. Julien stays after-hours in the company with the telephone operator and the doorman and comes to his office. He climbs to Simon's office using a rope outside the window and kills the executive. He runs to his office to attend a phone call and forgets the rope, and leaves the building with the two employees to have an alibi. When he is ready to drive his car, he sees the rope hanging outside the building and he returns to withdraw the rope, leaving his overcoat and revolver in the car. When he enters in the lift, the doorman shutdown the building and Julien is trapped inside the elevator.

Meanwhile the smalltime thief Louis (Georges Poujouly) steals Julien's car and drives to a motel with his girlfriend Véronique (Yori Bertin) and lodge using the name of Julien. They drink with the German tourists Horst Bencker (Iván Petrovich) and his wife Frieda Bencker (Elga Andersen) and early in the morning, Louis tries to steal his Mercedes Benz. When he is surprised by Horst, Louis shots and kills the couple. Julien Tavernier becomes the prime suspect of the murder and when he leaves the lift, he does not have alibi for the murder of Simon Carala and the German tourists.

"Ascenseur pour l'Échafaud" is the first feature of Louis Malle, who is also one of the writers. The unpredictable and original story is fantastic, the screenplay has many plot points until the very last scene and the performances are top-notch.

Julien Tavernier is a methodic military with cold blood that gets caught between the rock and a hard place due to a mistake and lots of bad luck. The soundtrack with the music of Miles Davis gives a touch of class to this little masterpiece. The result is one of the best thrillers entwined with comedy of errors that I have ever seen. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "Ascensor Para o Cadafalso" ("Elevator to the Gallows")


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