IMDb > Elevator to the Gallows (1958)
Ascenseur pour l'échafaud
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Elevator to the Gallows (1958) More at IMDbPro »Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (original title)

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Elevator to the Gallows -- 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.
Elevator to the Gallows -- Trailer for Elevator To The Gallows

Overview

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8.0/10   12,181 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Roger Nimier (adaptation) &
Louis Malle (adaptation) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Elevator to the Gallows on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 January 1958 (France) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Frantic for life and love - Frantic for excitement See more »
Plot:
A self-assured business man murders his employer, the husband of his mistress, which unintentionally provokes an ill-fated chain of events. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
A Film Noir Masterwork - Breathtaking to the Eye and the Ear See more (76 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jeanne Moreau ... Florence Carala

Maurice Ronet ... Julien Tavernier

Georges Poujouly ... 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

Charles Denner ... L'adjoint du commissaire Cherrier
Hubert Deschamps ... Le substitut du procureur
Jacques Hilling ... Le garagiste
Marcel Journet ... Le président du conseil d'administration
François Joux ... Commissaire de police

Iván Petrovich ... Horst Bencker
Félix Marten ... Christian Subervie

Lino Ventura ... Le commissaire Cherrier
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Micheline Sarfati
Robert Balpo ... Un consommateur (uncredited)
Nicolas Bataille ... Un consommateur à la brasserie (uncredited)
Marcel Bernier ... Un policier au commissariat (uncredited)

Jean-Claude Brialy ... Le jeune homme du motel (uncredited)
Christian Brocard ... Un consommateur (uncredited)
Olivier Darrieux ... Le chauffeur (uncredited)
Lucien Desagneaux ... Un journaliste (uncredited)
Pierre Devilder ... Petit rôle (uncredited)
Pierre Frag ... Un consommateur à la brasserie (uncredited)
Guy Henry ... Un inspecteur (uncredited)
Roger Jacquet ... Gaston (uncredited)
Alice Reichen ... La fleuriste (uncredited)

Directed by
Louis Malle 
 
Writing credits
Roger Nimier (adaptation) &
Louis Malle (adaptation)

Roger Nimier (dialogue)

Noël Calef (novel)

Noël Calef (pre-adaptation)

Produced by
Jean Thuillier .... producer
 
Original Music by
Miles Davis 
 
Cinematography by
Henri Decaë 
 
Film Editing by
Léonide Azar 
 
Art Direction by
Jean Mandaroux 
Rino Mondellini 
 
Makeup Department
Boris de Fast .... chief makeup
 
Production Management
Irénée Leriche .... production manager
Hubert Mérial .... unit production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Alain Cavalier .... assistant director (as Alain Fraisse)
François Leterrier .... second assistant director
 
Art Department
Pierre Guffroy .... first assistant art director
Clément Hurel .... poster artist
Jacques Martin .... property master
 
Sound Department
Raymond Gauguier .... sound engineer
 
Special Effects by
Pierre Lax .... special effects
 
Camera and Electrical Department
André Bouladoux .... key grip
Jean-Louis Castelli .... still photographer
Jean Rabier .... first assistant camera
Vincent Rossell .... still photographer
André Villard .... camera operator
 
Editorial Department
Madeleine Bibollet .... assistant editor
Kenout Peltier .... assistant editor
 
Music Department
Kenny Clarke .... musician: drums
Miles Davis .... musician: trumpet
Emilhenco .... musician: piano (as René Urtreger)
Pierre Michelot .... musician: bass
Barney Wilen .... musician: tenor sax
 
Other crew
Francine Corteggiani .... script supervisor
Jean-Paul Sassy .... technical advisor
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Ascenseur pour l'échafaud" - France (original title)
"Frantic" - USA
See more »
Runtime:
91 min (copyright length)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:16 | Australia:PG | Finland:K-16 | Japan:G (2015) | Netherlands:12 (re-release) (2005) | Netherlands:18 (original rating) (1958) | Norway:16 | Spain:16 (DVD rating) | Sweden:15 | UK:PG | USA:Not Rated | West Germany:12

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Gardenal is a barbiturate, and is the most widely used anticonvulsant (anti-epileptic) worldwide.See more »
Goofs:
Crew or equipment visible: As Julien walks along the balcony before throwing the rope, a crew member's reflection is visible in a window.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 »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in My Wife Is an Actress (2001)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
59 out of 66 people found the following review useful.
A Film Noir Masterwork - Breathtaking to the Eye and the Ear, 29 August 2005
Author: noralee from Queens, NY

"Elevator to the Gallows (Ascenseur pour l'échafaud)" is a master work, so it's startling to learn that it was Louis Malle's first feature. It's a mother lode textbook of how-to for noir genre filmmakers as he creates his own style from what he's learned from other masters.

Malle pays tribute to the tense murder style of Hitchcock with Billy Wilder's cynicism of selfishness a la "Double Indemnity" plus Graham Greene-like, post-war politics from "The Third Man"-- and arms and oil dealers with military pasts in the Middle East are not outdated let alone adulterous lovers and rebellious teenagers.

The film drips with sex and violence without actually showing either -- sensuous Jeanne Moreau walking through a long, rainy Paris night is enough to incite both.

The black and white cinematography by Henri Decaë is breathtakingly beautiful in this newly struck 35 mm print, from smokey cafés with ever watchful eyes like ours to the titular, ironic alibi's long shafts (which surely must have inspired a key, far paler scene in "Speed") to highway lights, to a spare interrogation box, but particularly in the street scenes. The coincidences and clues are built up, step by step, visually, including the final damning evidence.

Miles Davis's improvisations gloriously and agitatedly burst forth as if pouring from the cafés and radios, but the bulk of the film is startlingly silent, except for ambient sounds like rain that adds to the tension in the plot.

The characters are archetypes -- the steely ex-Legonnaire, the James Dean and Natalie Wood imitators, the preening prosecutor -- that fit together in a marvelous puzzle. But all are cool besides Moreau's fire, as she dominates the look of the film, just wandering around Paris.

There is some dialog that doesn't quite make sense at the end, but, heck, neither does "The Big Sleep" and this is at least in that league, if not higher in the pantheon.

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