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Elevator to the Gallows (1958)

Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 29 January 1958 (France)
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A self-assured businessman murders his employer, the husband of his mistress, which unintentionally provokes an ill-fated chain of events.

Director:

Louis Malle

Writers:

Roger Nimier (adaptation), Louis Malle (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Taglines:

More Thrills and Suspense and Daring! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Rialto Pictures

Country:

France

Language:

French | German

Release Date:

29 January 1958 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Elevator to the Gallows See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,354, 26 June 2005

Gross USA:

$109,257
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The two lead characters, Florence (Moreau) and Julien (Ronet), never share a scene in the film. They do however speak on the phone together and are seen together in still photographs. See more »

Goofs

After being released from the lift, Julien is running to his car. If not been stolen, it would have been out of petrol after the engine was running the whole night. Furthermore it would have been quite wet inside after the heavy thunderstorm with the roof open. See more »

Quotes

Julien Tavernier: How many billions did the Indochina War bring you? And now Algeria, how much?
See more »

Connections

Remade as Shikeidai no erebêtâ (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Au Bar Du Petit Bac
Composed by Miles Davis
Performed by Miles Davis (Trumpet), Barney Wilen (Tenor Saxophone), René Urtreger (Piano), Pierre Michelot (Bass) and Kenny Clarke (Drums)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Camera Has Many Photos
6 October 2011 | by claudio_carvalhoSee 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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