Elevator to the Gallows (1958)

Elevator to the Gallows (1958), directed by Louis Malle.

The perfect murder: arranged by the lovers to kill the husband, an influential arms dealer. The murderer is an ex-commando and can handle himself, so what can go wrong? Well, during his getaway the elevator could lose power and a young joyriding couple could steal his car and commit crimes using his name.

When he doesn't make the rendezvous, haunted-eyed Jeanne Moreau wanders the rainy streets like a tightly wrapped madwomen, seeking the lover she suspects has betrayed her.

The director's first feature film, this is a dandy little crime thriller. It combines the elements of "what else can go wrong?" and "will they get away with it?" with that very French stylish yet bleak look at modernity.

As with Frankenheimer's The Train (1964) I am fascinated with the physical details they were willing to put into films in that era: automobile controls and engines, cameras and darkroom procedures. Today it's push-button computer magic, all just made up.

Great views of Paris cars and streets and the highways and motels in the country.

Score written and performed by Miles Davis. Quoting the wikipedia:


The film's score is considered by many as groundbreaking. The score by Miles Davis has been described by jazz critic Phil Johnson as, "The loneliest trumpet sound you will ever hear, and the model for sad-core music ever since. Hear it and weep".

Available on Criterion DVD.