Movie review: 'Elevator to the Gallows'

  • Updated: October 5, 2006 - 6:08 PM

Who says two wrongs can't make a right? Two unrelated crimes intersect brilliantly in director/co-writer Louis Malle's 1957 feature-film debut, a suspense thriller with a tense, jazzy score and a rich undercurrent of fatalistic irony. One misdeed is a precisely planned murder, with a wealthy businessman's wife (Jeanne Moreau in an iconic performance) and her ex-paratrooper lover (Maurice Ronet), who conspire to eliminate her war profiteer husband (Jean Wall). Elaborate alibis are planned, precautions are put in place, and the killing is carried out with military efficiency until one tiny detail goes awry.

The second crime occurs when two joyriders steal the adulterers' getaway car from the street, commit an impulse killing and leave the upper-class lovers to take the rap. The dominoes fall with a satisfying snap while Miles Davis' plaintive bebop improvisations add a mocking instrumental commentary to every twist and complication. Malle, in 1957 a remarkably urbane 24-year-old, records it all with hipster detachment and sardonic restraint.


***½ out of four stars

Unrated but includes mature themes. In French, subtitled.

Where: Oak Street Cinema.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

recent movie releases

Search by category

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close