With his debut feature, the impeccably crafted crime thriller Elevator to the Gallows (1958), Louis Malle announced himself as one of France’s most dynamic young filmmakers and helped pave the way for the imminent French New Wave. One of the most remarkable elements of the film is its jazz score by Miles Davis, which accentuates the haunting and seductive mood of a tale of two lovers whose murder plot goes off the rails. It’s not just the evocative soundtrack but the circumstances surrounding its recording that have long since become the stuff of legend: over the course of a single night, in a rented Parisian studio, Davis and his accompanying musicians (including French pianist René Urtreger and American drummer Kenny Clarke) completed their work on the fly. The clip above, taken from a supplement on our newly upgraded edition of Elevator to the Gallows, offers a privileged glimpse of that nocturnal session, with Davis raptly playing along to the projected film, and Malle back in the booth describing the improvisatory method he developed with the trumpeter.
A Subtler Side of the Hepburn-Grant Magic
Filmmaker and distributor Michael Schlesinger and critic Michael Sragow dive into the pleasures of Holiday, a romantic-comedy classic that has long stood in the shadow of The Philadelphia Story but has a poignancy all its own.
Wim Wenders Looks Back on the Digital Future He Predicted
From search engines to all-engrossing handheld devices, the technologies that the German director conjured for his 1991 opus Until the End of the World are now common features of contemporary life.
John Bailey Breaks Down a Tour de Force of Gothic Lighting
The veteran cinematographer takes a close look at the highly stylized and atmospheric lighting in one of the most pivotal scenes in pre-Code classic The Story of Temple Drake.
All About Mankiewicz
One of the most celebrated Hollywood writer-directors of his time, Joseph L. Mankiewicz offers a window into the way he sees his characters in this illuminating clip from an archival interview.