Louis Malle

Elevator to the Gallows

Elevator to the Gallows

For his feature debut, twenty-four-year-old Louis Malle brought together a mesmerizing performance by Jeanne Moreau, evocative cinematography by Henri Decaë, and a now legendary jazz score by Miles Davis. Taking place over the course of one restless Paris night, Malle’s richly atmospheric crime thriller stars Moreau and Maurice Ronet as lovers whose plan to murder her husband (his boss) goes awry, setting off a chain of events that seals their fate. A career touchstone for its director and female star, Elevator to the Gallows was an astonishing beginning to Malle’s eclectic body of work, and it established Moreau as one of the most captivating actors ever to grace the screen.

Film Info

  • Louis Malle
  • France
  • 1958
  • 92 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.66:1
  • French
  • Spine #335

Special Features

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Interview from 2005 with actor Jeanne Moreau
  • Archival interviews with Moreau, director Louis Malle, actor Maurice Ronet, and original soundtrack session pianist René Urtreger
  • Footage of musician Miles Davis and Malle from the soundtrack recording session
  • Program from 2005 about the score, featuring jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis and critic Gary Giddins
  • Malle’s student film Crazeologie, featuring Charlie Parker’s song “Crazeology”
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Terrence Rafferty, an interview with Malle, and a tribute by film producer Vincent Malle

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Interview from 2005 with actor Jeanne Moreau
  • Archival interviews with Moreau, director Louis Malle, actor Maurice Ronet, and original soundtrack session pianist René Urtreger
  • Footage of musician Miles Davis and Malle from the soundtrack recording session
  • Program from 2005 about the score, featuring jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis and critic Gary Giddins
  • Malle’s student film Crazeologie, featuring Charlie Parker’s song “Crazeology”
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Terrence Rafferty, an interview with Malle, and a tribute by film producer Vincent Malle

Elevator to the Gallows
Cast
Jeanne Moreau
Florence Carala
Maurice Ronet
Julien Tavernier
Georges Poujouly
Louis
Yori Bertin
Véronique
Jean Wall
Simon Carala
Lino Ventura
Inspector Chérier
Iván Petrovich
Horst Bencker
Félix Marten
Christian Subervie
Elga Andersen
Frida Bencker
Gérard Darrieu
Building porter
Sylviane Aisenstein
Secretary
Charles Denner
Assistant inspector
Hubert Deschamps
Assistant district attorney
Jean-Claude Brialy
Chess player at motel
Credits
Director
Louis Malle
Producer
Jean Thuillier
Screenplay
Roger Nimier
Screenplay
Louis Malle
Based on the novel by
Noël Calef
Cinematography
Henri Decaë
Music
Miles Davis
Camera operators
André Villard
Camera operators
Jean Rabier
Production design
Rino Mondellini
Production design
Jean Mandaroux
Production manager
Irénée Leriche
Editor
Léonide Azar
Assistant editors
Kenout Peltier
Assistant editors
Madeleine Bibollet
Sound
Raymond Gauguier
Technical consultant
Jean-Paul Sassy
Assistant directors
Alain Fraissé
Assistant directors
François Leterrier
Script girl
Francine Corteggiani
Photographer
Jean-Louis Castelli
Makeup
Boris de Fast
Production
Nouvelles Éditions de Films

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Explore

Louis Malle

Writer, Director

Crime dramas, comedies, romances, tragedies, fantasies, documentaries, and, of course, coming-of-age stories­—director Louis Malle did it all. This most unpredictable and eclectic of filmmakers enriched cinema over a nearly forty-year career that took him from Jacques Cousteau’s watery depths (his first film was the Cousteau-codirected Oscar winner The Silent World) to the peripheries of the French New Wave (Zazie dans le métro, The Fire Within) to the vanguard of American moviemaking (My Dinner with André). Malle had an intellectually curious nature that led him to approach film from a variety of angles; he was as comfortable making minimalist works like the wordless Humain trop humain and the talky André as phantasmagorical ones like Black Moon. He is probably best known, though, for his deeply personal films about the terrors and confusions of childhood, such as Murmur of the Heart and Au revoir les enfants. Perhaps not as well-known is his parallel career as a master of the nonfiction form—one of his many documentary achievements was the seven-part Phantom India, which would be a stunning career centerpiece for anyone else; for this director, it was simply a fascinating side project. Malle died in 1995, shortly after directing his final film, the typically experimental Vanya on 42nd Street.