Elevator to the Gallows Elevator to the Gallows

Elevator to the Gallows

Louis Malle

Elevator to the Gallows (Criterion Blu-Ray)

6 Feb 2018


1 Disc

SRP: $39.95

Criterion Store price:$31.96

  • France
  • 1958
  • 92 minutes
  • Black and White
  • 1.66:1
  • French
  • Spine #335

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.


Florence Carala Jeanne Moreau
Julien TavernierMaurice Ronet
LouisGeorges Poujouly
VéroniqueYori Bertin
Simon Carala Jean Wall
Inspector Chérier Lino Ventura
Horst BenckerIván Petrovich
Christian SubervieFélix Marten
Frida BenckerElga Andersen
Building porterGérard Darrieu
SecretarySylviane Aisenstein
Assistant inspectorCharles Denner
Assistant district attorneyHubert Deschamps
Chess player at motelJean-Claude Brialy


DirectorLouis Malle
ProducerJean Thuillier
ScreenplayRoger Nimier and Louis Malle
Based on the novel byNoël Calef
CinematographyHenri Decaë
MusicMiles Davis
Camera operatorsAndré Villard and Jean Rabier
Production designRino Mondellini and Jean Mandaroux
Production managerIrénée Leriche
EditorLéonide Azar
Assistant editorsKenout Peltier and Madeleine Bibollet
SoundRaymond Gauguier
Technical consultantJean-Paul Sassy
Assistant directorsAlain Fraissé and François Leterrier
Script girlFrancine Corteggiani
PhotographerJean-Louis Castelli
MakeupBoris de Fast
ProductionNouvelles Éditions de Films

Disc 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

Film Essays

Elevator to the Gallows: Louis Malle on the Ground Floor

By Terrence Rafferty April 24, 2006

François Truffaut once wrote, “All of Louis Malle, all his good qualities and faults, was in Elevator to the Gallows”—a statement that, even given French film criticism’s traditionally high . . . Read more »



Miles Davis Improvises the Score for Elevator to the Gallows

February 07, 2018

In this excerpt from a supplement on our edition of Elevator to the Gallows, jazz legend Miles Davis plays his improvised score to projected images from the film. Read more »



Dark Passages: The Beautiful Crimes of Henri Decaë

By Imogen Sara Smith October 03, 2017

In her latest column, critic Imogen Sara Smith explains how cinematographer Henri Decaë brought a risk-taking spirit and seductive allure to some of the most iconic French crime films. Read more »



Keeper of the Secret: Remembering Jeanne Moreau

By Terrence Rafferty August 16, 2017

French New Wave icon Jeanne Moreau possessed a stillness, a way of surrendering to the camera, that made her utterly unique among modern actors. Read more »



On the Channel: Remembering Jeanne Moreau

August 03, 2017

In honor of one of the great leading ladies of French cinema, who passed away earlier this week, the Criterion Channel features ten of her most memorable performances. Read more »

Big Screen


Repertory Pick: A French Crime Classic Goes to Princeton

April 20, 2017

Tonight, the Princeton Garden Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey, will present Louis Malle’s 1958 Elevator to the Gallows. Starring Jeanne Moreau and Maurice Ronet as an adulterous couple who . . . Read more »



Flashback: Jeanne Moreau

By Peter Cowie August 24, 2016

Few actors have worked in cinema across eight decades. Jeanne Moreau began her career as an ingenue in 1949, and for my generation she was the icon of the French New Wave. Jean-Pierre Léaud may . . . Read more »



Did You See This?

August 05, 2016

The Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced the stellar lineup for the Revivals section of the 54th New York Film Festival, which opens in September. Robert Bresson’s L’argent, Edward Yang’ . . . Read more »

Chef du Cinema


Chef du Cinema: Elevator to the Gallows

By Ron Deutsch January 30, 2013

The improvisational arts of filmmaking, jazz, and chili. Read more »


Lino Item

January 26, 2011

In a new article for Moving Image Source, critic and Cineaste editor Richard Porton peeks behind the stony facade of the most unlikely of French movie stars, Lino Ventura. Before he came to . . . Read more »


Gallows Goes Live

November 12, 2009

Louis Malle’s shadowy Paris comes to our nation’s capital on November 12 and 19, when the HR-57 Center for the Preservation of Jazz & Blues in Washington, D.C., will host special live . . . Read more »


Elevator’s Turning Japanese

October 08, 2009

Louis Malle’s noirish French New Wave forerunner Elevator to the Gallows is getting a surprising new lift. The Japanese producer and distributor Kadokawa Pictures (once upon a time known as . . . Read more »

Need a Lift?

November 12, 2008

Philip French rates cinema’s greatest elevator scenes here, in the Guardian. Claustrophobics stay clear! Read more »

Film Essays

Elevator to the Gallows: Louis Malle on the Ground Floor

By Terrence Rafferty April 24, 2006

François Truffaut once wrote, “All of Louis Malle, all his good qualities and faults, was in Elevator to the Gallows”—a statement that, even given French film criticism’s traditionally high . . . Read more »

Other Editions

Elevator to the Gallows (Criterion DVD)

6 Feb 2018


1 Disc

SRP: $29.95

Criterion Store price:$23.96

Available Online


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