Elevator to the Gallows Comes to the SBIFF Showcase Series*

NEW RESTORATION OF THE 1957 FRENCH FILM NOIR MASTERPIECE! (featuring the legendary jazz score from Miles Davis! ) Scheming lovers Julien (Maurice Ronet) and Florence (Jeanne Moreau) engineer the “perfect murder” of her husband. But when Julien becomes trapped in the elevator mere floors away from his recent victim, the perfect murder quickly becomes imperfect.

Louis Malle’s Cracking-Good Noir ‘Elevator to the Gallows’ Returns, Restored, to Film Forum
By Aaron Hillis – Village Voice

Despite its fatalistic title, Louis Malle’s splendid 1958 Parisian noir Elevator to the Gallows still marks an ascent to immortality six decades later, especially for a then-24-year-old French auteur making his confident feature debut and the only genre exercise of his career.

Yet the film also launched its ever-elegant star Jeanne Moreau, unforgettably shot by Henri Decaë and lit by the lamps and storefront windows along the Champs-Élysées. The cherry on top is the smoky, melancholic score by jazz titan Miles Davis and crew, recorded in a single session just two years before he would drop Kind of Blue.

Newly restored, the film’s alchemic blend of Bressonian rigor, Hitchcockian suspense, and overall proto–Nouvelle Vague cool more than compensates for its straightforward plotting, based on a trifling policier by Noël Calef. Moreau’s illicit lover (Maurice Ronet), having just staged the murder of her businessman husband (and his boss) as a suicide, circles back to the scene of the crime to dispose of leftover evidence before finding himself trapped in a you-know-what. Meanwhile, a teen hoodlum (Georges Poujouly) and his lover (Yori Bertin) steal the killer’s car and his identity (an Algerian war veteran!), and the ill-fated fallout from everyone’s misdeeds plays out as stylish screen poetry.

Though hardly as humanistic or naturalistic as Malle’s later work, it’s undeniably crackling entertainment that’ll have you reaching for a pack of Gauloises.

Directed by Louis Malle
Written by Louis Malle, Roger Nimier
Starring Maurice Ronet, Jeanne Moreau, Georges Poujouly, Yori Bertin
Music by Miles Davis
Country of Origin: France
Running Time: 91 min

Sunday August 14 @ 2:00pm
Monday August 15 @ 7:30pm
Tuesday August 16 @ 5:00pm
Wednesday August 17 @ 7:30pm
at the Riviera Theatre – 2044 Alameda Padre Serra


See you at the movies!

*SBIFF’s The Showcase Film Series features exciting and innovative independent and foreign films which will not have a theatrical run in Santa Barbara. Every week a different film will be shown to Santa Barbara Cinephiles at the Riviera Theatre located at 2044 Alameda Padre Serra. Showtimes will be Sunday at 2:00pm, Monday at 7:30pm, Tuesday at 5:00pm and Wednesday at 7:30pm.


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