Elevator to the Gallows
(Ascenseur pour l’échafaud)
Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet, Yori Bertin, Georges Poujouly,
Louis Malle’s first feature is an elegant, Hitchcockian thriller. Maurice Ronet and Jeanne Moreau star as an ex-paratrooper and his lover whose plot to murder her husband goes awry: Ronet becomes trapped in an elevator, his escape car is stolen by two teenagers on a spree that itself ends in murder, and Moreau is left to search Paris for news of her missing man. Adroitly bringing in the wider issues of the Indochina war, industry, and runaway machinery, Malle creates a milieu for his frantic, frustrated lovers (who never once share screen space) while an improvised score by Miles Davis becomes an abstraction of their punctuated existence.