Elevator to the Gallows (1958)

September 01, 2009

I only have a few more Dirk Bogarde films left to watch before I run out of available movies. (Curse you, PAL/NTSC system!!!) so for the first night in over a week I took a Dirk Bogarde break and watched Elevator to the Gallows.

This is officially my new favorite foreign film.

I always watch movies right before I go to sleep, and nine times out of ten I either fall asleep while it's on or as soon as it's over. After Elevator to the Gallows, I was wide awake. This was one of the most suspenseful films I've ever seen.

The story starts out pretty simple: two lovers are conspiring to kill the woman's rich husband. Jeanne Moreau plays the woman, Florence Carala, and Maurice Ronet plays the man, Julien Tavernier. Everything goes according to plan until Tavernier gets stuck in an elevator when he should have been meeting Florence at a cafe for a post-murder rendevous. This one hitch in the plan triggers a whole series of events that you NEVER will see coming. Up until the very last minute of the film, I had no clue what to expect. Usually I find myself trying to guess, trying to figure out what the twist will be. But I was so caught up in each moment of the film that I wasn't even trying to figure it all out!

I was a little hesitant to watch this at first because of the description. I have a huuuuge elevator phobia -- whenever we stay at a hotel or go anywhere, I always take the steps while my family goes up in the elevator. So a movie about being stuck in an elevator sounded like torture! Well, suffice it to say, watching this didn't make me any more likely to ride in an elevator! But it didn't give me nightmares or anything :)

Also, I think this is a great introduction to both Jeanne Moreau and Louis Malle if you haven't seen one of their films yet.

ps. How great is this movie poster?! I want a copy!


Nicole Newcomb said...

I absolutely hate elevators too but my reason is because I always feel nauseous. I can't wait to get off the darn elevator, I would much rather walk up the stairs, then go in an elevator. Sounds like a very cool movie, I haven't seen any foreign movies yet, but this one sounds quite good.

Classic Maiden said...

So very glad you saw this film, as it's one of my all time favourite films.

I love when Florence (Jeanne Moreau) is walking around the streets of Paris which has such an effective brooding atmosphere, as well as the noir elements, the suspenseful and brilliant labyrinth-like story to the amazing music by Miles Davis.

It's definitely a film that stays with you!

Cullen Gallagher said...

Glad you like this one - a long time favorite of mine, as well. I have a beautiful 27x41 poster of the image you posted on the wall in my room. Got it when Film Forum showed a new 35mm restoration a few years back.

Tom said...

Oooh. I want a copy of this poster too!! And want to see this film!