Thursday, 5 April 2012
Elevator to the Gallows 
Elevator to the Gallows was a cracking and assured debut feature by Louis Malle, and a delightful concoction of American noir tropes with French sensibilities. The film has everything that a noir aficionado can crave for – extra-marital affair, coldly planned murder, unfortunate coincidences, doomed love affair, and a captivating urban milieu. The movie begins with a close-up shot of the incredibly gorgeous Florence (Jeanne Moreau) conspiring with her lover Julien (Maurice Ronet), a former paratrooper, over the payphone regarding their plot to murder her wealthy and powerful husband who, not surprisingly, happens to be Julien’s boss. Soon enough there is a zoom-out accompanied by a jazzy score, and immediately I realized that I’m in for an audio-visual treat. Julien goes on commit the most perfect murder that one can imagine. Unfortunately, he ends up making a silly oversight, and his attempt at correcting that inevitably sparks off a domino effect that can lead only to disaster for the adulterous couple. A delinquent youth and his naïve girlfriend play key roles in the incidents that unfold in this meticulously plotted film. Moreau, with her perfectly sculpted face and coldly enchanting demeanour, gave the film’s most standout performance. Despite the nihilistic theme and brutal irony, the movie felt more stylish and less fatalistic vis-à-vis its American counterparts with similar storylines like Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice. Look out for an absolutely magnificent and quietly melancholic trumpet-based background score by none other than Jazz maestro Miles Davis.
Director: Louis Malle
Genre: Thriller/Crime Thriller/Romantic Thriller/Post-Noir