CLASSIC INTERNATIONAL CINEMA:
ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS (Louis Malle)
Released January 28, 1958 in France; June 10, 1961 in the United States
starring Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet, Yori Bertin and Georges Poujouly.
Strong directorial debut from Louis Malle centers on a couple who have plotted to kill the woman's husband. The act is carried out with precision by the woman's lover. However, a loose end and a moment of panic leads to a series of events to unravel their scheme.
The central characters, Florence Carala (Jeanne Moreau) and Julien Tavernier (Maurice Ronet) find themseves separated by these events. Tavernier, having completed his deadly task, has found himself stuck in an elevator overnight while trying to retrieve an item from the scene of the crime. His lover, Florence, is wandering the streets desperately trying to find him once their arranged meeting fails to occur.
Meanwhile, a younger couple take the opportunity to steal a joyride in Tavernier's car. Flower girl Véronique (Yori Bertin) and her trouble-making boyfriend Louis (Georges Poujouly) wind up on a strange adventure of their own, when they meet a pair of German tourists. Having stolen the car, these adventures wind up piling on the deadly consequences. In the end, that one moment of panic that began it all comes full circle as the police close in on the case of not one, but two murders.
This is a fine film. Mr. Malle creates tension, and Miles Davis lends a mournful trumpet to the proceedings. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a twisty noir.
(In French, with subtitles)