Friday, September 11, 2009

Elevator to the Gallows

Louis Malle, 1958, France, bw (8.2*)
This was 24-yr old Louis Malle's first film after being an assistant to Jacques Cousteau. It pays perfect homage to America's best film noir, as it begins with a rather boneheaded criminal, Maurice Ronet, who carries out a well-planned 'perfect murder' of the spouse of his adulterous lover, wonderfully played by a harried yet sensual Jeanne Moreau. All goes according to plan except for one minor detail, and from then on the plot spirals into a night of anguish for all involved, which grows to even more drastic actions as the night progresses, involving more criminals and victims.

The entire film is perfectly scored by the eloquent 50's jazz of Miles Davis, which is just right for the look and ambiance of a jazz-era Paris of the night. Even though the plot may stretch a bit, the acting and journalistic look make this a timeless window into a certain era which had the classy elegance we all miss. Certainly a noir classic, and an auspicious beginning to Malle's brilliant career, which included Au Revoir, Les Enfants and Atlantic City. I prefer this to the other French noir classics I've recently seen, it seems to have more plot twists and a humorous wit that most others lack. This should be ranked on the internet survey, I can't believe it's not on some of the lists.

1 comments:

storesonline223 December 4, 2009 at 12:34 AM  

Pretty informative post and really impressive thinking.I like the presentation and your style of writing.I have bookmarked this for my friends.Keep blogging.

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.



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