Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows)

Louis Malle's French new wave classic paid homage to Hollywood noir

The French "new wave" loved the Hollywood crime movies of the '40s, with their perennially wet streets, shadowy velvet cinematography, antiheroic leading men and amoral leading ladies. In 1957, Louis Malle, fresh from directing oceanographer Jacques Cousteau's startling documentary Silent World, shook the water out of his ears and made his fiction film debut with Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows). Maurice Ronet stars as a man who's trapped in an elevator as he leaves the scene of a murder. Ironically, he manages to escape undetected, only to be accused of committing another crime, leaving him with an impossible choice: Does he accept punishment for a crime he didn't commit, or admit to a murder he got away with? The jazz score by Miles Davis is a knockout, but the real discovery is Jeanne Moreau as the dead man's unfaithful wife. Malle gave her a part that lit up those rambling saunters through Paris - see the movie and you'll understand. 8:30 p.m. Domy Bookstore, 1709 Westheimer. For information, call 713-523-3669 or visit www.domystore.com. Free.
Thu., July 23, 8:30 p.m., 2009
 
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