(aka 'Elevator to the Gallows' or 'Elevator to the Scaffold' or 'Frantic' or 'Lift to the Scaffold')

Directed by Louis Malle
France 1958


  In his mesmerizing debut, twenty-four-year-old director Louis Malle brought together the beauty of Jeanne Moreau, the camerawork of Henri Decaë, and the now legendary score by Miles Davis. A touchstone of the careers of both its star and director, Elevator to the Gallows (Ascenseur pour l'échafaud) is a richly atmospheric thriller of mistaken identity unfolding over one tense night in Paris.


Theatrical Release: January 29th, 1958

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DVD Review: Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 335 - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:31:21 
Video 1.66:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.87 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio french (Dolby Digital 1.0) 
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1

Edition Details:

• New interview with actor Jeanne Moreau (17:58)
• Archival interviews with Louis Malle (17:04), actors Maurice Ronet (4:36) and Moreau, and original soundtrack session pianist René Urtreger

• Malle and Moreau at Cannes (10:38)
• Footage of Miles Davis and Louis Malle from the soundtrack recording session
• New video program about the score with jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis and critic Gary Giddins (24:58)
• Malle's student film Crazeologie, featuring the title song by Charlie Parker (6:16)
• Theatrical trailers
• Liner notes booklet featuring essay by critic Terrence Rafferty, an interview with Louis Malle, and a tribute by film producer Vincent Malle 

DVD Release Date: April 25th, 2006

Double thick keep case
Chapters: 22




Fabulous package by Criterion. Absolutely everything about it is top notch - a great image -> super detail, fabulous contrast. Extras on the second disc are all very interesting - I especially enjoyed the new interview with Jeanne Moreau and the archival one with Malle. The Miles Davis stuff is tremendous - the short student film was... well, a student film. Overall, it misses nothing except a commentary.

Regarding the film - I was extremely impressed and rank it as a new favorite noir. Brilliantly paced with plot details revealed frugally. It follows no typical crime-film formula, but climaxes with blunt practicality.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed this - I loved every minute. This is a true Film Noir.

Gary W. Tooze


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Disc 2


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DVD Box Cover


CLICK to order from:

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 335 - Region 1 - NTSC


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Mississauga, Ontario,


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