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Elevator to the Gallows (Unrated)

Re-release Date: June 24th, 2005 (NYC-Landmark Sunshine ), by Rialto Pictures.
The Cast: Jeanne Moreau,Maurice Ronet,Georges Poujouly
Directed by Louis Malle.
In French with brand-new English subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: A wife (Moreau) and her secret lover (Ronet) plan to kill her husband, but after her lover succeeds in killing him, he gets stuck in an elevator and chaos ensues.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: This black-and-white film is full of twists and turns in the intricate web that the plot weaves. It is very difficult to predict the next move of each character, especially the guy who is stuck in the elevator that has no electricity. Although it is a film that centers on a murder, it is nothing like Fargo. Instead, the murder happens in the beginning and the rest of the film is about the confusion surrounding the investigation. Also, there is no graphic violence or any scenes that are difficult to watch. It does share at least on similarity with Fargo, which is the dark comedy. Even when a character ends up in a difficult situation, like being stuck in an elevator, it can be somewhat funny in the whole scheme of things--especially when he is still stuck in the building when the elevator's power is turned back on. The music and cinematography are both exquisite and help to make the film aesthetically pleasing to watch while adding tension. The acting is superb--especially Jean Moreau who is a fine French actress who is always a pleasure to watch because of her charisma.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Ultimately, this film raises the issue of true, everlasting love. No, it fortunately not heavy on romance. But with in a subtle, quiet way it implies that true love is impermeable. The ending does feel a little bit rush and convoluted, although it does make sense in the big picture. Perhaps if there were a trial, it would have been more interesting--but that would make it predictable, which it is not.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A few scenes have white-on-white subtitles.


THE BOTTOM LINE: A timeless masterpiece with an intricate, suspenseful plot, a good use of dark comedy, and a terrific musical score.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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