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First Film by Director Louis Malle
to Screen at UW-Eau Claire Oct. 12-15

RELEASED: Oct. 5, 2006

scene from "Elevator to the Gallows"EAU CLAIRE — "Elevator to the Gallows," a richly atmospheric thriller about murder and mistaken identity that unfolds over one restless Paris night, will screen Oct. 12-15 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The first feature film by director Louis Malle, the 1950s French film noir will be presented at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Davies Theatre.

Scheming lovers Julien (Maurice Ronet) and Florence (Jeanne Moreau) engineer the perfect murder of her husband. But when Julien attempts to tie up what is literally a loose end a rope dangling from the dead man's office window he becomes trapped between floors in an elevator. With precious minutes ticking away before the police discover the victim's body, Julien desperately tries to find a way out of his predicament while Florence, believing herself abandoned, begins to wander the Paris streets. A further complication enters the story when Julien's super-cool convertible (with a pistol in the glove compartment) is stolen by a teenage delinquent and his thrill-seeking girlfriend.

"Coming at a turning point in French cinematic history, it drew upon several major talents director Louis Malle, star Jeanne Moreau, cinematographer Henri Decae, musician Miles Davis and achieved near-legendary results with all of them," wrote Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. "Made in 1957, when first-time director Malle was only 24 years old, [the film] has the brisk craftsmanship and efficiency of classic French cinema and a breathless hint of the energy of the New Wave that was but a few years away.

"It made a major film star of Moreau, whose work remains completely bewitching," Turan wrote. "It called forth from Davis an improvised jazz score that, anchored by his piercing work on the trumpet, has become iconic in its own right. And in a pristine restoration ... it showcases Decae's luminous, adventurous cinematography. It's not something you want to miss."

In French subtitled in English, the 88-minute black-and-white film is not rated.

Admission is $2 for International Film Society members and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff and $1 for UW-Eau Claire students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center, 715-836-3727, in Davies Center's east lobby and at the door.

The film is presented by the International Film Society.

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JS/NW

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