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Elevator to the Gallows Paper

Elevator to the Gallows Paper - 1 Roy Parker CTCS 201 Tom...

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Roy Parker CTCS 201 Tom Kemper 4/11/2011 Elevator Music There are many aspects of Elevator to the Gallows (1958) that make it the landmark and influential film that it is today. It started the career of legendary filmmaker Louis Malle that went off to direct such films as Les Amants (1958), My Dinner with Andre (1981), and Au revoir les enfants (1987) . It is regarded as one of the best novel-to- film adaptations, not because of its faithfulness to the source material, but because of the film’s vast improvement from the novel itself. But one of the most remarkable things of Elevator to the Gallows is its original musical score by none other than jazz legend, Miles Davis. Juxtaposed perfectly with the thriller/noir mood upon the setting of France, Davis’s score enhances the tone and enriches the emotions in the film. In the words of Louis Malle himself, It transformed the film… It was not like a lot of film music, emphasizing or tying to add to the emotion that is implicit in the images and the rest of the soundtrack. It was a counterpoint, it was elegiac – and it was somewhat detached. But also it created a certain mood for the film (Malle, French 19). Even though there is less than twenty minutes of original score in the movie, Malle is correct in saying that it the film would not be the same without it. Looking at Elevator to the Gallows without the taking the score into consideration, all that is left is a typical slow-moving French film disguising itself as a melodramatic thriller. The original Cahiers de cinéma review commented on these things calling them “lapses in style (Southern, Weissgerber 45).” But in the few carefully selected instances where Davis and Malle decided that music would be the most noteworthy (no pun intended) have taken the 1
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film and places it high in the minds of regarded filmmakers and critics. Starting with the opening scene, the audience is introduced to the two main characters instantly in the midst of a passionate exchange of words over the telephone. The exchange goes on, uninterrupted, until our male lead, Julien Tavernier (Maurice Ronet), utters the line, “I love you. Without your voice, I’d be lost in a land of silence,” to our female lead, Florence Carala (Jeanne Moreau), and she responds with, “That’s not very daring.” On her line, the drums and bass play the first notes of score. Davis’s trumpet comes in after the next exchange of dialogue, “Love isn’t daring.” “Don’t say that.” These last lines that are said over the music are said in a different manner than the one previous without any underscoring. Though the lines are still just as dramatic and
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Elevator to the Gallows Paper - 1 Roy Parker CTCS 201 Tom...

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