Skip to content
Eye Logo link to homepageEye Film Museum Logo, link to homepage
Eye on Sound: Ascenseur pour l'echafaud (1958) (soundwave)

Ascenseur pour l'échafaud

Louis Malle / FR, 1958 / 88 min.

Miles Davis’ muted trumpet, Jeanne Moreau’s untroubled face: if jazz and film noir coalesced anywhere it is in Ascenseur pour l’échafaud. Davis created an iconic soundtrack for Louis Malle, and the latter helped Miles enter his next phase.

poster Ascenseur pour l'echafaud (Louis Malle, FR 1958)

Jeanne Moreau plays Florence, disillusioned war veteran Julien’s 'maîtresse'. He works for her husband, an arms dealer. The characters’ lives enter a maelstrom when Julien, incited by Florence, uses a revolver to kill his boss.

Ascenseur pour l’échafaud, a combination of film noir and nouvelle vague, marked a break with the French cinematic tradition of the 1950s. Moreau’s unadorned appearance, the night-time shots of Paris made using extra sensitive film and the soundtrack (jazz had hardly been used in film) were the opposite of the manicured aesthetics of French studio productions.

On October 1 composer / saxophonist Adam Claussen will give an introduction.


This movie contains scenes of violencePersons under 12 years must be accompanied by an adult


Louis Malle

Production year




Original title

Ascenseur pour l'échafaud


88 min.







Part of

All That Jazz

All That Jazz: a scintillating programme on jazz and film featuring classics, live performances and a focus on exceptional avant-garde and activist filmmakers with a passion for jazz. From Miles Davis to Vincent de Boer, from Sun Ra to Ornette Coleman.

Learn more
campaign image All That Jazz
still Ascenseur pour l'echafaud (Louis Malle, FR 1958)
still Ascenseur pour l'echafaud (Louis Malle, FR 1958)
Planning on having a drink or a bite to eat? Book online for Eye Bar Restaurant.
Share your love for film and become a member of the Eye Society.

Current exhibition

  • 20 January — 20 May 2024

    Paravel & Castaing-Taylor

    Cosmic Realism

Films, talks & events

Show everything

for anytime

in all languages

Sort by