TCM | Doubly Dark

Jeanne Moreau as Florence Carala in Louis Malle’s “Elevator to the Gallows” (1958).

Oh, sweet TCM. So glad to finally be able to stream it thanks to SlingTV. Couldn’t stay away from the channel’s back-to-back offering of Otto Preminger’s “Angel Face” (1952) and director Louis Malle’s “Elevator to the Gallows” (1958) the other night. The former is one of my favorite noir gems (though TCM’s version looked in rough shape) starring Audrey Hepburn’s more sensual doppelganger Jean Simmons and Robert Mitchum. (As a side note: Mitchum was about the only positive experience for Simmons during shooting of the film. She was in a lawsuit with mogul Howard Hughes, who was apparently working her to death, as she also tried to fend off his advances. And to top it off, Preminger kept sadistically asking for retakes of a scene where Simmons gets slapped.) These two films are pretty dark. Just the way I like it. “Elevator to the Gallows” features four characters I can’t stand — but the scenery is accentuated by the wonderful Jeanne Moreau, above, (looking a lot like Tippi Hedren) walking in a murderous-minded, love-dazed stupor amid the elegant fragments of Miles Davis’ trumpet — which didn’t quite fit the film — but who cares really when it looks that gorgeous, right? — David D. Robbins Jr.

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