The brilliance of Miles Davis's "live score" for the 1958 film Elevator To The Gallows

In commemorating Miles Davis's birthday on May 26, 1926, Reconsidering Cinema posted this stacked split-screen video of Davis scoring Elevator To The Gallows to Twitter.

The "Elevator To The Gallows (1958) score was composed and performed by Miles Davis in a one-session recording while he watched a screening of the film. He took notes while watching the rough cut and then invited 4 fellow musicians without preparation to record it in one go. Genius." For a slightly longer video without the stacked screen, click here.

In French with English subtitles, Elevator To The Gallows featured "Blonde-tressed Jeanne Moreau and ex-paratrooper lover Maurice Ronet scheme to murder her husband by faking a suicide, but a forgotten rope, a leather-jacketed young punk car thief (Georges Poujouly, the boy of Clément's FORBIDDEN GAMES), and a malfunctioning ascenseur conspire to complicate their plans, and then flics Lino Ventura and Charles Denner turn up the heat."

The name of the film itself is a contested topic. As reported in The New European, "Nobody's even sure what to call it. In French, it's Ascenseur pour l'échafaud, which translates as Lift to the Scaffold. That then translates into Elevator to the Gallows in America. But on its original US release, the film was called Frantic, to which title Roman Polanski paid homage in his 1988 Paris thriller, starring Harrison Ford and Emmanuelle Seigner.

For a deeper dive into the story behind the "live-score" and the "Co-opting [of] a black American music idiom to accompany French film, check out "The enduring legacy of Miles Davis's coolest mood music" by Jason Solomons.