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Louis Malle


  Male      French      Director

  Born : Oct 30, 1932  -
  Died : Nov 23, 1995


About Author

Louis Marie Malle (30 October 1932 – 23 November 1995) was a French film director, screenwriter, and producer. His film, Le Monde du silence, won the Palme d'Or and Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1956. He was also nominated multiple times for Academy Awards later in his career.

Malle worked in both French cinema and Hollywood, and he produced both French and English language films. His most famous films include the crime film Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (1958), the WW II drama Lacombe Lucien (1974), the romantic crime film Atlantic City (1980), the comedy-drama My Dinner with Andre (1981), and the autobiographical WW II film Au revoir, les enfants (1987).

Malle was born into a wealthy industrialist family in Thumeries, Nord, France, the son of Francoise (Béghin) and Pierre Malle. He initially studied political science at the Sciences-Po before turning to film studies at IDHEC instead.

He worked as the co-director and cameraman to Jacques Cousteau on the Oscar and Palme d'Or-winning (at the 1956 Academy Awards and Cannes Film Festival respectively) documentary The Silent World (1956) and assisted Robert Bresson on A Man Escaped (French title: Un condamné à mort s'est échappé ou Le vent souffle où il veut, 1956) before making his first feature, Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (released in the U.K. as Lift to the Scaffold and in the U.S. originally as Frantic, later as Elevator to the Gallows) in 1957. A taut thriller featuring an original score by Miles Davis, the film made an international film star of Jeanne Moreau, at the time a leading stage actress of the state Comédie-Française. Malle was 24 years old.

Malle's The Lovers (Les Amants, 1958), which also starred Moreau, caused major controversy due to its sexual content, leading to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case regarding the legal definition of obscenity. In Jacobellis v. Ohio, a theater owner was fined $2,500 for obscenity. The decision was eventually reversed by the higher court, which found that the film was not obscene and hence constitutionally protected. However, the court could not agree on the definition of "obscene," which caused Justice Potter Stewart to utter his "I know it when I see it" opinion, perhaps the most famous single line associated with the court...


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