From comedies to dramas to thrillers, the film industry has long embraced the idea that all good stories involve an elevator.
OK, maybe not all! But elevators have taken center stage in countless flicks, providing a unique backdrop for cinema gold.
Remember The Maltese Falcon? An elevator served as a symbolic support in the film. At the end of the movie, the double-timing Astor is seen in shadows riding an elevator — complete with bars — down to her eventual prison cell. The filmmakers likely wanted to convey the trapped feeling she was experiencing as her life took a downward turn, executed perfectly by setting the scene on an elevator.
Another dramatic and symbolic moment can be found in Drive. One of the film’s most climactic, and most famous, scenes takes place on an elevator. Ryan Gosling’s character, Driver, has been shown to be warring with himself throughout the film, trying to make a romance last despite his violent nature. The two worlds collide in one small elevator when, just after kissing his love, Driver is forced to violently take out a man who sought to kill them. The scene ends with the couple parted by the closing elevator doors, suggesting a much more permanent separation.
Elevator scenes certainly aren’t all doom and gloom. Speed opens with an iconic scene as the L.A. SWAT team tracks down an attempted bomber through the elevator shafts of a high-rise building. Heart-pounding moments ensue as officers and office workers jump, climb and ultimately escape.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier also had us on the edge of our seats as Captain America finds himself trapped in an elevator with about a dozen men; with each floor the elevator hits, the main character starts to sense the danger he’s in. The silent, cramped quality of the setting heightens the suspense, as he ultimately takes on about a dozen fighters right in the confines of the elevator.
From symbolism to settings, elevators can add a lot to cinema. As one of the leading elevator companies in NJ, we appreciate when other industries acknowledge the power of the product. Hollywood can use any backdrop across the globe for its film magic, so kudos to them for recognizing the unique role elevators can play in our lives — both on and off screen.