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The Phantom Carriage (World of Discovery (Norvik Press))

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The Phantom Carriage (World of Discovery (Norvik Press)) Paperback – Import, January 1, 2011

  • Print length 124 pages
  • Language English
  • Publisher Dufour Editions
  • Publication date January 1, 2011
  • Dimensions 5.06 x 0.26 x 7.81 inches
  • ISBN-10 1870041917
  • ISBN-13 978-1870041911
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  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Dufour Editions (January 1, 2011)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 124 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1870041917
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1870041911
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 4.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.06 x 0.26 x 7.81 inches
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Selma lagerlöf.

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Norvik Press

The Phantom Carriage

Author: Selma Lagerlöf Translator: Peter Graves Editor: Helena Forsås-Scott ISBN-13: 9781870041911 Pages: 124 Published: 2011 Series: B No. 50 Paperback

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Written in 1912, Selma Lagerlöf’s  The Phantom Carriage  is a powerful combination of ghost story and social realism, partly played out among the slums and partly in the transitional sphere between life and death. The vengeful and alcoholic David Holm is led to atonement and salvation by the love of a dying Salvation Army slum sister under the guidance of the driver of the death-cart that gathers in the souls of the dying poor. Inspired by Charles Dickens’  A Christmas Carol ,  The Phantom Carriage  remained one of Lagerlöf’s own favourites, and Victor Sjöström’s 1920 film version of the story is one of the greatest achievements of the Swedish silent cinema.

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the phantom carriage book

The Phantom Carriage

– August Strindberg, A Dream Play (1901)

When Ingmar Bergman wanted to recreate the late 19th century youth of Isaac Borg in Smultronstället ( Wild Strawberries , 1957), he turned for inspiration to Sweden’s most famous artist, Carl Larsson (1) . In a series of picture books with titles such as Ett hem ( Our Home , 1899), Spadarfvet, mitt lilla landtbruk ( Spadarfvet, Our Place in the Country , 1906) and Åt solsidan ( On the Sunny Side , 1910), Larsson portrayed family life in cosy farmhouse interiors and brightly lit rural idylls. This idealism was hard won, and Larsson’s youth, like that of Victor Sjöström, who plays Borg, was marked by rupture and poverty, and dominated by an abusive father (2) . This was a background to some extent shared by Selma Lagerlöf, author of the novel Körkarlen (3) – the source of Sjöström’s adaptation – and Larsson sketched at least two portraits of the writer, in 1902 and 1908 (4) . But the most striking of Larsson’s works, and one uncannily predicting the special effects for which Körkarlen ( The Phantom Carriage ) is famous, is “The Home’s Good Fairy” (1909), in which a benevolent ghost hovers in a bedroom like a double exposure (5) . Sjöström and his legendary cameraman Julius Jaenzon (credited here under his pseudonym “J. Julius”) used double exposures in The Phantom Carriage to create the illusion of two worlds – one natural, the other supernatural – in the same space (6) .

Sjöström was not the first major Swedish artist to evoke the spirit world through photography. August Strindberg, as well as creating modern drama (7) and pioneering many of the concerns and methods of 20th century avant-garde painting, experimented with photography throughout his life, even inventing the “Celestograph”, an image taken without a lens (which Strindberg thought distorted and subverted reality), with sensitised photographic plates turned to the sky and left to expose; and the lensless Wunderkamera , a camera that enabled him to take “psychological portraits” endowed with “mystic meaning” or “visionary suggestion” (8) .

Of course, Sjöström and Jaenzon’s experiments were primarily a response to Lagerlöf’s 1912 novel. The Phantom Carriage is remarkably faithful to its source, and the double exposures and other effects can be seen as at once:

1. A visual correlative to the literary narrative’s interpenetration of physical and supernatural worlds or states, where material actions, settings and objects are spiritually freighted (9) ;

2. An equivalent of the narrative’s recessive structure of stories and flashbacks, all controlled by Georges (Tore Svennberg), Death’s driver (10) ; tellingly, the carriage itself is introduced in a story within a flashback. In other Lagerlöf books, storytelling seems to be linked to the resurrection of the dead and moral regeneration (11) ; and

3. Marking the film world’s threshold points: the narrative begins with the Salvation Army’s Sister Edith [Astrid Holm] at “death’s door”, the first of many doors that physically, psychologically and spiritually block characters; while most of the first hour is set in a graveyard, that liminal space where the living bury their dead.

Although the novel, like much of Lagerlöf’s work, takes its cue from Swedish folklore and superstition (12) , its theme is festively Christian. It is the tale of a misanthrope who appears to die on New Year’s Eve and is shown the lives he has ruined by an emissary of Death, before being given a chance to redeem himself, and is essentially a variation on Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol (1843). The film seems to endorse such sentiments by ending with David Holm (Sjöström) repeating Georges’ prayer for mankind: “Lord, please let my soul come to maturity before it is reaped”; the title of the book’s 1921 tie-in English translation, Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness! , further emphasises this exhortatory didacticism (13) .

The film’s Christianity, however, is more Hitchcock than Dickens. Four decades before Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol identified “exchange”, in particular the “transfer of guilt”, as the English master’s preeminent theme (14) , Sjöström was elaborating on its possibilities (15) . Although David Holm is clearly conceived as the narrative’s sinner, his actions and fate are part of a roundelay of guilt, blame and punishment. His destiny is intimately bound up with that of saintly Edith – their narratives are intercut in the first “chapter”; each can see Death; they are defined throughout by being prone (Edith is on her deathbed; Holm is repeatedly tempted, for good and ill, when lying down, an image of his death-in-life, his lost humanity); and both destroy Mrs Holm’s well-being. The consequences of Holm’s moral failures physically manifest as consumption and are transmitted to Edith when she repairs his germ-ridden coat. But Edith is not as innocent as she seems; she subsumes her physical attraction to Holm into an obsession with saving his soul, with disastrous results for everyone.

Another system of transference originates with Georges, the smooth-talking, pointy-bearded Mephistopheles who tempts Holm from his contented family life (16) – one significantly rooted in work and nature – to a dissolute urban existence which, paradoxically for a fantasy film, returns Sjöström, after the romantic pantheism (17) of the films that brought him global fame ( Terje Vigen [ A Man There Was , 1917] and Berg-Ejvind och hans hustru [ The Outlaw and His Wife , 1918]), to the unblinking social-realism of Ingeborg Holm (1913). That film’s title character was performed by Hilda Borgström, who here plays Holm’s wife – on one level, The Phantom Carriage imagines what might have changed for the luckless Ingeborg if her husband had lived; Sjöström bleakly suggests: not much. For all its brilliant and evocative use of double exposure, the most moving piece of technical “trickery” in The Phantom Carriage is a dissolve that turns a family picnic in a lakeside glade into a drunken orgy. This triad of inebriates will be repeated in a tavern, with Holm taking over Georges’ role as tempter, just as he must replace him as Death’s driver.

From Blodets Röst ( The Voice of Passion , 1913) (18) to his last, underrated film, Under the Red Robe (1937) , Sjöström’s work has frequently dramatised themes of declining fortune and the redemption of “bad” or hardened men, and The Phantom Carriage fits neatly into this pattern. But another reading is possible: the film’s systems of transference, repetition, parallelism and circularity; its course of moral and physical infection that spreads to every character; its world where the family is a site of violence, disease and threat, are most chillingly emblematised when Holm hatchets down the kitchen door to stop his brutalised wife from fleeing him. The power of this inexorable scene overshadows the narrative’s final reconciliation and redemption, and Holm’s second resurrection in the world we’ve been shown is serial, without end.

Körkarlen / The Phantom Carriage (1921 Sweden 103 mins)

Prod Co: Svensk Filmindustri Dir: Victor Sjöström Scr: Victor Sjöström, based on the novel by Selma Lagerlöf Phot: J. Julius [Julius Jaenzon]

Cast: Victor Sjöström, Hilda Borgström, Tore Svennberg, Astrid Holm, Concordia Selander, Lisa Lundholm

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The Phantom Carriage

The Phantom Carriage (1921)

On New Year's Eve, the driver of a ghostly carriage forces a drunken man to reflect on his selfish, wasted life. On New Year's Eve, the driver of a ghostly carriage forces a drunken man to reflect on his selfish, wasted life. On New Year's Eve, the driver of a ghostly carriage forces a drunken man to reflect on his selfish, wasted life.

  • Victor Sjöström
  • Selma Lagerlöf
  • Hilda Borgström
  • Tore Svennberg
  • 101 User reviews
  • 93 Critic reviews

The Phantom Carriage: The Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

  • Edit's Mother

Lisa Lundholm

  • David's Brother

Nils Aréhn

  • Prison Chaplain
  • David's Companion
  • Worker's Wife

John Ekman

  • Police Constable

Edvin Adolphson

  • Man at the Inn
  • (uncredited)

Elof Ahrle

  • Tuberculosis Patient
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  • Trivia Ingmar Bergman watched this film at least once every summer, either alone or in the company of younger people. He also stated that this film, to him, was once "the film of all films", and that it was a main influence on his own work.

[last lines]

Mrs. Holm : I can't help crying too. I won't be truly happy until all my sorrow is drained.

David Holm : Lord, please let my soul come to maturity before it is reaped.

  • Connections Featured in Ved den danske films vugge (1941)

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  • Dec 19, 2002
  • How long is The Phantom Carriage? Powered by Alexa
  • June 4, 1922 (United States)
  • Svensk Filmindustri, Filmstaden, Råsunda, Stockholms län, Sweden (Studio)
  • Svensk Filmindustri (SF)
  • See more company credits at IMDbPro

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  • Runtime 1 hour 47 minutes

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The Phantom Carriage by Peter Graves, Selma Lagerlöf

'Written in 1912, Selma Lagerlof's The Phantom Carriage is a powerful combination of ghost story and social realism, partly played out among the slums and partly in the transitional sphere between life and death. The vengeful and alcoholic David H...

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Reviewing the Classics: The Phantom Carriage

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  • August 3, 2017

the phantom carriage book

Catching The Phantom Carriage at the Dryden Theatre

Recently I had the pleasure of viewing a silent horror film from 1921 titled The Phantom Carriage , a superbly eerie, creepy and emotional film from Swedish director, actor and screenwriter Victor Sjöström.

Phantom Carriage

To start with, the intro given before the film began was wonderful. The Dryden has someone introduce and give a little back story before all the films they screen, and they are always informative and entertaining. I unfortunately didn’t catch the name of the man who gave the introduction, but he was extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the film, though he did contest The Phantom Carriage ’s status as a horror film (which I’ll get back to), and gave a five star piano accompaniment throughout the entirety of the film.

We learned in the introduction that this was a newly restored print of The Phantom Carriage , and this was its first time being played. It was absolutely gorgeous. To add to this, the audience was great.

Phantom Carriage

One of my gripes about going to see a silent film in theaters is that many times people tend to snigger and guffaw at the over-emotive acting and facial expressions/actions of the actors in the film, even when they’re not meant to be comical. However, this audience was, for the most part, quite respectful. At the pivotal point in the film where Victor Sjöström’s character is on his knees, by the bedside of the woman who’s dying because of his cruel actions in life, an anguished look painted across his face, the tense silence in the audience was delicious.

The subtitles and projection of the print were also top notch and added to a perfect viewing experience of a beautiful film. That is, a beautiful horror film.

Phantom Carriage

I can see where the man who gave the informative introduction and masterful piano accompaniment wouldn’t consider The Phantom Carriage a horror film. It’s not overly scary now, for one thing (although I have no doubt it creeped people out when it first premiered in 1921), and it’s not all chills and thrills (though it should be noted that there are quite a few scenes in The Phantom Carriage that mirror scenes in Stanley Kubrick’s film adaption of Stephen King’s book The Shining ).

But the fact that the film deals with death in such an evocative and arguably scary manner through the use of imagery, set design, special effects, lighting, and the lens of the supernatural cautionary tale (think A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens), I feel alone warrants its status as a horror film.

Phantom Carriage

An example of a book that I feel is much in the same “mystical” vein of horror as The Phantom Carriage would be Toni Morrison’s seminal book Beloved . Like Victor Sjöström’s The Phantom Carriage, Toni Morrison’s book Beloved deals with not only ghosts and the supernatural but death, poverty, and revenge (as well as racism).

Toni Morrison’s book demonstrates how theses metaphysical and physical horrors combined can erode at the soul, mind and body of a person, and his or her family and friends, much like they did to David Holm and all of those in his life.

It’s not only the presence of the supernatural that makes The Phantom Carriage a horror film any more than it’s only the presence of the supernatural that makes Beloved a horror novel. It’s the presence of death, poverty and revenge, real life natural horrors brought into physical form by the supernatural in both of these works that earns them the horror status.

Dryden Theater

To end with, I had wonderful time. The Dryden Theatre is a treasure who every film fan, regardless of genre preference, should make a pilgrimage to. I can’t wait to return to see Eraserhead , David Lynch’s first feature film, on Thursday, August 10 and David Lynch: The Art Life , a documentary on David Lynch and his work on Friday, August 11.

Look for reviews of both films and their screenings on this Morbidly Beautiful website and on the YouTube channel I share with my co-film reviewer Josh Blodgett. We did a video review of The Phantom Carriage which can be viewed on our channel Psychic Celluloid Signals .

A special thanks to the Dryden for allowing us to review this classic film.

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Reviewing the Classics: The Cat and the Canary

George Eastman Museum wrote:

Fantastic review! Thank you for coming out to the Dryden Theatre and sharing your experience. We will be sharing on our social media today, and tagging you. See you again soon!

on September 18, 2017 at 12:17 pm Reviewing the Classics: A Clockwork Orange — Morbidly Beautiful

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100 Years Later: ‘The Phantom Carriage’ Is Still the Greatest New Year’s Movie

On New Year’s Day 1921, the world of cinema changed forever.

That was the day that “The Phantom Carriage,” one of the great masterworks of the silent era, was released. Now, exactly 100 years later, the film continues to transfix viewers through its sheer artistry and thought-provoking, life-affirming story.

The movie, directed by pioneering Swedish filmmaker Victor Sjöström, broke new ground on several cinematic fronts. In terms of visual effects, Sjöström made innovative use of double exposure, lap dissolves and cross-cutting. He also experimented with narrative form, framing an intricate series of flashbacks within flashbacks around a central moment in time.

That moment happens to be New Year’s Eve night (it was no coincidence that “The Phantom Carriage” was released on the first day of the year). Its story centers on an old Swedish legend, in which the last person to die before the stroke of midnight is doomed to drive Death’s chariot, collecting souls for the next year.

The film’s central character is David Holm, a violent alcoholic afflicted with tuberculosis, played with an affecting emotional range (and intensity) by Sjöström himself. As the new year approaches, David is sitting in a graveyard, sharing the ghastly story of the Phantom Carriage with two drinking buddies. 

Meanwhile, a Salvation Army nun named Edit (Astrid Holm) is on her deathbed across town. Her last wish is to speak with David. The reason is not yet clear but will crystallize over the course of the film.

Soon, a fight breaks out in the graveyard, leaving David with a broken bottle across the skull just as the clock strikes 12. Naturally, Death’s carriage makes its unforgettable, otherworldly appearance. The driver, David’s recently deceased friend Georges (Tore Svennberg), beckons David to take the reins, but not before looking back on his wasted life.

From there, a cautionary tale of Dickensian dimensions unfolds. Sjöström flings us back and forth through a series of pivotal moments in David’s life, from his once-happy marriage with his wife Anna (Hilda Borgström) to his ruination from drink and initial encounters with Edit. Through it all, Sjöström creatively employs color tinting and other visual effects to suggest the emotional register of each scene.

Back in the present day (or, rather, night), Georges’ ghostly Grim Reaper and David’s disembodied spirit drift through the screen in groundbreaking double-exposure shots, bearing witness to the pain that David has wrought on Edit, Anna and others.

From our pandemic-stricken vantage point of 2021, it’s worth noting the ever-present threat of tuberculosis throughout “The Phantom Carriage.” David’s disease rears its head several times in the film — most notably, when, at the lowest points in his life, he intentionally coughs on others to infect them.

As for its flashback-structured story, “The Phantom Carriage” conjures up associations to Charles Dickens’ hugely influential “A Christmas Carol,” as well as other subsequent movies, such as “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Still, Sjöström’s film feels wholly original, even 100 years later. Without spoiling the ending too much, let’s just say the movie avoids predictable sentimentality, instead opting for a transcendent, soul-shattering climax.

Now, one full century removed from its premiere in 1921, it’s safe to say “The Phantom Carriage” has endured as one of cinema’s greatest achievements. Its influence can never be overstated, having inspired such legendary filmmakers as Ingmar Bergman and Stanley Kubrick. 

Most importantly, the film’s emotional impact has not diminished a bit in the past 100 years. If anything, its beauty has only deepened, proving to be a timeworn yet timeless tale of new beginnings, new life and, yes, new years.

“The Phantom Carriage” is currently available to stream on the Criterion Channel. It is also available to buy on Blu-ray and DVD from the Criterion Collection.

— Clinton Olsasky

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‘The Phantom Carriage’ is a Haunting Tale of Redemption

Jeremiah

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I often say time is a film’s best friend and worst enemy. Victor Sjostrom’s 1921  The Phantom Carriage  perfectly exemplifies this paradox .  Upon its release, Charlie Chaplin cited the film as “The best film ever made,” calling Sjostrom “the greatest director in the world.”

Yet, here we are in 2023, and it’s a largely forgotten film, partially because silent films are rarely discussed. It is a pity, considering the wealth of talent, ingenuity, imagination, and emotion from that era. But Chaplin isn’t wrong in touting the towering achievement of  The Phantom Carriage , a morality tale with a complex structure and a rich psychological landscape. With its eerie mood and deft emotional intelligence, Sjostrom tells a breathtaking story of death, love, and redemption.

phantom carriage

Sjostrom’s script is an adaptation of Swedish author Selma Lagerlof’s “Korkarlen.” The book and films are inspired by an old Brittany folk legend that says the last person to die before the new year is doomed to drive Death’s carriage. Through Sjostrom’s sensitive rendering of the tale, this simple notion contains a multitude of implications.

Unlike most adaptations of the time, Sjostrom’s title cards contain minimal exposition. Often, silent adaptations would have swaths of the author’s prose in the title cards, but in  The Phantom Carriage , he uses little to no excerpts from the book. Most of the title cards are essential dialogue, making  The Phantom Carriage possibly  a challenging watch. Yet, Sjostrom uses his actors as a vessel for the passages from the book, using the description and exposition not for the audience but as direction for his actors in a way that, while challenging, is no less easy to follow.

A lesser film would have told the story of David Holm, played by Sjostrom, linearly. But it’s how Sjostrom structures the film that makes it so effective. 

We don’t see David happy and productive as his life rapidly deteriorates because of drink. Instead, Sjostrom plunges us at the end and zig-zags through time to give us the full scope of the man. We flash back and forth for narrative reasons and because seeing David at his worst brings the glances of David at his best into sharp, agonizing focus. 

Sjostrom gives us visual clues and helps us by tinting scenes for night and day. He and editor Eugen Hellman help us from getting lost by ensuring that the past, present, or future we cut to takes place during the opposite time of day. This means we go from a scene during the day to a scene at night, letting us know we’ve moved to a different period as the movie weaves through time. 

A prime example is how Sjostrom, Hellman, and Julius Jaenzon’s camera explain the story of Death’s carriage: David and his drinking buddies find themselves in a cemetery at night, the town clock nearing midnight. The scene is at night, tinted in a morse foreboding blue. David sees the time and tells his friends about the fable of Death’s carriage told him by an old drinking buddy, Georges (Tore Svennberg). 

The film then cuts to a boarding house, tinted in sepia tone, but with shadows in the background indicating it’s a night in the past where we see David in the early stages of his alcoholism with Georges as they drink and play cards. Soon, the men get into a fight. Georges breaks up the fight and tells them the story about the driver of Death’s carriage. 

Sjostrom then cuts back to the cemetery. Where the three men get into a fight and accidentally kill David. Death’s carriage arrives, driven by Georges.

The stark coloring of the film tells us we have traversed timelines. The way Sjostrom and Jaenzon light the scenes and how Sjostrom and Hellman cut them together makes the parallels evident. Sjostrom achieves this by shooting night-for-night, meaning he shoots outside, working with Jaenzon to create adequate lighting set-ups. In addition, the duo lit interior scenes that took place at night by using a spotlight as a light source to give the allusion of lamp light.

phantom carriage

These little tricks help visually cue the audience to where and when we are in the complex structure. A structure that begins with Sister Edit (Astrid Holm) of the Salvation Army on her deathbed asking for David and ends with him on his knees begging for mercy from Georges at her deathbed. Sister Edit’s death is the throughline of  The Phantom Carriage.  The story ties the story together as she and David’s fates are irrevocably tied.   

The Phantom Carriage  explores Sister Edit’s unrequited love of the brutish David parallel with his wife Anna’s (Hilda Borgstrom) terror and disgust at him. Sister Edit is David’s salvation and is unwittingly responsible for Anna’s troubles.

The tale of David Holm is of an alcoholic suffering from tuberculosis. The character of David Holm is one of the biggest pricks in all of cinema. He is a hard-hearted man who is searching the countryside for his wife, who abandoned him while in prison, hellbent on revenge. Sjostrom plays David, seething with hatred for the world around him and himself.

Imprisoned for getting into a drunken brawl, he discovers that his brother, played by Einar Axelson, got drunk and killed a man. He feels remorse for this and his brother until he returns home to find his wife has left him and taken the kids and is thrown into a rage. Throughout  The Phantom Carriage,  David brags about consciously coughing into people’s faces, not caring if they get sick, eventually threatening to cough in the face of his children.

All of this is shown to us by Georges as he tells David he is now doomed to drive Death’s carriage for the following year. Sjostrom uses double exposure in one of the earliest representations of death onscreen, showing us a shabby carriage pulled by the skeletal remains of two long-dead steeds. 

It is a haunting image, with the driver in a hooded cloak, their face hidden, as they collect corpses. Double exposure requires filming a scene with part of it blacked out, often using black curtains or objects, keeping portions of the frame from being exposed. Then, the film is re-wound to shoot a scene over the un-exposed portions to give a ghostly appearance.

We see Death claim the spirits of drowning victims of people who have committed suicide, all with the same stone-faced expression. All death is tragic, and the driver of Death’s carriage does not pass judgment as he goes about his duty. But that’s just the setting.

Technical mastery aside, it’s how Sjostrom and Hellman cut together scenes to allow the actors to give fleshed-out performances. Acting in silent films is often thought of as unrealistic and overly dramatic. In some cases, yes, but watching  The Phantom Carriage,  you begin to see how an actor’s face can tell you more than words and exposition can ever hope to capture. 

The look of rage on Borgstrom’s Anna’s face as she sees Edit on her deathbed, responsible for helping David find her again, sends a chill down the spine. Her hands stretched as she fights the urge to strangle the woman. 

Sjostrom expertly relays all the visual information not because of the complex structure but because of the complex relationships. The way every character seems less a character than a whirlwind of conflicting emotions makes them all the more alive and timeless. But he also understands how best to use a camera to frame an actor and get the best from them.

phantom carriage

Sister Edit’s look of lust at the rumpled David, the pitiful sorrow on David’s face as he realizes his wife doesn’t believe he’s repented and has reasonable cause to, the mournful look of surprise on Georges’ face when he sees David’s spirit in the cemetery, all are the embodiment of the purpose of cinema-to capture truth in the human face,

Sjostrom’s script is filled with allegory and sidesteps symbolism. Lagerlof’s story might be one of alcoholism, but Sjostrom uses tuberculosis less as a disease and more as a way to show a broken individual. The characters who contract tuberculosis in  The Phantom Carriage  are souls marred and hardened by the world bent on spreading as much pain as possible. He effectively uses the disease to show how hatred can breed and spread, damning all it touches.

This is why the scene where drunk David threatens to cough in his sleeping child’s face feels so violent, both literally and metaphorically. It is the cycle of abuse. The act makes David’s redemption feel so doubtful, as Sjostrom has shown us a truly heinous act from a man whom it is impossible to tell whom he hates more, the world or himself. 

But Sjostrom isn’t interested in easy platitudes. Yes, David inevitably repents, but the scene in which he does so is heartbreaking because Borgstrom’s Anna is so reluctant to believe him, and that trepidation is the final realization for David of how much pain he has caused. The scene feels ripped from a nightmare of the soul. 

The way Sjostrom and Jaenzon so effortlessly capture this exchange through looks instead of a title card shows a mastery worthy of Chaplin’s praise. Hellman’s cuts keep the scene taut, clutching us by the lapels and forcing us to watch. 

Sjostrom’s technical achievements are easy to miss because they are so subtle. He has such a precise understanding of visually telling a story that he can break the foundational rules of cinema. Even rules that he himself mastered, such as the one-eighty rule, a sacred rule of filmmaking wherein actors in the same scene have the same left/right relationship with each other. 

The hard and fast rule is vital to much of cinema, especially silent cinema. For even as Sjostrom violates this rule, we are never lost, proving that as crucial as the rule may be, breaking it does not inherently mean bad filmmaking. Often quite the contrary, consistency is the hobgoblins of little minds and all that. 

The Phantom Carriage  never feels its age. Sjostrom’s morality tale is more humanistic than pious, as he mines the heartbreak of existence. 

Images courtesy of AB Svensk Filmindustri

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Jeremiah

Jeremiah lives in Los Angeles and divides his time between living in a movie theatre and writing mysteries. There might also be some ghostbusting being performed in his spare time.

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The Phantom Carriage

1921, Horror, 1h 33m

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The phantom carriage   photos.

On New Year's Eve, the driver of a ghostly carriage forces a drunken man (Victor Sjöström) to look back at his wasted life.

Genre: Horror

Director: Victor Sjöström

Producer: Charles Magnusson

Writer: Victor Sjöström

Release Date (Streaming): Oct 31, 2016

Runtime: 1h 33m

Production Co: Svensk Filmindustri

Cast & Crew

Victor Sjöström

Hilda Borgström

Tore Svennberg

Astrid Holm

Concordia Selander

Edit's Mother

Lisa Lundholm

Tor Weijden

Einar Axelsson

David's Brother

Prison Chaplain

Simon Linstrand

David's Companion

Nils Elffors

Algot Gunnarsson

Hildur Lithman

Worker's wife

Police constable

Screenwriter

Charles Magnusson

Julius Jaenzon

Cinematographer

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The Phantom Carriage (1921) [Colorized, 4K, 60FPS]

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COMMENTS

  1. The Phantom Carriage

    The Phantom Carriage ( Swedish: Körkarlen, literally "The Wagoner") is a 1921 Swedish silent film directed by and starring Victor Sjöström, based on the 1912 novel Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness! ( Körkarlen) by Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf.

  2. The Phantom Carriage (World of Discovery (Norvik Press))

    'Written in 1912, Selma Lagerlöf's The Phantom Carriage is a powerful combination of ghost story and social realism, partly played out among the slums and partly in the transitional sphere between life and death.

  3. The Phantom Carriage (World of Discovery

    Relationen till andra (romantisk kärlek, vänskap och familjeband) har ett drag av helande kraft i denna berättelse (som inbland blir lite övertydlig för min smak).Men en genuint berörande bok med stråk av magi där karaktärerna känns levande och som har komplexa, starka kvinnor och (lika komplexa och starka) men förödande män och som tar fasta på...

  4. The Phantom Carriage : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet

    (From Wikipedia) The Phantom Carriage (Swedish: Körkarlen) is a 1921 Swedish romantic horror film, generally considered to be one of the central works in the history of Swedish cinema. it was directed by and starred Victor Sjöström,

  5. The Phantom Carriage by Selma Lagerlof, Paperback

    Books Add to Wishlist The Phantom Carriage by Selma Lagerlof, Peter Graves (Translator) Write a review Paperback $17.99 SHIP THIS ITEM Qualifies for Free Shipping Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Monday, December 4 Instant Purchase PICK UP IN STORE Check Availability at Nearby Stores Available within 2 business hours Overview

  6. The Phantom Carriage

    Written in 1912, Selma Lagerlöf's The Phantom Carriage is a powerful combination of ghost story and social realism, partly played out among the slums and partly in the transitional sphere between life and death.The vengeful and alcoholic David Holm is led to atonement and salvation by the love of a dying Salvation Army slum sister under the guidance of the driver of the death-cart that ...

  7. The Phantom Carriage (World of Discovery (Norvik Press ...

    The Phantom Carriage (World of Discovery (Norvik Press)) by Selma Lagerlöf; Peter Graves - ISBN 10: 1870041917 - ISBN 13: 9781870041911 - Dufour Editions - 2011 - Softcover ... Book Description Trade Paperback. Condition: New. NEW AND UNUSED BUT POSSIBLY SLIGHTLY SHELF-WORN.

  8. The Phantom Carriage (1921)

    The last person to die on New Year's Eve before the clock strikes twelve is doomed to take the reins of Death's chariot and work tirelessly collecting fresh souls for the next year. So says the legend that drives The Phantom Carriage (Körkarlen), directed by the father of Swedish cinema, Victor Sjöström. The story, based on a novel by Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf, concerns an ...

  9. The Phantom Carriage a book by Selma Lagerlof and Peter Graves

    'Written in 1912, Selma Lagerlöf's The Phantom Carriage is a powerful combination of ghost story and social realism, partly played out among the slums and partly in the transitional sphere between life and death. The vengeful and alcoholic David Holm is led to atonement and salvation by the love of a dying Salvation Army slum sister under the guidance of the driver of the death-cart that ...

  10. The Phantom Carriage by Selma Lagerlof, Peter Graves (Translator

    Buy The Phantom Carriage by Selma Lagerlof, Peter Graves (Translator) online at Alibris. We have new and used copies available, in 1 editions - starting at $14.29. Shop now. Skip to main content Weekend Sale | Save $10. Get the code » Alibris for Libraries Sell at Alibris Textbooks Popular Subjects > Accounting Agriculture Anthropology

  11. The Phantom Carriage

    The Phantom Carriage. Lawyer: "Those are life's little difficulties, you see!". When Ingmar Bergman wanted to recreate the late 19th century youth of Isaac Borg in Smultronstället ( Wild Strawberries, 1957), he turned for inspiration to Sweden's most famous artist, Carl Larsson (1). In a series of picture books with titles such as Ett ...

  12. The Phantom Carriage (1921)

    48 Photos Drama Fantasy Horror On New Year's Eve, the driver of a ghostly carriage forces a drunken man to reflect on his selfish, wasted life. Director Victor Sjöström Writers Selma Lagerlöf Victor Sjöström Stars Victor Sjöström Hilda Borgström Tore Svennberg See production info at IMDbPro RENT/BUY search Amazon Add to Watchlist

  13. The Phantom Carriage by Peter Graves, Selma Lagerlöf

    The Phantom Carriage Peter Graves, Selma Lagerlöf. 122 pages • first pub 2011 ISBN/UID: None. Format: Not specified. Language: English. Publisher: Not ... read. currently reading. did not finish. Toggle book page action menu and links. add to "up next" mark as owned. buy.

  14. Reviewing the Classics: The Phantom Carriage

    An example of a book that I feel is much in the same "mystical" vein of horror as The Phantom Carriage would be Toni Morrison's seminal book Beloved. Like Victor Sjöström's The Phantom Carriage, Toni Morrison's book Beloved deals with not only ghosts and the supernatural but death, poverty, and revenge (as well as racism).

  15. 100 Years Later: 'The Phantom Carriage' Is Still the Greatest New Year

    1921 2021 New Year's New Year's movie The Phantom Carriage Victor Sjostrom. On New Year's Day 1921, The Phantom Carriage, one of the great masterworks of the silent era, was released. Now, exactly 100 years later, the film continues to transfix viewers through its sheer artistry and thought-provoking, life-affirming story.

  16. 'The Phantom Carriage' is a Haunting Tale of Redemption

    November 30, 2023 I often say time is a film's best friend and worst enemy. Victor Sjostrom's 1921 The Phantom Carriage perfectly exemplifies this paradox . Upon its release, Charlie Chaplin cited the film as "The best film ever made," calling Sjostrom "the greatest director in the world."

  17. Phantom Forms: The Phantom Carriage

    The Phantom Carriage (1921), based on Körkarlen, a novel by the 1909 Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf, is Sjöström's most famous film. Körkarlen means "the driver" or "the coachman.". The film was also known as The Stroke of Midnight in the U.S., and Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness in the UK.

  18. "The Phantom Carriage" (1921) director Victor Sjöström (Seastrom)

    "The Phantom Carriage" is a critically acclaimed drama, featuring director Victor Seastrom, a star of Silent Hall of Fame. Victor Seastrom is both the leading star of the film and its director. He was successful in his native Sweden before making a career in the USA in 1924-1930. A mean-spirited alcoholic drives his wife and little children away.

  19. The Phantom Carriage

    Director: Victor Sjöström Producer: Charles Magnusson Writer: Victor Sjöström Release Date (Streaming): Oct 31, 2016 Runtime: 1h 33m Production Co: Svensk Filmindustri Cast & Crew Victor Sjöström...

  20. The Phantom Carriage (1921) : Victor Sjöström

    Written and Directed by Victor Sjöström Based on the novel by Selma Lagerlöf Cinematography by Julius Jaenzon Producer: Charles Magnusson Color Timer and Negative Cutter: Eugén Hellmann Art Direction by Alexander Bakó & Axel Esbensen

  21. The Phantom Carriage : Tore Svennberg : Free Download, Borrow, and

    An illustration of an open book. Books. An illustration of two cells of a film strip. Video. An illustration of an audio speaker. Audio. An illustration of a 3.5" floppy disk. ... silent-the-phantom-carriage Scanner Internet Archive Python library 1.8.3. plus-circle Add Review. comment. Reviews

  22. The Phantom Carriage : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet

    An illustration of an open book. Books. An illustration of two cells of a film strip. Video. An illustration of an audio speaker. Audio An illustration of a 3.5" floppy disk. ... the-phantom-carriage Scanner Internet Archive HTML5 Uploader 1.7.0. plus-circle Add Review. comment. Reviews There are no reviews yet.

  23. The Phantom Carriage (1921) [Colorized, 4K, 60FPS]

    The Phantom Carriage is a 1921 black and white movie film which has been colorised, upscaled to 4K, and frames per second boosted to 60 FPS in 2022 using Artificial Intelligence (A.I) and Google Colab @ https://colab.research.google.com