8.1/10
9,458
63 user 79 critic

The Phantom Carriage (1921)

Körkarlen (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy, Horror | 4 June 1922 (USA)
Trailer
1:31 | Trailer
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
Reviews

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Häxan (1922)
Fantasy | History | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Fictionalized documentary showing the evolution of witchcraft, from its pagan roots to its confusion with hysteria in modern Europe.

Director: Benjamin Christensen
Stars: Benjamin Christensen, Elisabeth Christensen, Maren Pedersen
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An aging doorman, after being fired from his prestigious job at a luxurious Hotel is forced to face the scorn of his friends, neighbours and society.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller
Faust (1926)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The demon Mephisto wagers with God that he can corrupt a mortal man's soul.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Gösta Ekman, Emil Jannings, Camilla Horn
Vampyr (1932)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A drifter obsessed with the supernatural stumbles upon an inn where a severely ill adolescent girl is slowly becoming a vampire.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Stars: Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A frail waif, abused by her brutal boxer father in London's seedy Limehouse District, is befriended by a sensitive Chinese immigrant with tragic consequences.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Donald Crisp
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Arch-criminal Dr. Mabuse sets out to make a fortune and run Berlin. Detective Wenk sets out to stop him.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Aud Egede-Nissen, Gertrude Welcker
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A bitter clown endeavors to rescue the young woman he loves from the lecherous count who once betrayed him.

Director: Victor Sjöström
Stars: Lon Chaney, Norma Shearer, John Gilbert
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Two orphaned sisters are caught up in the turmoil of the French Revolution, encountering misery and love along the way.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Joseph Schildkraut
Comedy | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A man returns to his Appalachian homestead. On the trip, he falls for a young woman. The only problem is her family has vowed to kill every member of his family.

Directors: John G. Blystone, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Natalie Talmadge, Joe Keaton
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

Director: Robert Wiene
Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher
Certificate: Passed Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, Mae Marsh
The Wind (1928)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A frail young woman from the east moves in with her cousin in the west, where she causes tension within the family and is slowly driven mad.

Director: Victor Sjöström
Stars: Lillian Gish, Lars Hanson, Montagu Love
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Victor Sjöström ... David Holm
Hilda Borgström ... Mrs. Holm
Tore Svennberg ... Georges
Astrid Holm ... Edit
Concordia Selander Concordia Selander ... Edit's Mother
Lisa Lundholm Lisa Lundholm ... Maria
Tor Weijden ... Gustafsson
Einar Axelsson ... David's Brother
Olof Ås Olof Ås ... Driver
Nils Aréhn ... Prison Chaplain
Simon Lindstrand Simon Lindstrand ... David's Companion
Nils Elffors Nils Elffors ... David's Companion
Algot Gunnarsson Algot Gunnarsson ... Worker
Hildur Lithman Hildur Lithman ... Worker's Wife
John Ekman ... Police Constable
Edit

Storyline

It's New Year's Eve. Three drunkards evoke a legend. The legend tells that the last person to die in a year, if he is a great sinner, will have to drive during the whole year the Phantom Chariot, the one that picks up the souls of the dead... David Holm, one of the three drunkards, dies at the last stroke of midnight... Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Do the Dead Come Back? Can Your Soul Leave Your Body - And Return Again? Is Spiritualism a Reality? See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Sweden

Language:

Swedish

Release Date:

4 June 1922 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Phantom Carriage See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original) | (2004 TV)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Post-production took nearly five months - a long time for the period. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Maria: Don't fret over those poor souls now, Sister Edit. You've done enough for them.
Edit: Send for David Holm!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Victor Seastrom (1981) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Early Cinema, Mature Cinema
31 October 2010 | by marcin_kukuczkaSee all my reviews

„Lord, let my soul come to maturity before it is reaped…"

"Strange...unusual..."someone may think...to begin a review on this film with a prayer, more to say, a prayer not to achieve wisdom or intellect but...maturity - something that has hardly been a theme of many top notch productions - something hardly even mentioned as a human merit in the commercial world - yet, something at the core of this film's message.

In the period of supermen and thrilling actions, viewer's eyes and perceptions are not used to such reflective dimensions. However, it appears that Victor Sjoestrom's masterpiece, based on the 1912 novel THY SOUL SHALL BEAR WITNESS by the Noble Prize winner Selma Lagerlof finds its most profound gist in that. THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE made almost 90 years ago is a milestone in Swedish cinema and a notable film that has overwhelmed eminent people of the 20th century, including Ingmar Bergman. But, I usually ask myself a question, especially before the meditative time of November, what is it that makes such films stand out as masterpieces. Is it the direction, the cinematography, special effects, narrative structure, or perhaps something less common in an ordinary discussion...?

Having watched the restored version with its newly commissioned soundtrack by KTL, I had a feeling that I was watching something unique. Of course, I had heard before how significant it was for the cinema but that did not play a decisive role in my experience. I was mesmerized whilst my own subjective viewing and found this silent pearl captivating. Yes, Sjostrom's film touched me tremendously with its innovative structure of flashbacks (although there are flashbacks within flashbacks, I did not get confused), with its powerful cinematography by Julius Jaenzon, with its flawless direction by the master of Swedish cinema who plays the lead as well. The images that are in this film are really hard to forget, hard to skip. The viewer is, as if, taken to its world, experiences what the characters get through, absorbs oneself to a great extend with what one sees in this silent masterpiece. Everything seems to be balanced and crafted so well, including the movements of the camera, the extensive use of special effects, double exposures in the visualization of the ghost characters who walk in three dimensions, the tension and the performances of the great Swedish cast of the time.

It is truly hard to skip the mesmerizing, symbolic, even ICONIC moments of the movie when the driver of the 'strict master' (Death) arrives at various spots, including the sea (intense visual experience), the room of a rich suicide, the streets as well as the graveyard where David (Victor Sjostrom) is to substitute his pal Georges (Tore Svennberg) on that memorable New Year's Eve. The visual feast finds its climax at the moment when David, having visited the dying Edit (Astrid Holm), the member of the Fralsningsarmen (Salvation Army), arrives finally at his home and sees the drama of his wife and children, the drama caused by his monster-like behavior. The visual moment worth high consideration is when David comes back to his home obscene and drunk, is closed in the kitchen by his wife who is afraid of tuberculosis infection and he brutally takes the axe and breaks through the door. The whole drama becomes visually and mentally so powerful that tears are running on the cheeks of a more delicate viewer. However, the greatest maturity of the film is its content so vividly derived from Selma Lagerlof's novel and so creatively executed in this picture...

There is everything that human heart can experience: love, disappointment, courage, sympathy, fear, bad influence, fights, suffering, loneliness, sorrow, wretchedness, despair, but finally the glory of reconciliation and tears of joy. There are truly different psychological dimensions, or more to say, mental journeys that the director, with the masterful power of the source novel, invites us to experience. There are elements of gloom, the elements of intensive mysticism; there is a redeeming power of prayer for other people (the plot of Edit) and the gist of penance. While the film seems to touch the very heart of Christianity at certain moments, it also appears to evoke thought provoking feelings about what, in fact, is the most important value in life.

The bitter experience of the leading character makes us shocked at first but...in time, indifferent to his feelings. He becomes a villain in our eyes. Although the character of Georges proves to us the consequences of bad influence, we don't see David as a victim (sort of) but as a single human being responsible for himself. We, as viewers, at certain moment, stop feeling empathy with the character but rather concentrate on other people, good people and cry with them. But, at the right moment, we seem to realize his plea to God, his fruitful tears of penance, we seem to forgive him as his wife (Hilga Borgstrom) does forgive him. The human heart appears to shout out from its depths: "Genuine redemptive tears!" What a drama! What a psychological feast! What a movie that evokes such feelings! That is the profoundity of THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE and though that aspect may be considered difficult to capture for some viewers, I think it is an absolute necessity while analyzing this film.

Although the movie has become a source of inspiration for many eminent people of cinema, I think that not all of them understood its gist in the right manner. Enthusiastically speaking, it is another silent film that proves the masterful nature of the early cinema and a film that may be seen from different angles. Nevertheless, there is also a danger that we condense its meaning to a sheer scary movie and look through the terrifying moments ignoring the rest. That would be nothing but an unforgivable conjecture. THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE is a story of a joyful gift, of another chance to become mature, a redemptive chance. Masterpiece, 10/10


16 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 63 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed