Körkarlen [The Phantom Carriage]

Victor Sjöström
1921. Silent. Sweden
105 min

Woe betide the man who dies on the last stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, as he is doomed to spend the following year collecting the souls of all those who have sinned, and take them away in the death carriage.

Although close to German Expressionist cinema in its subject, its restrained style sets this film apart. Sjöström, who brings all his acting skills into play for the principal role, manages to create an atmosphere that is fantastical and compelling thanks to Julius Jaenzon’s special effects and the use of the process of “double exposure” as the carriage trundles through the streets.



Körkarlen [The Phantom Carriage]
Victor SjöströmLa charrette fantôme1921 © The Swedish film Institute

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