Rent The Phantom Carriage (1921)

3.8 of 5 from 129 ratings
1h 47min
Rent The Phantom Carriage (aka Körkarlen) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Legend has it that whoever is the last person to die on New Year's Eve will be destined to drive the Phantom Carriage, collecting dead souls for a year. When a drunkard is found at the stroke of midnight, the victim of a vicious fight, he is forced to relive his past to see how he and those around him have been destroyed by his selfish and destructive ways. Directed by pioneering Swedish film-maker Victor Sjostrom, The Phantom Carriage is arguably the most influential and enduring horror film of all time. Powerful acting and groundbreaking trick photography lend it an otherworldly atmosphere not since matched in modern cinema.
Cited as being one of Ingmar Bergman's primary inspirations, The Phantom Carriage depicted death as a physical and industrious presence, something later echoed in The Seventh Seal.
, , Tore Svennberg, , Concordia Selander, , Tor Weijden, , Olof Ås, Nils Aréhn, Simon Lindstrand, Nils Elffors, Algot Gunnarsson, Hildur Lithman, , , Elof Ahrle, , ,
Charles Magnusson
Selma Lagerlöf, Victor Sjöström
Classics, Drama, Horror
21 Reasons to Love, 21 Reasons to Love... Ingmar Bergman, All the Best: A Celebration of New Year Movies, Films to Watch If You Like..., Holidays Film Collection, The Instant Expert's Guide to Carl Theodor Dreyer, Top 10 Best Last Films: World Cinema, Top Films, What to Watch Next If You Liked Scrooge
Release Date:
Run Time:
107 minutes
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
Colour and B & W

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Reviews (3) of The Phantom Carriage

Sriking curiosity - The Phantom Carriage review by MR

Spoiler Alert

Strange story about superstition, alcoholism and the persistence of one member of the Salvation Army in Sweden! Rather strongly acted by the male and female leads I thought, lots of interesting tricksy double exposures to create the impression of ghosts and the ghostly carriage, I thought it held interest throughout and was worth the experience. Hard to read the English subtitles when the Swedish ones were so much more prominent though.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

A Ride To The End Of The Line. - The Phantom Carriage review by NC

Spoiler Alert

David Holm's dissolute life has ruined not only himself, but also practically everyone who goes too near him. Even a Salvation Army officer lies dying after too close a contact. His past catches up with him on the stroke of midnight, New Year's Eve, as he sprawls in a graveyard after a drunken brawl, and the carriage of death ghosts around the corner.

It is a life told in flashbacks, but all of the (by today's standards) hard-to-take aspects of silent films are wonderfully absent: there is very little exaggerated melodrama, very little over-the-top histrionics. Instead we get to see a man grown bitter and cynical, who flings compassion back in the face of the giver because he is unable to respond in kind, who is given a second chance but drinks it away.

Performances are superb, but special mention must go to Victor Sjostrom (the director himself) as David Holm. Apparently he lived for a time in the slums of Stockholm in order to gain knowledge and bring authenticity to the role. There is no mugging, no wild gesticulations, just a naturalism so far ahead of its time that if there wasn't evidence that this was made in 1921 I would not have believed it. It's perhaps the finest piece of acting I've seen in a silent film.

'The Phantom Carriage' almost falls victim to its own excellence. The special effects with the horse and cart, and the driver reaping souls, are so extraordinary, that fingers tremble on the verge of drumming if other scenes last a shade too long. And the film doesn't deserve the cop-out ending, very much of its age.

Buy a ticket for this carriage. It's a journey you may remember till your dying day.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Awesomely niche - The Phantom Carriage review by JD

Spoiler Alert

If a technically poor, subtitled, Swedish 1921 film about death, evil, regret and primitive superstition appeals; your desire to be in the minority is even greater than mine. I love some pretty cult/non-main stream stuff but this is off the scale. Watch if you are hard core goth or similar. I couldn't finish it.

0 out of 5 members found this review helpful.

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