The Phantom Carriage

Drama · 
Horror · 

Release Date: January 1, 1921

Original name: Körkarlen

Status: Released

Running time: 1h 47m

Content Rating: NR

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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, that picks up the souls of the dead.

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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. In the film, Sjöström plays a drunkard named David Holm who, on the night of New Year's Eve, is compelled by the ghostly driver of Death's carriage to reflect on his past mistakes. Alongside Sjöström, the film's cast includes Hilda Borgström, Tore Svennberg, and Astrid Holm.The Phantom Carriage was released in Scandinavia on New Year's Day 1921. The following year, Metro Pictures Corporation re-edited and released the film in the United States under the title The Stroke of Midnight; it was known as Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness! in the United Kingdom.

The Phantom Carriage is notable for its special effects, its innovative narrative structure with flashbacks within flashbacks, and for having been a major influence on the works of Ingmar Bergman. It has been characterized as belonging to several genres—it has been called a morality tale, a melodrama, a fantasy film, and a horror film. It is sometimes considered one of the first horror films due to its atmosphere and its impact on later entries in the genre. The film is generally considered to be one of the central works in the history of Swedish cinema.

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