The Phantom Carriage

Easily the best-known work of Swedish silent-era auteur Victor Sjöström, 1921’s The Phantom Carriage still packs a punch. Although most notable for its innovative special effects work, courtesy of cinematographer Julius Jaenzon (credited here under as “J. Julius”), The Phantom Carriage is no slouch in the narrative department. Jaenzon’s use of double exposure perfectly captures the otherworldly, supernatural elements of legendary Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf’s source novel, while Sjöström’s onscreen performance as a drunken wastrel tasked with taking over duties as Death’s emissary opposite Astrid Holm remains as affective today as it would have been a century ago. There’s a reason why this film was one of Ingmar Bergman’s most significant influences, and it remains a must-see for any serious cineaste.

  • SD
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