Victor Sjöström

The Phantom Carriage

The Phantom Carriage

The last person to die on New Year’s Eve before the clock strikes twelve is doomed to take the reins of Death’s chariot and work tirelessly collecting fresh souls for the next year. So says the legend that drives The Phantom Carriage (Körkarlen), directed by the father of Swedish cinema, Victor Sjöström. The story, based on a novel by Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf, concerns an alcoholic, abusive ne’er-do-well (Sjöström himself) who is shown the error of his ways, and the pure-of-heart Salvation Army sister who believes in his redemption. This extraordinarily rich and innovative silent classic (which inspired Ingmar Bergman to make movies) is a Dickensian ghost story and a deeply moving morality tale, as well as a showcase for groundbreaking special effects.

Film Info

Special Features

  • New digital restoration, done in collaboration with the Archival Film Collections of the Swedish Film Institute
  • Two scores, one by Swedish composer Matti Bye and the other by the experimental duo KTL (Stephen O’Malley and Peter Rehberg)
  • Audio commentary featuring film historian Casper Tybjerg
  • Interview with Ingmar Bergman, excerpted from the 1981 documentary Victor Sjöström: A Portrait, by Gösta Werner
  • The Bergman Connection, an original visual essay by film historian and Bergman scholar Peter Cowie on the film’s influence on Bergman
  • Footage of the construction of the Råsunda studio where The Phantom Carriage was the inaugural production
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by screenwriter and filmmaker Paul Mayersberg

New cover by Christopher Brian King

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New digital restoration, done in collaboration with the Archival Film Collections of the Swedish Film Institute
  • Two scores, one by Swedish composer Matti Bye and the other by the experimental duo KTL (Stephen O’Malley and Peter Rehberg)
  • Audio commentary featuring film historian Casper Tybjerg
  • Interview with Ingmar Bergman, excerpted from the 1981 documentary Victor Sjöström: A Portrait, by Gösta Werner
  • The Bergman Connection, an original visual essay by film historian and Bergman scholar Peter Cowie on the film’s influence on Bergman
  • Footage of the construction of the Råsunda studio where The Phantom Carriage was the inaugural production
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by screenwriter and filmmaker Paul Mayersberg

New cover by Christopher Brian King

The Phantom Carriage
Cast
Victor Sjöström
David Holm
Hilda Borgström
Mrs. Holm
Tore Svennberg
Georges
Astrid Holm
Sister Edit
Concordia Selander
Edit's mother
Lisa Lundholm
Sister Maria
Tor Weijden
Gustafsson
Einar Axelsson
David Holm's brother
Olof Ås
The first driver of the chariot
Nils Arehn
Prison chaplain
Credits
Director
Victor Sjöström
Script
Victor Sjöström
Based on the novel by
Selma Lagerlöf
Cinematography
Julius Jaenzon
Producer
Charles Magnusson
Art direction
Alexander Bakó
Art direction
Axel Esbensen

From The Current

Victor Sjöström’s Stirring Flashbacks
Victor Sjöström’s Stirring Flashbacks

Film scholar Kristin Thompson examines Victor Sjöström’s innovative use of flashbacks in his silent-era masterpiece The Phantom Carriage.

Inside Criterion / On the Channel — Nov 28, 2017
Sjöström Haunts in Minnesota

Repertory Picks

Sjöström Haunts in Minnesota

There’s no better time than a crisp Sunday evening in November to cozy up and take in a spooky Victorian ghost story. This weekend, if you’re in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, you can do just that.

On Film / In Theaters
Nov 19, 2015
Phantom Forms: The Phantom Carriage

Phantom Forms: The Phantom Carriage

Internationally, Victor Sjöström is best known for his performance as Professor Isak Borg in Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries (1957). But behind that unforgettable face of old age is a younger man, a leading actor who was also the greatest Swed…

By Paul Mayersberg

On Film / Essays — Sep 27, 2011