The Phantom Carriage

The Phantom Carriage ★★★½

Performances : 6.3/10
Story : 7.8/10
Production : 8.2/10
Overall : 7.43/10

The Phantom Carriage is a silent movie, which to me almost always means performances that are over-acted and laughable. While there's certainly nothing laughable here, some of the actors are doing a little too much. I think it just comes with the period, there's nothing wrong with it necessarily. Luckily, watching with the KTL score makes all of this inconsequential. It makes the entire film very unsettling in the best way possible.

I don't think this film is a horror. Though I wouldn't argue if you tried to tell me that back in 1921 it probably scared a lot of people. I think more than anything this film is a fantasy, a fable. It's a haunting tale with a very important and personal message. I can absolutely see why Ingmar Bergman calls this his favorite. The characters and the overall arc that they take through the course of the tale is something that he clearly shadowed and borrowed in many of his films.

The production is what really steals the show though. The use of double exposure to create the ghostly carriage and driver must have been awe inspiring at the time of its release. The lighting and camera work, too is something special. Sjostrom uses them to really set a tone and bring it home constantly through its run time.


"Lord, please let my soul come to maturity before it is reaped"

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