According to Scandinavian legend, whosoever dies on the stroke of Midnight on the last day of the year (St. Sylvester’s Night) must assume the duties of the “phantom charioteer,” collecting souls for the next 365 days.
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Duvivier's odd career included sound remakes of two silent classics of the supernatural: Wegener's GOLEM and this elegant version of Sjostrom's PHANTOM CARRIAGE, about a man who only realizes what a bad show he's made of his life when Death comes a-call. Has the beautiful superimpositions of the earlier film, adding creative sound effects and dialogue, but the focus here is mostly on the redemption of a scumbag.
Between Louis Jouvet as Death's embodiment and Micheline Francey as Sister Edith, a quasi Saint of the local Salvation Army, the battle will quickly gain an epic dimension. Now does David Holm, played by an inspired Pierre Fresnay, really deserve such an honor ? See for yourself. A forgotten classic. Highly recommended.