Körkarlen (1921)

Sweden, 1920
90m 42s (UK video – PAL), 93m, 6975 feet/2129 metres
16mm film, 35mm film, black and white, 1.33:1

A Swedish horror film directed by Victor Sjöström.

Plot Summary

On New Year's Eve, legend has it that last person to die in the old year will have to spend the coming year during the Phantom Chariot if he is a sinner. Drunkard David Holm dies at last stroke of midnight and prepares to face his fate.


Director: Victor Sjöström
Svensk Filmindustri AB
Script: Victor Sjöström
Novel: Selma Lagerlöf
Assistant Director: Ernst Engborg
Director of Photography: J. Julius
Camera Operator: Carl-Axel Söderström
Laboratory Consultant: Eugén Hellman
Laboratory: AB Svensk Filmindustri, Råsunda, Sweden
Art Directors: Axel Esbensen, Alexander Bakó
Studio: Svensk Filmindustri, Filmstaden, Råsunda, Stockholms län, Sweden

Victor Sjöström (David Holm)
Hilda Borgström (Mrs Holm)
Tore Svennberg (Georges)
Astrid Holm (Sister Edit)
Concordia Selander (Edit's mother)
Lisa Lundholm (Maria)
Tor Weijden (Gustafsson)
Einar Axelsson (David's brother)
Olof Ås (driver)
Nils Ahrén (prison chaplain)
Simon Lindstrand, Nils Elffors (David's companions)
Algot Gunnarsson (worker)
Hildur Lithman (worker's wife)
John Ekman (police constable)
Josua Bengtsson (card player)
Emmy Albiin (woman with consumption)
Mona Geijer-Falkner (waitress)
Anna-Lisa Baude
Alexander Bakó

Alternative Titles

Ajomies – Finnish title
La charrette fantôme – French title
Der Fuhrmann des Todes – German title
Køresvenden – Danish title
The Phantom Carriage
The Phantom Chariot
The Stroke of Midnight
Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness

Extracts included in
Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood (1996)
Fejezetek a film történetéböl: Az európai film kezdetei (1989)
En Underbar uppfinning (1996)
Ved den danske films vugge (1941)
Victor Sjöström: ett portratt (1981)

See also
La Charrette fantôme (1939)
Körkarlen (1958)



  • The Bioscope vol.46 no.748 (10 February ) p.76 – article
  • Classic Film Collector no.50 (April 1976) p.18 – review
  • Classic Images no.108 (June 1984) p.56 – review
  • Classic Images no.242 (August 1995) p.56 – video review (by John DeBartolo)
  • Empire no.222 (December 2007) p.224 – illustrated DVD review (At home DVD reissues: The Phantom Carriage/The Image Makers by Owen Williams
  • Film Ireland no.120 (January/February 2008) p.40 (Ireland) – illustrated DVD review (Film & DVD reviews by Jasmina Kallay)
  • Flesh and Blood no.3 (September 1994) p.16 – video note
  • Kine Weekly no.720 (10 February 1921) – review
  • Sight & Sound vol.4.no.11 (November 1994) p.63 – video note
  • Sight & Sound v18 no.2 (February 2008) p.95 – DVD review (Reviews: DVDs: The Phantom Carriage by Geoffrey Macnab)
  • Vertigo vol.3 no.8 (Spring 2008) p.63 (uk) – illustrated article (Interior: night by The Brothers Quay


  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror (2nd edition) by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.28
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby p.48
  • by Walt Lee p.466 – credits