Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

3:00 PM | $7/$5 members  | Live piano by Marta Waterman

THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE, a 1921 silent masterpiece written, directed by, and starring Victor Seastrom.

phantom-01THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE is an artistic rendering of a dark morality tale. It has a deep and typically Scandinavian sense of despair and hopelessness. The film begins in a rather grim present, and then we’re told the story through a series of flashbacks (and flashbacks within flashbacks–a pretty complex story structure for 1921), where the main character, David Holm, played by Seastrom, is offered numerous chances at redemption and refuses them all.

The film uses the medium to create an image often basked in a white glow, brilliantly turning  what might be the flaws of early film to an advantage by capitalizing on its ghostly, horrific quality. THE PHANTON CARRIAGE is one of the enduring classics of the silent era, at least in Sweden, and was said to be the inspiration for young Ingmar Bergman. Its elaborate special phantomcarriage2bigeffects that enabled characters to display a semi-transparent quality, helped birth the very art of cinematography and visual effects.

The writing and directing is tight and intelligent, even by today’s standards. In several instances, Seastrom skillfully sets the audience up to suspect one thing, and then pulls out a surprise.

The silent films in Rosendale’s series are enhanced by the piano of Marta Waterman.