Dave Vis’s review published on Letterboxd:
Halloween Special: Old School Horror Week: Watch one previously unseen horror-movie made between 1920 and 1935
Kind of a no-brainer this week. The Phantom Carriage has been on my watchlist for a very long time and finally got a reason to look for it.
I've read just a couple of reviews now and they all reflect the same things that struck me. That and the fact I just don't have much time for an extensive review, made me decide to just list a few thoughts:
- The acting is surprisingly light for a silent film. The absence of dialogue often results in overacting, but luckily not here. Therefore the performances felt delightfully realistic.
- The execution of the intricate narrative structure is far ahead of its time. The flashbacks within flashbacks are tricky, but it never comes across as needlessly convoluted. Very well written...
- The story translates very well to the screen. I can see why some people would be irritated by the melodrama, but I really didn't care. Bold scenes as the one with the protagonist's wife near the end (you know the one) justifies those melodramatic parts in my humble opinion.
- The cinematography of the sepia indoors and blue-ish outdoors' nights is beautifully done. It really extends the mood of the warm interiors and the eerie atmosphere of the haunted exterior.
- The technical execution of bringing the ghosts to the screen is an absolute marvel to behold, all considering the time obviously. It's almost 100 (!) years old, but how they managed to create those ghost scenes back then is really something.
- There's only one thing that felt off and that 's the score... I watched it yesterday with the KTL score and to be honest, I found it really distracting... It tries to set a constant horror movie mood, which felt completely off. I don't consider this a horror movie at all. A moralistic drama in a ghostly package, yes. A horror, no.
This was a great experience and I will definitely revisit. From the reviews I've read I might even up my score to the full 5 stars when I seek out a copy with the Bye score...
Oh, and I almost forgot: