Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Previously filmed in Sweden by Victor Sjostrom in 1921, Selma Lagerloff's haunting fable The Death Cart was remade in 1940 by Julien Duvivier as La Charette Fantome. 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. Pierre Fresnay stars as a boorish lout who is forced to relive the events of the past year -- and to find spiritual salvation -- as the death chariot approaches. Louis Jouvet co-stars as Fresnay's best friend, the most recent candidate for the "honor" of driving the phantom cart. Filmed in 1939, La Charette Fantome was released in March of 1940.