The Cremator (1969)
"Spalovac mrtvol" (original title)

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Kopfrkingl enjoys his job at a crematorium in Czechoslovakia in the late 1930s. He likes reading the Tibetan book of the dead, and espouses the view that cremation relieves earthly ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rudolf Hrusínský ...
Vlasta Chramostová ...
Lakmé / Dagmar
Jana Stehnová ...
Milos Vognic ...
Zora Bozinová ...
Ilja Prachar ...
Walter Reinke
Eduard Kohout ...
Jirí Menzel ...
Míla Myslíková ...
Hloupá zena
Manzel hloupé zeny
Jirí Lír ...
Václav Stekl ...
Hudebník / rozhodcí boxu / majitel panoptika
Bledá dívka
Jindrich Narenta ...
Nacista ve smokingu
Marie Rosulková ...
Zena dozadující se rakvicky


Kopfrkingl enjoys his job at a crematorium in Czechoslovakia in the late 1930s. He likes reading the Tibetan book of the dead, and espouses the view that cremation relieves earthly suffering. At a reception, he meets Reineke, with whom he fought for Austria in the first World War. Reineke convinces Kopfrkingl to emphasize his supposedly German heritage, including sending his timid son to the German school. Reineke then suggests that Kopfrkingl's half-Jewish wife is holding back his advancement in his job. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Horror | Thriller


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Release Date:

14 March 1969 (Czechoslovakia)  »

Also Known As:

The Cremator  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Czechoslovakia's official submission to 42nd Academy Award's Foreign Language in 1970. See more »


[first lines]
Kopfrkingl: My sweet. This is the blessed spot where we met 17 years ago. Only the leopard is new. Kind nature long ago relieved the other of his shackles. You see, dear, I keep talking of nature's benevolence, of merciful fate, of the kindness of God. We judge and criticize others, rebuke them. But what about ourselves? I always have the feeling that I do so little for you.
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Referenced in Na plovárne: Episode dated 12 January 2006 (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Cautionary gothic tale
4 August 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film of Juraj Herj, like Morgiana, has a decidedly gothic feel. Karl Kopfrkingl, the owner of a modern crematorium gets creepier by the minute. At the beginning of the film at a family outing we see a snow leopard, peacock, tiger, snake, and a lion - Karl makes a comment that "cages are for mute persons." Later at a fair everyone else seems to be having a wonderful time; Karl looks quite glum. But when they enter a "chamber of horrors" exhibit, he's quite happy and intrigued while everyone else is shocked (it reminds me of one of Charles Addams' cartoons with everyone in a movie theatre crying, except for one man who seems positively overjoyed by the cinema situation).

In a sense, Karl lives for dying - or at least lives to compassionately cremate as many people as he can, releasing and purifying their souls for another life. He seems to have a bit of an obsession with Tibetan Buddhism, carrying with him a tome on the Dalia Lama's palace and Buddhist customs.

It doesn't take much flattery and cajoling by Nazi sympathizers to put Karl totally over the edge of sanity . . .

Quite an incredible film, with good use of wide-angle lenses and closeups to indicate Karl's increasing derangement.

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