8.1/10
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11 user 10 critic

Witchhammer (1970)

Kladivo na carodejnice (original title)
A very popular movie on the medieval persecution of witches (inquisition).

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Boblig
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Lautner
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Ignác
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Zuzana
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hrabenka de Galle
Lola Skrbková ...
Maryna
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Dorota Groerová
Marie Nademlejnská ...
Davidka
Miriam Kantorková ...
Tobiásová
...
farár Schmidt
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Biskop
...
dékan Vojtech Winkler
...
rychtár Gaup
...
Sekretár Schmidt, bratr faráre
...
Mnich
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Storyline

The time is the seventeenth century. The beggar Maryna Schuchová hides the Host in her scarf at the Communion. She admits to the parish priest Schmidt that she intended to give it to the midwife Groerová to heal her ailing cow. The young priest declares her a witch and convinces the Sumperk countess De Galle to summon the inquisitor Boblig from Edelstadt. This failed student of law sees the offer as a great opportunity. He uses torture and threats to force the women from the to testify to their meetings with the devil and learn by heart the lies he has made up for the inquisition tribunal. Boblig accuses the wealthy burghers of witchcraft as well, and so wants to seize their possessions. Written by NFA.cz

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Genres:

Drama | History

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Details

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Release Date:

23 January 1970 (Czechoslovakia)  »

Also Known As:

Witches' Hammer  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Historical vs allegorical
6 January 2005 | by (Halifax, NS) – See all my reviews

This film claims historical accuracy, but it seems to be more allegorical than similar films which don't make that claim. I'm still trying to decide how exaggerated some of the "confessions" were, but then again this is a period of history I know little about. The Christ figure was interesting, and the parallel was loose enough to be interesting, but it was made too explicit at times to be considered very clever. Explicitly calling one of his "friends" a Judas is a little too much. Huxley created a more interesting Christ-figure in "Devil's of Loudon," voluptuous, yet gifted and filled with a righteous aim.

What was most interesting to me was how the hypocrisy of those on high was related to the camera. Not in an exaggerated way, but in a way where we are given insight into the decisions being made, and witness the final hypocritical decision. The Queen anxiously touches her neck when she hears that one of the "witches" has been strangled, only to gracefully gaze at her complexion in the mirror and fix her makeup. A beautiful symbol of priorities, and how a minor amount of sympathy is trumped by pride. Another scene placed the Inquisitor in a large chair sipping on a snifter of wine, dictating to his secretary a letter describing the trial, asking him to underline how "horrified" they were at what they discovered, when of course, he hardly seems horrified anymore.

Throughout the film is the battle between what to implicitly express visually, and what to explicitly allude to, and they don't often work well together. Still, there are enough scenes which focus on the former to overshadow the latter.

3 out of 5 - Some strong elements


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