The Hourglass Sanatorium (1973)
"Sanatorium pod klepsydra" (original title)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 1,749 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 28 critic

Set in pre-World War II era. A young man is on a strange train to see his dying father in a sanatorium. But the place is going to ruin and recalls a lot of memories from the past. He is ... See full summary »


(as Wojciech J. Has)


(as Wojciech J. Has) , (story)
0Check in
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Upon finding a book that relates his grandfather's story, an officer ventures through Spain meeting a wide array of characters, most of whom have a story of their own to tell.

Director: Wojciech Has
Stars: Zbigniew Cybulski, Iga Cembrzynska, Elzbieta Czyzewska
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A priest is sent to a small parish in the Polish countryside which is believed to be under demonic possession and there he finds his own temptations awaiting.

Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Stars: Lucyna Winnicka, Mieczyslaw Voit, Anna Ciepielewska
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Tabloid life of a physicist; his work, his love life and his quest for the meaning beyond.

Director: Krzysztof Zanussi
Stars: Stanislaw Latallo, Monika Dzienisiewicz-Olbrychska, Malgorzata Pritulak
Night Train (1959)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A man, Jerzy, enters a train set for the Baltic coast. He seems to be on the run from something--and so does the strange woman with whom he must share a sleeping compartment.

Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Stars: Lucyna Winnicka, Leon Niemczyk, Teresa Szmigielówna
Salto (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A man hops off a train by the small town where he claims he was before. His presence allows to bring out the inner feelings and beliefs of the inhabitants. A man who has hidden through all ... See full summary »

Director: Tadeusz Konwicki
Stars: Zbigniew Cybulski, Jerzy Block, Marta Lipinska
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An actress travels from Warsaw to Paris and during the trip reflects on the last few years of her life. It goes back to the German occupation and her hiding of a fellow actor who has ... See full summary »

Director: Wojciech Has
Stars: Barbara Krafftówna, Zbigniew Cybulski, Artur Mlodnicki
Austeria (1982)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

During a pogrom in Poland on the eve of World War I, a group of Jews seek refuge from the Cossacks. The fugitives hide out in a rural inn, terrified that they may be given away at any moment.

Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Stars: Franciszek Pieczka, Wojciech Pszoniak, Jan Szurmiej
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

At the turn of the century, Lodz, Poland was a quick-paced manufacturing center for textiles, replete with cutthroat industrialists and unsafe working conditions. Three young friends, a ... See full summary »

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Stars: Daniel Olbrychski, Wojciech Pszoniak, Andrzej Seweryn
Drama | Horror | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Set during the occupation of Poland during World War II. Some German soldiers, slaughter a woman, her son and daughter-in-law. The husband and his father escape by being in the forest. The ... See full summary »

Director: Andrzej Zulawski
Stars: Malgorzata Braunek, Leszek Teleszynski, Jan Nowicki
Petla (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

One day in the life of an alcohol addict. With the help of his girlfriend Krysia, Kuba attempts to regain control of his life. But when she's at work, Kuba is home alone, and it becomes hard not to resist the temptation.

Director: Wojciech Has
Stars: Gustaw Holoubek, Aleksandra Slaska, Teresa Szmigielówna
Lalka (1968)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Set in the 19th century Warsaw. The indolence of aristocrats who, secure with their pensions, are too lazy to undertake new business risks, frustrates Wokulski. His ability to make money is... See full summary »

Director: Wojciech Has
Stars: Mariusz Dmochowski, Beata Tyszkiewicz, Tadeusz Fijewski
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Pawel and Lidka are from different worlds but they somehow meet each other in a night club. He's a young lad from a wealthy family, she's an attractive dancer. They fall in love and go out of town but their happiness doesn't last long.

Director: Wojciech Has
Stars: Maria Wachowiak, Tadeusz Janczar, Gustaw Holoubek


Cast overview, first billed only:
Tadeusz Kondrat ...
Jakub - Józef's father
Irena Orska ...
Józef's mother
Halina Kowalska ...
Gustaw Holoubek ...
Dr. Gotard
Mieczyslaw Voit ...
Blind Conductor
Bozena Adamek ...
Ludwik Benoit ...
Henryk Boukolowski ...
Seweryn Dalecki ...
Julian Jabczynski ...
Jerzy Przybylski ...
Mr. de Voss
Wiktor Sadecki ...
Janina Sokolowska ...
Wojciech Standello ...
Jew Interlocutor in Restaurant


Set in pre-World War II era. A young man is on a strange train to see his dying father in a sanatorium. But the place is going to ruin and recalls a lot of memories from the past. He is beset by soldiers from the past, colonial black mercenaries, girls from his early life, and his parents. It is an interior adventure, with unusual atmospheric flair and extraordinary sets. Written by Polish Cinema Database <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Fantasy


See all certifications »


Official Sites:



| | |

Release Date:

12 December 1973 (Poland)  »

Also Known As:

The Hourglass Sanatorium  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Despite the communist authorities' ban on the film, it was in secret sent to Cannes in film cans with false inscriptions on them. Because of this incident, Has couldn't make any movie for the next 8 years. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Macabre Kaleidoscope
5 August 2003 | by (San Francisco, California, USA) – See all my reviews

The late Polish director Wojceich Has is better known for his amazing "The Saragosa Manuscript" which has a Chinese box structure of nested stories. However, this film (known to english audiences as "The Sandglass"), tops its predecessor in fantastic imagery. Based on several stories of Bruno Schultz, this film might be the most successful recreation of the inner psyche ever commited to celluloid.

A man journeys by dilapidated train (where most of the passengers look like corpses) to visit his ailing father who is kept in a crumbling ornate sanatorium. He is told by a doctor that time exists differently there and his dying father may recover. The man experiences a flood of dreamlike visions of his past and the small Jewish town he was raised in. The father is seen both ill and as a giddy philosopher in an attic full of birds. At some point we get the creeping sensation that it is the man himself who is dying, not the father as a blind train conductor reappears like a death figure. The increasingly baroque episodes become the rich compost of a graveyard.

The film can also been seen as a requiem for the Eastern European Jewish culture that was wiped out by WW2. It isn't an accident that the protagonist is named Joseph and his father Jacob. Many of the films episodes evoke Jewish symbolism.

35 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Hourglass Sanatorium (1973) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: