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Witchhammer (1970)

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

Director:

Otakar Vávra

Writers:

Václav Kaplický (novel), Otakar Vávra (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:
Vladimír Smeral ... Boblig
Elo Romancik ... Lautner
Josef Kemr ... Ignác
Sona Valentová ... Zuzana
Blanka Waleská ... hrabenka de Galle
Lola Skrbková Lola Skrbková ... Maryna
Jirina Stepnicková ... Dorota Groerová
Marie Nademlejnská Marie Nademlejnská ... Davidka
Miriam Kantorková Miriam Kantorková ... Tobiásová
Eduard Cupák ... farár Schmidt
Martin Ruzek ... Biskop
Cestmír Randa ... dékan Vojtech Winkler
Ilja Prachar ... rychtár Gaup
Gustav Opocenský ... Sekretár Schmidt, bratr faráre
Václav Lohniský ... 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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | Horror

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Czechoslovakia

Language:

Czech

Release Date:

23 January 1970 (Czechoslovakia) See more »

Also Known As:

Witches' Hammer See more »

Filming Locations:

Velké Losiny, Czech Republic

Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmové studio Barrandov See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Connections

Featured in Predcasná úmrtí: Bozský Bosnák (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Arty film on the persecution of witches
25 March 2008 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

The persecution of witches is a rather popular cinematic topic; the best film on the topic undoubtedly being 1968's Witchfinder General. This Czech effort follows a similar plot line to the earlier film, though the result is much artier and less graphic and while I preferred the older film - this one has its merits and will be of interest to people who find this topic interesting or who enjoy arty foreign films. The style of the movie rather reminded me of Ingmar Bergman's work (though less 'deep') and fans of his (a group of people that doesn't include me) will probably like this film too. The film begins with a sequence that sees an old woman take something from a church in order to help a cow give birth. Naturally, the powers that be aren't amused and after being caught, she is put before them to explain her actions. The council agree that she is involved in witchcraft, but other people are also implicated during the trial; and after she is put to death, the 'town cleanser' goes on a crusade to rid the town of all "witchcraft".

The film features very stark black and white cinematography and this helps the film in terms of atmosphere as it feels very dark and unpleasant, which bodes well with the plot. The film is not very graphic - especially not compared to other films on this topic and not in its own right either; only a scene that sees three people burned alive could really be considered graphic. Most of the plot line is made up of debate between the lead characters and while it's fairly interesting, the film did start to grate on me after a while and I would have preferred it to be a bit more visceral. Witches' Hammer is very well acted and the ensemble cast all fit into their roles well. This is the first (and probably last) film I've seen from director Otakar Vávra but clearly he's a director that pays attention to detail as every frame of the film feels carefully crafted. Overall, I won't say that this is a favourite of mine and if you're looking for a film about the witch trials, I would recommend Witchfinder General first; but Witches' Hammer is an interesting film and may be of interest to some people.


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