8.0/10
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11 user 17 critic

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:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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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Did You Know?

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
While not exactly pleasant, it is very well done...
17 November 2011 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This is a recreation of a series of witch trials that occurred around 1600. Since it's a Czechoslovakian film, I assume it is set somewhere around there. The film begins with an odd occurrence--an old lady pretends to eat a communion wafer at church but instead shoves it into a handkerchief. When confronted about this weird behavior, folks immediately assume it's because she's involved with witches and that these devil worshipers plan on using the host for some unholy ceremony. THe woman really is just very superstitious and she's really taking the wafer to trade someone--as they want to use the wafer to supposedly cure a sick animal. This is goofy--but the priest certainly does not think it constitutes witchcraft and admonishes everyone to forget about it. However, the elders insist on bringing in a witch-finder and determining if it's all part of a demonic ceremony. From there, everything gets way out of hand and they start burning practically anyone--all due to an overzealous and evil man bent on abusing the gullibility of others.

The film gets very high marks for realism. The torture and subsequent confessions seem very well done--though are a bit difficult to watch. And, the entire abuse of the silly system and complicity of the Church is quite interesting--as well as the lone priest who fights this evil tribunal. My only complaint is the opening scene. It's jam-packed full of very gratuitous nudity. Later, there is some explicit nudity but it is necessary for the film and should have been used (such as when they stripped the lady to look for 'the Devil's mark' on her as well as to humiliate her). So, the violence and nudity make it a film I would NOT recommend to your kids or mother-in-law! Otherwise, extremely well done but possibly not the sort of thing you'd want to watch (it can be a bit hard to take).


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