Religious Iniquities (on Blu-ray and DVD)

Blu ray A Hammer for Witches 00

Artistic note: Red StarRed StarRed Starhalf red stargray star(3.5/5)


In Moravia, in 1670, for having stolen a host, believing that it was healing her cow that was no longer giving milk, an old woman was accused of witchcraft. The lord of the country then summons a tribunal of the Inquisition to judge her. The inquisitor, Boblig von Edelstadt, relies on the famous manual Malleus Maleficarum to conduct the interrogations. But, very quickly, the tortures will follow the denunciations, and the stakes will light, always more numerous.

• Original title: Kladivo na čarodějnice
• Media tested: Blu-ray
• Genre: drama, historical
• Year: 1970
• Directed by: Otakar Vávra
• Cast: Vladimír Smeral, Elo Romancik, Josef Kemr, Sona Valentová, Blanka Waleská, Lola Skrbková, Jirina Stepnicková, Marie Nademlejnská
• Duration: 1 h 46 min 43
• Video format: 16:9
• Cinema format: 2.35/1 Black and White
• Subtitling: French
• Soundtrack: Czech monophonic LPCM 2.0
• Bonus: Digipack with the Blu-ray of the film (106 min 43) and the DVD of the film (102 min 27) – slideshow of posters and photos (0 min 42)
• Publisher: Artus Films

Art commentary

The Hammer for Witches, released in 1970, is a Czechoslovak drama film written and directed by Otakar Vávra. The film is based on the novel “Kladivo na čarodějnice” published in 1963 by Václav Kaplický. It is about the trials conducted against witches in Moravia, at Velké Losiny in the region of Šumperk from 1667 to 1695 by the inquisitor Jindřich František Boblig von Edelstadt who will be based on the treaty Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of the witches) published around 1486. ​​This work indeed indicates what witchcraft is and how to eradicate it by giving in particular the techniques to extort confessions. The Hammer for Witches shows how the inquisitor chooses his future victims, rich or dissidents, in order to eliminate them and confiscate their property: in addition to the women and girls accused of all my vices, Boblig will also incriminate a priest and a noble who dare to defend them in pointing out the injustice of the convictions and the barbaric methods of interrogation. When the film was released in the middle of the post-Stalinist era and during the Czechoslovak communist regime, but shortly before the protest led by Vaclav Havel, these inhuman practices to obtain confessions had such resonance that the screening of the film was partly limited in theaters. The film is structured in sequences separated by the terrible accusations of a hallucinated monk reading a ritual against witches and lust because sex would be the only cause of immorality in these times of piety. Obviously The Hammer for Witches takes advantage of the evocation of the trials to denounce the religion which serves as an alibi as a means of controlling the masses, a clearly critical and political vision, which does not prevent a careful historical reconstruction which teems with details and has a superb photograph in black and white signed Josef Illik. The cast is remarkable: Vladimír Šmeral embodies the inquisitor Boblig in all his spinelessness, Elo Romancik plays the lucid and impotent priest Krzysztof Lautner and the pretty Sona Valentová plays the cook Zuzana who will accuse Lautner of fornication under torture. The Hammer for Witches is much more than a “simple” genre film: in addition to its historical interest on the witch hunt, it offers an interesting more universal reflection on the relationship between power and religion. To discover.

A Hammer for Witches Blu-ray

Technical Comment

Image : HD copy, excellent definition and splendid sharpness on the details, regular silver texture (shooting in 35 mm, Master Format 2K restored), beautiful image which suffers from many imperfections (spots, scratches, various defects, reel change marks), very good contrast, excellent brightness, dense blacks, well-layered grays

His : Czech 2.0 monophonic mix, very clear dialogues, without distortion, very good dynamics on the atmospheres and the music with choirs by Jirí Srnka, slight saturation at the top of the spectrum

Our opinion

Image : Red StarRed StarRed Starhalf red stargray star(3.5/5)
Sound mixing: blue Starblue Starblue Starhalf blue stargray star(3.5/5)
Bonuses: half red stargray stargray stargray stargray star(0.5/5)
Packaging: blue Starblue Starblue Stargray stargray star(3/5)

IMDb :

Blu-ray/DVD combo digipack available on Amazon

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Religious Iniquities (on Blu-ray and DVD)

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