Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 23rd, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: Italy / France, 1988
Director: Ermanno Olmi
Writers: Tullio Kezich, Ermanno Olmi
Cast: Rutger Hauer, Anthony Quayle, Sandrine Dumas, Dominique Pinon, Sophie Segalen, Cécile Paoli, Jean-Maurice Chanet, Joseph De Medina, Francesco Aldighieri, Françoise Pinkwasser, Joséphine Lecaille, Maria Mazzocco, Dalila Belatreche
BluRay released: September 25th, 2017 (UK), September 26th, 2017 (USA)
Approximate running times: 127 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: PG (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, LPCM Mono English, LPCM Mono Italian
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Academy USA
Region Coding: Region A,B
Retail Price: $39.95 (USA) / £24.99 (UK)
The Legend of the Holy Drinker was co-written and directed by Ermanno Olmi whose other notable films include, Il Posto, One Fine Day and The Tree of Wooden Clogs. Key collaborators on The Legend of the Holy Drinker include, screenwriter Tullio Kezich (Come Have Coffee with Us) and cinematographer Dante Spinotti (Manhunter, L.A. Confidential).
At the heart of The Legend of the Holy Drinker is a riveting tale about a man’s inability to his moral obligations due to his addiction to alcohol. And his journey is told via a meticulously constructed narrative that allows key moments to resonate. Another strength of the narrative is the way its effortlessly juxtapositions moments from the protagonists past with present moments.
This film is anchored by a tour de force performance from Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner, The Hitcher) in the role of Andreas Kartak, a man consumed by his inner demons. He delivers a mesmerizing performance that is in contrast with the type of performances he is most known for. Other performances of note include Sandrine Dumas (Valmont, The Double Life of Veronique) in the role of Gaby, a nightclub dancer who has a brief affair with Andreas and Sophie Segalen in the role of Karoline, a woman from Andreas past.
From a production stand point, there is not an area where this film does not exceed exceptions. With the visuals doing superb job capturing Andreas’s state of mind. And though there is never a shortage of magical moments throughout this film. This film ultimately saves its most potent moment for its cathartic finale.
The Legend of the Holy Drinker comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The 2k transfer created for this release was sourced from a brand-new 4K restoration from the original negative, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release. This transfer does a superb job retaining the intended look of the film. There are no issues with compression and grain remains intact.
This release comes with three audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English, a LPCM mono mix in English and a LPCM mono mix in Italian. All audio mixes sound, clean, clear and balanced throughout. With the most robust presentation of thee three being the DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. And it should be noted that there are some moments in French and during these moments that subtitles simply say that French is being spoken.
Extras for this release include, an interview with actor Rutger Hauer (9 minutes 20 seconds) and an interview with screenwriter Tullio Kezich (25 minutes 47 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles).
Topics discussed in the interview with Rutger Hauer include, director Ermanno Olmi and his creative process as a filmmaker, onset memories, thoughts about his character and the film.
Topics discussed in the interview with Tullio Kezich include, author Joseph Roth and his novel from which the film was adapted, the origins of the film, Ermanno Olmi, the screenplay / film differ from the novel, how Robert De Niro was interested in the lead role, Rutger Hauer, other production related topics, audience / critical reaction to the film and how the film never received a theatrical release in the U.S. despite the film being filmed in English.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and a twenty-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Joseph Roth and The Legend of the Holy Drinker written by Helen Chambers and information about the restoration / transfer. Also, included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo. Overall The Legend of the Holy Drinker gets a first rate release from Arrow Academy.