Blu-Ray Review: The Legend of the Holy Drinker

Whilst he’s best known for playing a replicant in Blade Runner or a mysterious black knight in Ladyhawke, Rutger Hauer has had an eclectic and highly durable career in front of the camera. Whether playing a psychopath in The Hitcher, a Concentration Camp prisoner in Escape from Sobibor or a mercenary captain in Flesh and Blood, he’s always cast a striking shadow. In The Legend of the Holy Drinker, he plays a man repeatedly suckered by his own addiction.

Andreas (Hauer) is an alcoholic living in Paris who sleeps under a bridge. When he’s lent 200 Francs by a stranger, he promises to pay the money back to a local church when he’s able. However, his addiction keeps getting in the way as he continually manages to pluck failure from the jaws of success. This is largely sparked by the repeated unexpected appearance of random people from his past.

Based on Joseph Roth 1939 novella, The Legend of the Holy Drinker is almost Kafkaesque in Andreas repeated inability to fulfil his promise. Director Ermanno Olmi injects a resigned humour into his plight. Hauer delivers possibly the most understated and refined performance of his career, whilst the film itself won a number of accolades; including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. The Legend of the Holy Drinker is a perfectly-judged drama about addiction, frustration and resignation.

Special Edition Contents:

• Brand-new 4K restoration from the original negative, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations of both the English and Italian versions of the film
• 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Stereo 2.0 options for the English presentation with optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Stereo 2.0 audio for the Italian presentation with optional newly translated English subtitles
• Brand-new interview with actor Rutger Hauer, recorded exclusively for this release
• Interview with screenwriter Tullio Kezich
• Theatrical trailer

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: New writing on the film by Helen Chambers, author of Joseph Roth in Retrospect: Co-existent Contradictions

The Legend of the Holy Drinker is released on dual format (DVD & Blu-ray) by Arrow Academy on 25 September.

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