Kino Lorber has set a Sept. 6 Blu-ray Disc release date for He Who Must Die, the 1958 French-Italian drama from acclaimed director Jules Dassin, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay — Written Directly for the Screen for his film Never on Sunday.
The Blu-ray Disc edition of He Who Must Die carries a suggested retail price of $29.95 and includes new audio commentary by film historian and filmmaker Daniel Kremer, the original theatrical trailer, and optional English subtitles.
Dassin’s early work was for such major studios as RKO, MGM, Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox. Blacklisted during the McCarthy era, the director subsequently moved to France and then Greece, where he continued his work.
He Who Must Die, which was released two years before Never on Sunday, is set in a Turkish-occupied Greek village shortly after World War I. The film tells the story of the townspeople’s efforts to stage their Passion Play, an event that occurs once every seven years. The leading citizens choose who will play the parts: a stuttering young shepherd is chosen as Jesus; the town butcher as Judas; the town prostitute as Mary Magdalene. But as the movie unfolds, the Passion becomes a reality, and the villagers actualize their biblical roles against the tragic backdrop of a country uprooted by war and poverty.
Adapted by Dassin from Nikos Kazantzakis’s Christ Recrucified (the author also wrote Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ), the film asks the question, what would happen if Jesus came down to Earth a second time? The international cast includes Melina Mercouri, Pierre Vaneck, Jean Servais, Carl Möhner, Grégoire Aslan, Gert Fröbe, René Lefèvre, Roger Hanin, Nicole Berger, Maurice Ronet and Fernand Ledoux.