Historical evocation of Ludwig, king of Bavaria, from his crowning in 1864 until his death in 1886, as a romantic hero. Fan of Richard Wagner, betrayed by him, in love with his cousin ... See full summary »
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A dramatic retelling of the life of Ludwig II, King of Bavaria, one of the most fascinating monarchs of modern times. From his accession to the throne at the age of 18 to his passionate ... See full summary »
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Historical evocation of Ludwig, king of Bavaria, from his crowning in 1864 until his death in 1886, as a romantic hero. Fan of Richard Wagner, betrayed by him, in love with his cousin Elisabeth of Austria, abandonned by her, tormented by his homosexuality, he will little by little slip towards madness. Written by
Ludwig. He loved women. He loved men. He lived as controversially as he ruled. But he did not care what the world thought. He was the world. From Luchino Visconti, the director of "The Damned" and "Death in Venice". Once again your eyes will be opened.
After playing Elisabeth of Austria in the Sissi trilogy in the fifties, Romy Schneider made clear she didn't want to have anything to do with the Austrian empress anymore, claiming the character ruined her career as an actress because everyone subsequently wanted to see her in romantic roles. She only agreed to appear in Ludwig (1972) as a favor to Luchino Visconti who was a very good friend of hers. See more »
"Ludwig" follows the story of the last king of Bavaria, from the early splendor of his reign to the final decadence that leads him to his downfall. The plot is full of overly dramatic, if not downright operatic elements that would fall flat if they were not handled by a superb cast. Yet, Visconti was famous for getting absolutely magical performances from his actors. As usual it happened because of his enormous affection for the actor's work. It becomes obvious in his biographies, in memoirs and interviews by actors who worked with him, and especially in documentaries like the making of "Death in Venice," that he saw actors as a major element of his work, not as an unfortunately necessary nuisance. He was known to give actors great liberty to create, which never fails to be the way truly great directors work. Ingmar Bergman is known to work the same way, both in films and in the theater. And so was François Truffaut.
There are some amazing performances in "Ludwig," both by well known actors like Silvana Mangano, who was capable of turning what was ultimately a bit part into solid gold, and by a number of extraordinary actors whose faces are not immediately recognizable to the audience, like the Ministers of State discussing the political future of Bavaria early in the film.
But even someone who has seen many great performances by film actors, past and present, is met with something new while watching John Moulder-Brown as Prince Otto, the king's younger brother, a breathtaking, deeply disturbing performance that ended up being one of the film's biggest assets. I would like to comment his big scene towards the middle of the film. But since it involves a sudden, somewhat unexpected change in the plot, I would be creating a spoiler.
If, like me, you think that in "Ludwig" John Moulder-Brown (who was only 19 when it was made) comes up with one of the greatest performances by an actor in film history, I would like to share this with you: http://waitsfortherain.livejournal.com/2003/06/03/
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