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Ludwig (1973)

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2:17 | Clip
The reign of the tormented Ludwig, king of Bavaria, from 1864 to 1886.

Director:

Luchino Visconti

Writers:

Luchino Visconti (story and screenplay), Enrico Medioli (story and screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Helmut Berger ... Ludwig
Romy Schneider ... Elisabeth of Austria
Trevor Howard ... Richard Wagner
Silvana Mangano ... Cosima Von Bülow
Gert Fröbe ... Father Hoffman
Helmut Griem ... Dürckheim
Izabella Telezynska Izabella Telezynska ... Queen Mother
Umberto Orsini ... Count Von Holnstein
John Moulder-Brown ... Prince Otto (as John Moulder Brown)
Sonia Petrovna ... Sophie (as Sonia Petrova)
Folker Bohnet Folker Bohnet ... Joseph Kainz
Heinz Moog Heinz Moog ... Professor Von Gudden
Adriana Asti ... Lila Von Buliowski
Marc Porel ... Richard Hornig
Nora Ricci ... Countess Ida Ferenczy
Learn more

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Storyline

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 Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Luchino Visconti suffered a stroke during filming. See more »

Quotes

Ludwig: But it's easier to fight a duel than to write a letter.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Complete original European version runs 236 minutes; shortened to 173 minutes for US release. See more »

Connections

Follows Death in Venice (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

La Périchole
Written by Jacques Offenbach
See more »

User Reviews

 
Full of beauty and romanticism.
25 May 2011 | by RueiroSee all my reviews

For many many years I wanted to see this movie, a film you never get to see on TV or at a Visconti retrospective at the NFT or one of the Curzon cinemas here in London. Perhaps it is so because this film has been so much underrated by critics and public that it drags far behind the director's most famous and praised works (The Leopard, Rocco, La Terra Trema, etc).

I read in a biography of the director that "Ludwig" was a mammoth project that took four production companies from different countries to put up the budget, it obsessed and consumed Visconti to the the extent of almost killing him when he suffered a stroke as a result of long working hours and too much mental strain, went well over schedule and budget and finally was taken away from the author's hands by the producers and butchered and re-edited in order to make it shorter, simpler and more viably commercial. The result was a mess almost half of the length of the original and with a lot of key scenes missing, presenting an inconsistent story full of plot holes and with characters appearing now and then from nowhere. It took several years after Visconti's death for his usual collaborators (d'Amico, Nanuzzi) to gather the missing sequences and re-edit the film into a cut as close to Visconti's idea as it could be. The result is a a DVD edition of 228 minutes. This movie, visually speaking, is with "Death in Venice" probably Visconti's most beautiful,lavish and rich in colours and small details. As to the story, I agree with other viewers on the fact that it is a bit too overlong and it drags at places and some sequences could have been shorter without the plot missing anything. But then it seems like Visconti deliberately wanted to give it that sedate pacing in order to suit the dreamlike mental state of the protagonist during his reclusion in his castles and his lapses into his own fantasy world. In order to understand better Ludwig's personality I read one of his many biographies after watching the movie for the first time, and then I watched it again, and I could appreciate better Visconti's approach to the character. I think this is a movie worth of its director, and even with its flaws and extreme length it deserves better criticism and appreciation than it unfairly got since it first came out in 1972.

Helmut Berger is quite good here and has a remarkable resemblance to the real Ludwig, Romy Schneider is as beautiful as ever and the real Bavarian locations are breathtaking. The night sequence with Ludwig and Elizabeth riding in the snowy forest in the moonlight is one of the most beautiful and romantic I have ever seen in film. The cinematography alone makes "Ludwig" worth watching if you like beautiful things.

Hopefully this movie has gained some appreciation and seems to be getting better reviews nowadays that it did in the past. Many call it Visconti's lost masterpiece. Although I don't think it is one of his greatest works thematically speaking, it surely stands among the most beautiful and lyrical and it is one of my favourite choices for a long winter evening.


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Details

Country:

Italy | France | West Germany | Monaco

Language:

Italian | German | French

Release Date:

8 March 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ludwig: The Mad King of Bavaria See more »

Filming Locations:

Bavaria, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original) | (original) | (original) | (Press Sheet)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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