Beautiful, Operatic, Loony, Ludwig On DVD!

Dennis Dermody

Out now on DVD is the beautiful, operatic, loony, Ludwig ( Luchino Visconti's 1972 lavishly filmed version of the life of Ludwig II (Helmut Berger) the mad king of Bavaria. Ludwig, was obsessed with Richard Wagner, and even became his patron for a while. He also built elaborate fairy tale castles for himself (at the country's expense), where Visconti actually filmed. There are astounding scenes at the end with Ludwig and his beautiful boy toys in swan boats floating in an underground moat that are fabulously decadent. The ravishing Romy Schneider plays his cousin, Empress Elisabeth of Austria, who can't control Ludwig's escalating madness and manias. This is perfect material for the aristocratic visionary director Visconti (The Leopard, Death In Venice) who leisurely films this doomed king. At a running time of 237 minutes this is an artistic epic. Sweeping and strange and utterly fascinating; the disc quality is superb, and it's thrilling to finally own this rarely seen masterful film.

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