Ludwig (4-Disc Limited Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD]
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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.
A string of masterpieces behind him including Ossessione, Senso, The Leopard and Death in Venice the great Italian director Luchino Visconti turned his attentions to the life and death of King Ludwig II of Bavaria in 1972, resulting in an epic of 19th century decadence.
Dominated by Helmut Berger (The Damned, The Bloodstained Butterfly) in the title role, Ludwig nevertheless manages to find room for an impressive cast list: Romy Schneider (reprising her Elisabeth of Austria characterisation from the Sissi trilogy), Silvana Mangano (Bitter Rice), Gert Fröbe (Goldfinger), John Moulder-Brown (Deep End) and Trevor Howard (Brief Encounter) as Richard Wagner.
As opulent as any of Visconti s epics Piero Tosi s costume design was nominated for an Academy Award Ludwig is presented here in its complete form in accordance with the director s wishes and features the English-language soundtrack for the first ever on home video.
LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS:
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector s booklet containing new writing by Peter Cowie
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Top Customer Reviews
Ludwig (1973) is possibly my favorite film by Visconti, possibly a tie with the Leopard (1963). In many ways, I see Ludwig as an alternate take from the Leopard on a deteriorating ruling class. This film has several haunting moments complemented by the lush colors (contrasting with the dark subject matter). Helmut Berger's acting is excellent, as well as Romy Schneider (the Empress of Austria). I think this film is a must have for any fan of Visconti.
While I was nervous when ordering this film since my past experiences with foreign films that were distributed by companies that weren't Criterion were not good, I was still eager for this new version of Ludwig to be released since the only other option was an older DVD that would often go for $50 or more. My concerns were unfounded because this edition of Ludwig is fantastic and on a similar quality level as those produced by Criterion.
The transfer of the film is well done.
The set includes the film on two Blu-rays (at 4K and 1080p) that play on region A Blu-ray players as well two DVDs (720p) that play on region 1 DVD players. If you are an American buyer, you do not have to worry about this edition not playing. The film itself has two versions: A full-length theatrical version divided in two parts and a five-part version intended for TV (which is the same length as the full-length version). The set also comes with a booklet (similar to what comes with some Criterion films) and is contained inside of a good quality box.
I highly recommend the film Ludwig and this edition of it. I hope that more of Visconti's films are given the treatment that the Leopard, and now Ludwig, have received.
Then there is the overuse of filters, making the scenes so dark that they are hardly intelligible. When they are intelligible, these scenes seem to have a silly, empty meaning.
The narrative line is carried along by Berger (so who else?), but the poor man is given very little to work with. Example: Ludwig becomes aware of a household lackey, why we are not quite sure. Poor lackey goes about his work: all the while Ludwig broods. The audience is never quite sure why. The young mans assets are never observed as Ludwig may have observed them with stolen glances.
Berger has been directed to appear weak and somewhat effeminate. For dramatic action the audience demands much more for the tale of the film to take on the tragic proportions we spoke of above. So we are left with an inconsequential ending when it could have been an ending worthy of using parts of Vangelis Mythodea as music for the final spiritual torture and climax.
Had another actor attempted the role, the possibility of his being directed to be a little larger than life would have given the audience a real feeling for the tragic forces at play. The scenes with cousin Elizabeth are just not believable. She, however, carries things along. But her responses to this piece of limp celery are not believable. They would have been believable, had Ludwig been somewhat of a stud. Had he been, the impact of the forces that tore him apart would have been all the more real and deeply affecting.
We did like the movie. The costumes and sets were magnificent. That is sort of like saying that one likes a restaurant because of its ambiance. Again, direction! What of the scenes in which Ludwig is preparing to be crowned king? In particular, one scene has a number of women of the court literally bunched together with their long trains in the close space of an antechamber. Their closeness to one another made one think of a dressing room at a venue in Las Vegas rather than a space in palace.
It is these continuing jars, shocks to ones sensibilities that helps to render this story telling rather low grade in impact.
Theres no question that Ludwig had a problem and a story; but we not once during the film gave up our disbelief of the action in front of us. We hoped that a character would come out of the Visconti gloom who would make the action plausible. Never came.
In all, the film will provide opportunity for endless speculation as to how this sad tale should really be presented.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ludwig was a nut case with a crush on his Aunt Sissi
played perfectly by Romi Schneider.Read more
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