3 hours 55 minutes
'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.'
As you know, I'm becoming a bit of a King Ludwig II freak. I have indeed been to his most famous castle, Neuschwanstein, in Germany but at the time I was there I knew nothing about Ludwig. I did become interested after that visit but it wasn't until last year that I really got hooked on his whole story. (Read my nattering thoughts HERE.) My sister has gotten me three books, and now Kevin has sent me this movie. I love my enablers!
Well I finally got a chance to watch this beast of a movie today and, well, I need more. I want to watch this again already! I say it's a beast because not only is it nearly four hours long but it is Italian AND it's from 1973. There were a lot of obstacles to overcome in trying to settle in and watch this. I knew nothing about this movie, the director, or any of the cast as I went into it. I was very quickly smitten with 'Ludwig,' actor Helmut Berger. (He's old and fat now, and apparently crazy so I don't want to know him from anything else but Ludwig. LOL)
The biggest problem I had with the movie is the switching back and forth from English to Italian. I had it set on the English option, with an additional setting for English subtitles where Italian portions would be. I wondered what that meant but didn't care too much. I was happy to see that it was actual footage with them speaking English, not some cheesy voice-over. But then it kept randomly switching back to Italian. I mean like, in the middle of scenes, or lengthy chunks of time, and then suddenly would switch back to English. That was a bit annoying and hard to follow. I think when I watch it again it'll be easier to accept since I know what it's like now. Oh, and the Italian parts *were* cheesy voice-overs, which I really don't understand because isn't it an Italian film? Oh well.
I loved the first half of the film, going through Ludwig's earlier years as king. I love how he was portrayed. He appeared quite normal then, although some quirks were already there. Loved his little hissy fits he had. It showed how there was promise and potential for him in those early years, how he seemed to at least try to do what was expected of him. This younger Ludwig showed a range of emotions too but it broke my heart when he found out Richard Wagner was a greedy, lying, manipulative bastard. I said in my other post, after reading the books, that there can be no story of Ludwig without including the composer Wagner, and I also said I found him to be a complete dick. He is a raging dick in this movie! I freakin' hated him, which made it so much more heartbreaking that Ludwig was blinded by him.
I have mixed feelings about the ending. I was really wondering which way they'd go with it, and was somewhat relieved that they didn't actually show what happened. But then the very end, the very last line of the whole film was one of the anti-Ludwig officials quickly proclaiming it was suicide. I was a bit disappointed in the scenes of them actually going to take Ludwig into custody. It was sort of rushed again, and a lot of emotional things that could have been included just weren't. They showed him as pretty much a raving madman by then but the accounts I've read portray him quite differently. I was glad to see they brought him back to sane and sassy once they had him at Berg castle.
Anyway, I'm absolutely thrilled to have finally watched this movie, and I am definitely going to watch it again. And I really really REALLY wish someone would make a new movie about King Ludwig II's story. For now, I leave you with this lovely little video I found on YouTube, showing the many faces and emotions of Ludwig in this particular movie. (Sorry if it shows up too large.)