Film Review: Ludwig (1973)

Arrow Academy is definitely hit or miss for me when it comes to purchasing their releases for my collection. This tends to be Arrow’s “classy” lineup, so I don’t think I’m classy enough for it. Maybe I’m just European enough. I don’t know anymore. While I wouldn’t rush out to get the thirty dollar four disc limited edition release of this film, I am glad I got to check it out.

Luchino Visconti is a fairly well known director in European circles. He has made some movies with pretty well known stars too. Ludwig is his four hour epic biopic about the King of Bavaria. It was nominated for an Academy Award back in the day. At four hours long, I’m not interested in sitting through it again. It is, however, a well made and cool piece of history. There are people out there that need this film. Many of them are probably not reading this site though.

So in the interest of brevity and efficiency, I will tell you that this guy makes big movies. This is an impressive sweeping epic when it comes to writing, photographing, and directing. It is a huge piece of history with some cool and controversial issues being tackled. It employs fairly famous actors from films of the horror and exploitation genres. As far as the release goes, the Arrow experts know great films. They cover them in all genres and varieties, which I greatly respect. So I can also very easily respect the fans of such films. As I am no expert though, I will leave the rest to Arrow and the trailer below.

**From ARROW VIDEO: 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.**



  • 4K restoration from the original film negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Two viewing options: the full-length theatrical cut or as five individual parts
  • Original Italian soundtrack with optional English subtitles
  • Original English soundtrack available on home video for the first time ever

with optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing

  • Brand-new interview with actor Helmut Berger
  • Luchino Visconti, an hour-long documentary portrait of the director by Carlo Lizzani (Wake Up and Kill, Requiescant) containing interviews with Burt Lancaster, Vittorio Gassman, Francesco Rosi, Claudia Cardinale and others
  • Speaking with Suso Cecchi d’Amico, an interview with the screenwriter Silvana Mangano: The Scent Of A Primrose, a half-hour portrait of the actress
  • Theatrical trailer


FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector s booklet containing new writing by Peter Cowie

Author: Steven Paul

Born and raised in Michigan, slowly dying in Florida. I'm here to keep you informed about everything in the world of indie horror. I also specialize in all genres of exploitation, cult, and extreme cinema. As part owner and Editor of Film and Television for Beneath the Underground, it is my responsibility to provide vast amounts of information for the horror fan and an outlet for the filmmaker.

Share This Post On