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Category:    Home > Reviews > Biography > Biopic > Royalty > Romance > Gay > Homosexual > Italy > Ludwig: Limited Edition (1973/Visconti/MVD Visual/Arrow Blu-ray w/DVD 4-disc set)

Ludwig: Limited Edition (1973/Visconti/MVD Visual/Arrow Blu-ray w/DVD 4-disc set)

Picture: B+/B- Sound: B+/B- Extras: B Film (both cuts): C+

Director Luchino Visconti's (Death in Venice, Senso) slow moving Ludwig (1973) is the latest addition to Arrow's deluxe Blu-ray library set, making it a must have for fans of the film, as well as Visconti's elaborate career. While I wasn't the big fan of the film, it looks amazing on Blu-ray disc and this edition is loaded with a lot of great extras and cool facts on the making of the film.

The film stars Helmut Berger, Romy Schneider, Trevor Howard, and Silvana Mangano to name a few. Ludwig is the Historical evocation of the King of Bavaria, from his crowning in 1864 until his tragic death in 1886, as a romantic hero. Fan of Richard Wagner, betrayed by him, in love with his cousin Elisabeth of Austria, abandoned by her, tormented by his homosexuality, Ludwig wrestles with his unraveling madness while trying to tighten his reign.

The film has two different viewing options - either the full-length theatrical cut or as five individual pieces. The full duration is a staggering 257 minutes (the originally intended full-length version) so you'll have to watch this one on your day off more than likely if you want the full uninterrupted experience.

The presentation on Blu-ray disc is up to Arrow's high standards are is a 2K restoration from the original film negative, which has aged like a fine wine. Presented in 1080p high definition and widescreen 2.35:1 scope format (real 35mm anamorphic Panavision; Technicolor made prints, but MGM may not have issued 3-strip dye-transfer copies in the U.S. market) with impressive color and paired with the original PCM Mono 1.0 Italian soundtrack (w English subs) or the original English soundtrack available on home video for the first time ever with optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Also included is the standard definition DVD version of the film that looks fine but lacks the detail and definition that the Blu-ray has to offer with an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a mono Italian track with English dubs.

Special Features...

A 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 the great film scholar Peter Cowie

Collectible packaging

If you're a fan of historical epics (or Visconti) and don't mind a slow moving film, then you may want to check this disc set out.

- James Lockhart



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