Ludwig IIHelmut Käutner's gradiose portait of Bavaria's fairy-tale monarch
Ludwig II relates the turbulent life of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the "Mad King", one of the most eccentric and fascinating personalities of modern European history.
Beloved by his people, young Ludwig has little interest in wars and conquests; his passion is music, and his fanatic devotion to Wagner begins to alienate even his most fervent admirers.
Increasingly lonely, he finds solace in his beloved cousin Sissy, Empress of Austria. After surrendering Bavaria to Bismarck's Reich, he withdraws into his own fantasy world, devoting all of his time to the castles which will make him immortal - and bankrupt his kingdom. Declared insane, he is deposed, arrested and found dead a few days later...
Helmut Käutner (The Last Bridge) drew on some of the finest post-war talent for his gripping portrait: O.W. Fischer as Ludwig, Ruth Leuwerik as Sissi, and, in his first major film role, Klaus Kinski as Prince Otto. Käutner not only won over Herbert von Karajan to conduct Wagner's music, but also convinced the Bavarian royal family to let him film in Ludwig's fairy-tale castles.