(aka 'Le Crépuscule des dieux' or Ludwig' or 'Ludwig II ')

Directed by Luchino Visconti
USA 1972

 

  Visconti’s 1972 film is a lavish and operatic portrait of Ludwig II, the ‘Mad King’ of Bavaria. From his glittering coronation to his mysterious suicide, Ludwig II (1845-86) epitomised the doomed nineteenth-century Romantic hero. A loner by nature, he was tormented by his unrequited love for his cousin, Empress Elisabeth of Austria, who sensed his true sexual nature and fragile grip on reality. But as war raged around him, Ludwig’s sole obsession remained the visionary music of Richard Wagner, and he retreated more and more into a fantasy world, alarming his ministers through his irrational behaviour, neglect of state affairs and lavish expenditure on several fairytale castles. Judged unfit to rule, Ludwig was declared insane.

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 29th, 1972

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

 Infinity Arthouse - Region 0 - PAL vs. Kinowelt Home Entertainment - Region 2,8 - PAL

(Infinity Arthouse - Region 0 - PAL LEFT vs. Kinowelt Home Entertainment - Region 2,8 - PAL RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

   

 

Distribution Infinity Arthouse - Region 0 - PAL Kinowelt Home Entertainment - Region 2,8 - PAL
Runtime 3:47:51  Total = 4:07:13
Video 2.30 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.32 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
2.35 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.64 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: Infinity

Bitrate: Kinowelt Disc 1

Bitrate: Kinowelt Disc 2

Audio Italian (Mono)  Italian (Mono), German (Mono) 
Subtitles English, None German, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Infinity Arthouse

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.30:1

Edition Details:

• The Scent Of A Primrose Silvana Mangano (31:11)
• Italian Portraits Suso Cecchi DAmic (48:10)
• Documentary On Luchino Visconti Directed By Carlos Lizzani (1:00:46)

DVD Release Date: June 19th, 2006

Double Slim Transparent Keep Case inside slipcase
Chapters: 24

Release Information:
Studio: Kinowelt Home Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Documentary On Luchino Visconti Directed By Carlos Lizzani (with German subtitles) (1:00:34)

DVD Release Date: Oct 13th, 2000

Double Slim Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 36 (in total)

 

 

Comments:

ADDITION: Kinowelt - Region 2, 8 PAL - June 06': A moot comparison for many as the German edition has no English subtitles.

The image of the Kinowelt is obviously superior - It is anamorphic, where the Infinity is not, and I trust the colors more - the Infinity appear to have a brownish haze over them and are artificially brightened in many segments. The Infinity is cropped on all 4 sides.

We have a time difference of about 20 minutes on these but the Kinowelt includes the title screen indicating which of the 5 parts you are watching plus the closing credits for that particular section so I am not 100% convinced that the Infinity has left anything out... although it is possible. The divided segments are helpful in viewing as one tends to need the breaks in my opinion.

Extras - The Kinowelt has the same Visconti documentary (German subtitles) as the Infinity, but the UK disc includes two others AND they all have English subtitles.

If you understand German or Italian then we suggest the Kinowelt - but the Infinity has excellent extra features and, we'll assume for the time being, that it shows the entire film uncut (excepting title segments and respective closing credits).

***

For a film with occasional handsome visuals it is really a shame that this Infinity Arthouse DVD is NOT anamorphic. There is also a border circumventing the frame reducing the horizontal resolution. So there is some weakness inherent in the transfer - skin tones can tend to look too red at time, there is digital noise and some visible artifacts. On the positive some close-ups have decent detail. Overall the lack of 16X9 enhancement is unfortunate but not totally fatal for enjoying the film. Another complaint would be the optional subtitles which are quite large and intrusive - it appears as though Infinity Arthouse did not do their homework to bring out the beauty of Visconti's lengthy masterpiece. The very low bitrate supports these inferiorities. If disc space was the excuse then I personally would rather have seen this film spread over two DVDs.  

I understand that this film was originally cut by 30 minutes and I can't quite be sure which version this represents. The longest version listed at IMdb would be roughly 4 hours and this would coincide with this DVD at 3:47 (being reduced by 4% for PAL speedup). Regardless, it is a very long film. 

The best thing about this DVD package are the 2nd disc of extras. 3 features about Visconti are included.... and they are all interesting. The documentary on Visconti is almost an hour long and goes through Visconti's films with many short clips  - Burt Lancaster and others make some comments in between. We also have a portrait (Suso Cecchi DAmic) and The Scent Of A Primrose, which although only 30 minutes I enjoyed the most with many talking heads reminiscing about Luchino, his films and other Italian filmmakers including Pasolini. All 3 features are in Italian and subtitled in English. 

RE: the film - Visconti appears obsessed with the darker side of bourgeoisie decadence. I really got into parts of this film but for me, personally, it was quite long with some tedious and uninteresting segments. Much of the atmosphere is very dark with many close-ups and those appreciative of this style of filmmaking will have a better chance of lasting through in one session. It might be advisable for those who are not familiar with the film to prepare themselves to view over 2 segments. I certainly don't think this is Visconti's best film but it does have merit as an intelligent exploration of madness. Those keen on classical music will love the score that is almost constantly playing Wagner and Schumann throughout.

Gary W. Tooze

 





DVD Menus

 

(Infinity Arthouse - Region 0 - PAL LEFT vs. Kinowelt Home Entertainment - Region 2,8 - PAL RIGHT)


 

Subsequent menus

 

(Infinity Arthouse - Region 0 - PAL LEFT vs. Kinowelt Home Entertainment - Region 2,8 - PAL RIGHT)


 


Subtitle Sample

 

(Infinity Arthouse - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Kinowelt Home Entertainment - Region 2,8 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

NOTE: NOT exact frame match

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

(Infinity Arthouse - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Kinowelt Home Entertainment - Region 2,8 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Infinity Arthouse - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Kinowelt Home Entertainment - Region 2,8 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Infinity Arthouse - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Kinowelt Home Entertainment - Region 2,8 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Infinity Arthouse - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Kinowelt Home Entertainment - Region 2,8 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 
(Infinity Arthouse - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Kinowelt Home Entertainment - Region 2,8 - PAL BOTTOM)
 

 


 
(Infinity Arthouse - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Kinowelt Home Entertainment - Region 2,8 - PAL BOTTOM)
 

 


 
(Infinity Arthouse - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Kinowelt Home Entertainment - Region 2,8 - PAL BOTTOM)
 

 


Report Card:

 

Image:

Kinowelt

Sound:

Kinowelt offers German track as well

Extras: Infinity
Menu: -

 

DVD Box Cover

   

 

Distribution Infinity Arthouse - Region 0 - PAL Kinowelt Home Entertainment - Region 2,8 - PAL




 

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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

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