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Ludwig (1973)

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Movie Poster
Country FRA.jpg France
ITA.jpg Italy
GER.jpg West Germany
Directed by Luchino Visconti
Release Date January 18, 1973
Language German
Studio Mega Film
Dieter Geissler Filmproduktion
Distributor Panta Cinematografica Distribuzione
Gloria Filmverleih
Main Cast
Character Actor
Ludwig II of Bavaria Helmut Berger
Empress Elisabeth of Austria Romy Schneider
Richard Wagner Trevor Howard
Cosima von Bülow Silvana Mangano
Pater Hoffmann Gert Fröbe
Count Dürckheim Helmut Griem
Joseph Kainz Folker Bohnet

Ludwig is a 1973 French-German-Italian movie directed by Luchino Visconti (Senso '45, The Leopard) and deals with the life and decline of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. At just 19, Bavaria's fairytale King Ludwig II ascends the throne. He is less interested in diplomacy than in the fine arts. He becomes a generous sponsor of artists and musicians, especially Richard Wagner. But the hoped-for thanks are missing. Bitterly he withdraws and hardly cares about government affairs. Only with his cousin Elisabeth of Austria does he find a soul mate who sticks to him but does not return his love. Thereupon Ludwig Sissis married Sophie. He commissioned huge buildings, but his huge dream castles swallowed up enormous amounts. Finally, he is declared mentally ill and disempowered due to his "wastefulness".

Romy Schneider celebrated her breakthrough through the Sissi films in the 1950s, in which she portrayed a rather romanticized version of the empress. Later, she moved away from this image through European art films and more serious roles. That is why Schneider was initially skeptical when she was again offered the Austrian empress role, this time by her close friend Visconti. Before accepting, she made sure that Sissi in this film would not appear romanticized, but disillusioned and sometimes cynical, as the real Empress Elisabeth was also portrayed by contemporaries and historians.

The story was retold in the 2012 movie with Sabin Tambrea as the titular character.

The following weapons were used in the film Ludwig:

Podewils-Lindner M1858/67

Most of the Bavarian soldiers can be seen carrying Podewils-Lindner M1858/67 rifles.

Infanteriegewehr M/1858/67 Muster I - 13.9mm
One of Ludwig's guards patrolling with his slung Podewils-Lindner Rifle. All Bavarian soldiers in the movie are seen wearing the Pickelhaube spiked helmet which is historically incorrect as these helmets were only introduced after the death of King Ludwig II who resisted recognizing this hated Prussian headgear. Instead, the Raupenhelm dragoon helmet should be worn by them.
Three more guards standing near the entrance stairs of Neuschwanstein Castle as Elisabeth of Austria (Romy Schneider) has arrived to visit Ludwig.
A Bavarian Feldwebel (Sergeant) at the castle's gates fires his rifle into the air to scare back approaching von Holnstein, Hesselschwerd (Gernot Möhner), Prof. von Gudden, and Crailsheim (Wolfram Schaerf). Although the mechanism of the rifle does not move, two firing sounds are heard in rapid succession.
Another soldier opens a door while holding his rifle in his left hand which offers a view of the left side.
The upper parts including the Lindner system are visible.
A close-up of the Tüllenbajonett M1858/67 bayonet and muzzle.

Unknown Carbines

During Ludwig's (Helmut Berger) stay in Berg Palace at Lake Starnberg in 1886, several soldiers are armed with unknown carbines.

Springfield Model 1847 Musketoon - .69 Smoothbore; for comparison
Ludwig and von Holnstein walked past a soldier standing inside the palace.
A carbine of the radio operator leaning against the wall shows the rear part. Note that Bavarian and Prussian muskets/rifles from this period have the sling attached to the trigger guard.
A full view of the same rifle. The bayonet seen in the soldier's scabbard appears to be a Seitengewehr M1869 for the Werder Rifle.

Rast & Gasser M1898

Count von Holnstein (Umberto Orsini) takes an Austro-Hungarian Rast-Gasser M1898 revolver to search for Ludwig II (Helmut Berger) and Professor Bernhard von Gudden (Heinz Moog). This unresolved incident happened on June 13, 1886, so the appearance of this revolver is clearly an anachronism. A Reichsrevolver M1879 would be more accurate for this time period.

Rast & Gasser Modell 1898 - 8x27mm Gasser
The revolver in his right hand after removing it from a drawer.
"If I find him..."
Von Holnstein checks the chambers by rotaiting the cylinder.
"...I'll shoot once in the air to let you know."
He raised it in the air to explain to the deputies how the search should proceed. Note the missing lanyard ring on the bottom of the grip.

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