I saw a lovely German movie (auf Deutsch, aber mit subtitles) last week called “Ludwig II.” I have since discovered that there have been a bunch of German movies about this particular king, so this one may have been a bit of a bore for those who have seen the other ones, but this was my first movie about the “Mad” King of Bavaria, and I quite liked it.
The movie spends a lot of time on one particularly interesting aspect of Ludwig’s life, and that was his patronage of the composer Wagner. Later in Wagner’s life, he was living in hiding, on the run from creditors and the authorities for failing to pay his debts and having revolutionary and otherwise scandalous political connections. When Ludwig II became king, he immediately summoned Wagner to Munich and took him in, paying off his debts and encouraging him to continue to compose. It was under Ludwig’s patronage that Wagner composed his later works Tristan and Isolde, Die Meistersinger, and the Ring.
Young King Ludwig, only 18 at the time of his coronation, was deeply enamored of Wagner and his music. Ludwig was a passionate and sensitive man who deeply loved music and the arts. During their relationship as composer and patron, Ludwig wrote a series of heartfelt letters to Wagner, expressing his love and devotion to the composer.
My one Friend, my ardently beloved!
This afternoon, at 3.30, I returned from a glorious tour in Switzerland! How this land delighted me! – There I found your dear letter; deepest warmest thanks for the same. With new and burning enthusiasm has it filled me; I see that the beloved marches boldly and confidently forward, towards our great and eternal goal.
All hindrances I will victoriously overcome like a hero. I am entirely at thy disposal; let me now dutifully prove it. – Yes, we must meet and speak together. I will banish all evil clouds; Love has strength for all. You are the star that shines upon my life, and the sight of you ever wonderfully strengthens me. – Ardently I long for you, O my presiding Saint, to whom I pray! I should be immensely pleased to see my friend here in about a week; oh, we have plenty to say! If only I could quite banish from me the curse of which you speak, and send it back to the deeps of night from whence it sprang! – How I love, how I love you, my one, my highest good! . . .
My enthusiasm and love for you are boundless. Once more I swear you faith till death!
Ever, ever your devoted
From what I’ve read, modern historians generally concur that Ludwig was a homosexual, though this seems to remain somewhat controversial. Whether he had romantic affections for Wagner is unclear simply from his letters, but it is obvious he felt a very close connection to the composer. The movie portrays them as having more of a father/son relationship, which seems more reasonable to me based on their significant age difference.
Another enjoyable thing about the movie was the serious man candy. Deutschland is seriously bringing the hotties.
My favorite had to be Friedrich Muecke, the actor playing Richard Hornig, Ludwig’s Master of the Horse and one of his lovers. I’ve never seen this guy before, but I’ll take two, please! Do any of our German readers know of any other well-known movies this gentleman has been in that might be available in the US? Staring at this picture is making me hornig.
Source: Letter from http://rictornorton.co.uk/ludwig.htm