O. W. Fischer stars as Ludwig II, the "mad king" of Bavaria. The film downplays some of Ludwig's most outrageous eccentricities, concentrating instead on his fascination with the Arts. The King's particular favorite in this realm is composer Richard Wagner, played by Paul Bildt. Ludwig's obsession with Wagner bordered on the psychotic, a fact that the film only slightly modifies. Ruth Leuwerik costars as Kaiserin Elizabeth, the wife of Austrian emperor Franz Joseph, with whom Ludwig carried on an ill-advised affair. Also appearing is Friedrich Domin as the great German political leader Bismarck, the man who set the stage for Ludwig's ultimate downfall. Ludwig II was filmed on location in and around the Mad King's opulent castle, which now stands as a popular tourist attraction.
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