A dramatic retelling of the life of Ludwig II, King of Bavaria, one of the most fascinating monarchs of modern times. From his accession to the throne at the age of 18 to his passionate support of Richard Wagner and his music. From his ingenuous political commitment to his obsessive construction of extravagant palaces and to his gradual withdrawal into a lonely dream world, an epic narrative of breathtaking grandeur.
In the last years of his life, Bavarian king Ludwig II (1845 – 1886) devotes himself to ambitious architectural projects, which strain the state coffers to the extreme. The monarch, who is afraid of people, also withdraws more and more into a dream world at his various castles. His brother is already in a psychiatric institute and Ludwig is also eventually put under the care of psychiatrist Bernhard von Gudden. The king attempts to get out from under this guardianship at Starnberg lake…
Ludwig II of Bavaria, more commonly known by his nicknames the Swan King or the Dream King, is a legendary figure - the handsome boy-king, loved by his people, betrayed by his cabinet and found dead in tragic and mysterious circumstances. He spent his life in pursuit of the ideal of beauty, an ideal that found expression in three of the most extraordinary, ornate architectural schemes imaginable - the castle of Neuschwanstein and the palaces of Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee. Today, these three buildings are among Germany's biggest tourist attractions. Dan Cruickshank explores the rich aesthetic of Ludwig II - from the mock-medievalism of Neuschwanstein, the iconic fairytale castle that became the inspiration for the one in Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty, to the rich Baroque splendour of Herrenchiemsee, Ludwig's answer to Versailles. Dan argues that Ludwig's castles are more than flamboyant kitsch and are, in fact, the key to unravelling the eternal enigma of Ludwig II.
I want to remain an eternal mystery to myself and the others ... The myth of King Ludwig II is unbroken even more than 125 years after his death. The 85-minute documentary, released in 2012 with beautiful aerial photographs, provides detailed information on the genesis and background of the royal palaces of Neuschwanstein, Linderhof, Herrenchiemsee and Hohenschwangau.