Helmut acquits himself well here, and Romy is sheer perfection as the older, more cynical SISSI, while Trevor Howard and Mangano are ideal as the Wagners. Then there are all those attractive footmen as Ludwig battles his proclivities ... As with all Visconti films costume dramas don't get more opulent, and our perennial favourite Romy is simply stunning as the older Sissi.
It was great seeing it initially on the large screen at a London Film Festival back then, watching at home it may be too long to see all at once, but ideal in chunks as the opulence washes over one ... its certainly up there with the other Visconti classics like SENSO, THE LEOPARD, L'INNOCENTE ...
Its a terrific package, with a 60 page booklet, a 1999 hour-long documentary on Visconti, when a lot of those who worked with him were still living and interviewed here, a documentary on Mangano and the full version of the film, in two parts, at almost 4 hours (238 minutes) or a 5 part TV version. There's also a new interview with Helmut Berger ..... Essential, then, As one review says:
Among the scenes you’re most likely to remember – from all the versions – will be Ludwig’s wooing of the young actor Kainz in that glorious underground grotto with the swans and that charming little love boat, and Elizabeth’s visit to Ludwig’s most famous castle in the room with all those mirrors. Visually the film is a near-constant treat, with sets and costumes as gloriously garish and/or stunning as you’ll have seen. And then there’s that hunting lodge scene with all the young men perched atop and around the limbs of the giant tree that grows in the middle of the lodge.