Caligula

Caligula

3.5 18
Director: Tinto Brass, Bob Guccione, Giancarlo Lui

Cast: Malcolm McDowell

     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

This lavish big-budget epic was the pinnacle of a uniquely Italian subgenre, the historical hardcore gore/porn extravaganza. The star-studded cast, perhaps lured by the high-profile involvement of producer Bob Guccione and screenwriter Gore Vidal, includes such luminaries as John Gielgud, Peter O'Toole, and Helen Mirren. Director Tinto Brass, whose similar treatment… See more details below

Overview

This lavish big-budget epic was the pinnacle of a uniquely Italian subgenre, the historical hardcore gore/porn extravaganza. The star-studded cast, perhaps lured by the high-profile involvement of producer Bob Guccione and screenwriter Gore Vidal, includes such luminaries as John Gielgud, Peter O'Toole, and Helen Mirren. Director Tinto Brass, whose similar treatment of Nazi Germany in Salon Kitty won him the job, did his best with the mammoth enterprise, but numerous production problems and re-edits took their toll on the finished product. When Caligula works best, it works because of Malcolm McDowell, whose crazed portrayal of the title Emperor is the embodiment of villainous corruption. McDowell raises his performance level to match the gaudy spectacle around him, which led to charges of overacting, but there are moments when he is absolutely riveting. Some of the cast doesn't fare as well, as O'Toole makes a particularly unsubtle Tiberius. The sex is graphic and steamy, particularly a feverish lesbian interlude between Penthouse Pets Lori Wagner and Marjorie Thorsen (using the pseudonym "Anneka di Lorenzo"), and the various carnival freaks used as atmosphere imbue the film with a grotesque, Fellini-like opulence. There are many memorable scenes and a magnificent score by Paul Clemente, but the heady brew of historical epic, hardcore sex, and gory violence proved overwhelming to many viewers. Still, Gore Vidal's script is surprisingly accurate, and manages to be entertainingly vulgar while bringing a rather loathsome slice of human history to vivid life, warts and all. The more explicit scenes were directed by Bob Guccione and Giancarlo Lui, causing both Vidal and Brass to remove their names from the credits.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Caligula could very well be the most difficult big-budget film ever made; "difficult" in the sense that despite possessing grand production values and a-list lead actors, it works hard to alienate the audience by burying them in a stream of unsympathetic characters, grotesque violence, and explicit sex. This would be a tough agenda to follow even if Caligula was a tight, confident piece of work. Unfortunately, it is not. The film was reedited several times by different editors before release (portions were also reshot or expanded) and the result is a jumbled mess where scenes appear out of logical order (note the continuity problems), other moments are clumsily redubbed to fit the new chronology and the pace lags throughout. Thus, Caligula is unlikely to hold the attention of a mainstream audience. However, devotees of the bizarre might find Caligula worth checking out, simply because of its sheer outrageousness. No film has ever tried to combine historical drama with such extreme content and the end result is perversely fascinating in segments. More importantly, Malcolm McDowell gives a gutsy, all-stops-out performance in the title role, creating a character that is riveting despite his thoroughly unsympathetic nature and holding the production together through sheer force-of-will. Caligula is guaranteed to alienate a large segment of the viewing public but a select few will be fascinated by its lavishly perverse style and the bombast of McDowell's performance.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/06/2009
UPC:
0014381499957
Original Release:
1979
Rating:
NR
Source:
Image Entertainment
Region Code:
ABC
Time:
2:36:00

Special Features

Disc 1:; New high-definition transfer of the unrated, uncensored feature film; Alternate pre-release version of the film, never seen before; Revealing new full-length audio commentaries with stars Malcolm McDowell and Helen Mirren; Startling audio commentary with on-set writer Ernest Volkman; Deleted and alternate scenes; Theatrical trailers; ; Disc 2:; Behind-the-scenes footage; Candid video interviews with director Tinto Brass and actors John Steiner and Lori Wagner; "The Making of Caligula" documentary (two versions); Hundreds of astonishing, never-before-seen photographs from the set; DVD-ROM extras including Gor Vidal's original screenplay, three Penthouse magazine features, an in interview with Bob Guccione; Liner notes booklet

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Malcolm McDowell Caligula
Teresa Ann Savoy Drusilla
Helen Mirren Cesonia
Peter O'Toole Tiberius
John Gielgud Nerva
John Steiner Longino
Paolo Bonacelli Cherea
Giancarlo Badessi Claudio
Adriana Asti Ennia
Leopoldo Trieste Caricle
Guido Mannari Macrone
Mirella D'Angelo Livia
Osiride Pevarello Giant
Lori Wagner Agrippina
Anneka Di Lorenzo Actor

Technical Credits
Tinto Brass Director,Cinematographer
Bob Guccione Director,Producer
Giancarlo Lui Director
Giuseppe Banchelli Makeup
Nino Baragli Editor
Paul Clemente Score Composer
Danilo Donati Art Director,Production Designer
Silvano Ippoliti Cinematographer
Tito LeDuc Choreography
Franco Rossellini Producer
Piernico Solinas Asst. Director
Gore Vidal Screenwriter

Read More

Videos

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >