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The Imperial Edition,
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This review is from: Caligula  (Imperial Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
You cannot defend 'Caligula'. It is a monstrous epic of over excess in almost every way possible. Useless porn spliced into an already labyrinthine production, oppulent sets, brilliant ideas, twisted imagery, crazed camerawork, hysteria and madness. It's closest cousin - bizarrely - is Gibson's 'Passion' in the sense of it being a film you admire for its balls, but don't necessarily approve of. And yet, 'Caligula' is fascinating. Perverse for all the wrong reasons and yet - genuinely - bordering of maniacal, bloody insane genius. The fact that it fails so magnificently is fitting for the production. A weak-kneed, boring film would have been a disaster. Okay, 'Caligula' might veer towards boring in some places (usually involving the 'Penthouse pets') but it is also the stuff of cinematic legend, graced with some of the finest British actors of the time.
This version is similar to the US 'Imperial Edition' except you have an extra disc (and I presume it is the cut to pieces version, which is going to stay in the box and never see the light of day). Like the 'Imperial Edition' you get the full, uncensored version (with lots of hardcore porn - working in the boat orgy and in the pleasure palace of Tberius, but nowhere else) and a rough edit with different and extended takes and really badly filmed inserts of softcore porn, shot on a different film stock. This cut on the US disc has 2 commentaries by Malcolm McDowell and Helen Mirren. The track with McDowell is an absolute blast.
The disc of extras has various documentaries and interviews that veer from genuinely interesting to late 70's promotional blag.
I agree with Mark Kermode that there is 'a bloody good film somewhere in Caligula' - at least you have the opportunity (at long last) to judge for yourself and quite possibly enjoy one of the most controversial films ever made. Don't get me wrong, it's a piece of sh*t, but it still stands head and shoulders above the growing, disposable dung heap of contemporary cinema.
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Initial post: 28 Jun 2013 12:18:38 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Jun 2013 12:19:04 BDT
In my opinion it's closest cousin is Ken Russell's 'The Devils' - both have 'opulent sets, hysteria, madness and twisted imagery' ... and both leave a bad taste in the mouth.
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