165 of 174 people found the following review helpful
Uncut? Or Unfettered?,
This review is from: Caligula  (Imperial Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
Ah, "Caligula"... Is it Hardcore drivel, or a highbrow masterpiece on a level with "I, Claudius"? (With Hardcore drivel inserted, of course). Whatever your opinion, it can only be surmised that all participants hadn't a clue what they were getting themselves into. The director(s), the actors, even the editors seem like innocents here; and the story behind it is one that can hardly be believed, in the context of the modern esteem "period" works are held.
Bob Guccione, Penthouse Scion and overall Peddler of Smut had dreams of producing something that would survive the ages and be held as a work of high regard (with hardcore bits in it). Hence, erotic director Tinto Brass was hired for the job - and somehow Guccione and Brass persuaded some of the greatest British Thesps of the period to sign on to acting in it. How? simple. NONE of them had any idea of what they had gotten themselves into. Had Brass been given Final Cut them perhaps their sensibilites wouldn't have been too scorched, but Guccione, horrified with the film that Brass had presented, locked the poor hack out of the editing room, re-cut the film with a blunt instrument (resembling a dirty spoon, most probably) and added many hardcore inserts. Hence, a Legend was born - a near-pornographic epic with John Gielgud in it. Only in America...
Over the years, the film has been presented in many truncated forms; in 1979 the BBFC massively cut the film down to 1 Hour 42 minutes from it's original 2 Hours 36 minutes. But now, for the first time in this country we can see the full film in all it's (smutty) glory. The set includes 4 discs - The original UK version, the uncut version and an "Alternate" version that is 2 Hours 33 Minutes long, but with the smut "covered up" by alternate camera angles and differing sequences and the like. The 4th disc is comprised by a lavish set of extras, such as interview, press notes etc. So, what's not to like? Even if such a film offends your "Stiff Upper Lip", at least you now have the option to actually SEE it. Thanks, BBFC!