CALIGULA, extremely controversial for it's extreme violence and sex back in the day 1979 to be exact originally suppose to be a straight mainstream Erotic Drama film based on real life Roman emperor Caligula who was infact emperor of Rome many centuries ago screenplay written by Gore vidal & Directed by Erotic film director Tinto Brass but the Producer of the film Bob Guccione had other ideas, Bob was also magazine producer of Penthouse back in the 70's Bob got his own film crew & 2 of his own penthouse pets one of them is Lori wagner and filmed an incredible lesbian scene, plus other hardcore sex scenes very controversial back in 1978-79 anyway when the scenes were shot Bob went behind Tinto brass and inserted them into the Theatrical cut making the runtime of the film 156mins known as the Unrated cut version so the film ended up being shown in mainstream cinemas with the hardcore sex scenes so the film was pulled from cinema release straight away, of course Tinto brass was extremely angry and tried to submit a law suit on Bob Guccione which went on for years on end Tinto brass ended up going back to the film taking out all the Graphic sex scenes known as the Alternate cut version so there's 2 versions of the film the Alternate cut which runs for about 2hrs was released to home rental VHS tape back in the 80's the Alternate cut is focused more on the story/characters and the longer Unrated cut which ended up on bootleg VHS tape Arrowfilms got the rights to CALIGULA for U.K. release which is ALL REGIONS i have the 2013 blu-ray reissue which doesn't specify the actual ratio just says 16:9 so i played the film and Disc 1 156min Unrated cut version is 2:00:1 ratio with both master audio 5.0 & 2.0 mix looks like Arrow used the same HD transfer as the U.S. IMAGE ENT' blu-ray but Arrow didn't carry over the Alternate cut version & didn't carry over the Macolm McDowell audio commentary from the U.S. blu-ray the 2:00:1 HD transfer does have 1inch thick top & bottom black bars on the screen so it's not 1:85:1 ratio nethertheless the picture looks very Good very nice sharp & clear much better than the bootleg VHS quality Disc 1 has extras aswell but they're Deleted & alternate scenes, North american bonus footage & behind the scenes Documentary which has been dubbed with classical music for some reason and the original Theatrical trailer of the film Disc 2 is DVD which has the rest of the special features making of Caligula Documentary 60mins in 1:33:1 ratio & the alternate 10min featurette also new indepth interviews with Actor John steiner 24mins, Lori wagner-28mins & Tinto brass 35minsTinto explains the big arguments him & Bob Guggione had on-set now the U.S. IMAGE Blu-ray THE IMPERIAL EDITION is also ALL REGIONS and has basically the same extras content as the arrow blu-ray but Disc 1 has both the 156 Unrated cut & new alternate release version aswell both versions are in 2:00:1 ratio the same as the Arrow blu-ray the sound quality is 5.0 master mix & 2.0 master stereo mix the 5.0 mix is much better sound quality than the 2.0, but it's a matter of opinion the extras on Disc 1 is new audio commentary with Malcolm McDowell & Helen mirren only on the Alternate version there's also Deleted scenes, theatrical trailers Disc 2 is DVD which has the same extras content as the Arrow films blu-ray DVD Arrow did include a thick booklet which has text interview with Malcolm McDowell about Caligula but Caligula is only briefly talked about, Clockwork orange was also mentioned aswell so full 3 stars for the Arrow blu-ray mainly cause arrow didn't include the Alternate version of the film aswell and didn't include the Malcolm McDowell audio commentary either 5 stars for the U.S. Image blu-ray
Following some of the other reviews reprinted beneath this new Caligula DVD I foolishly thought I would be getting 2/3 different cuts of the same movie: sort of, 1) Oh My!, 2) Goodness Gracious Me!, and 3) Fetch my Smelling Salts!!!
What you get is just the one. CALIGULA UNCUT, Tinto Brass directing with pornographic inserts directed by B. Guccione. Penthouse Films International, no less.
Penthouse Films International, people. So no more pretence of dismay or sneering disregard for the hardcore bits. You're watching it because it's a film about carnality, about the body being abused, raped, tortured, tantalized and tossed out again. I can't decide now having sat through all 2.5 hrs, with only a very slight use of the FF button, whether this film could be used to wean someone off of an addiction to pornography, or to wean them on to it.
Other reviewers complain of hardcore 'drivel' (should that be 'dribble'?) but it is the scenes of lascivious torture and murder which really sicken the soul. The murder of Tiberius (Peter O'Toole, playing older than Sir John Gielgud) by Macro; the execution of Macro by Caligula (a killing contraption worthy of Clive Barker); the rape and the later torture and murder of the young officer, accused of treason in so far as he is an honest Roman when the population is made up of crooks. Alongside all of this and the rather garish and typically Tinto Brass vulgarity, those late night scenes of sex shot by Guccione at least have honest intent, and being 'filmed' as part of a major movie production, by porn standards they're almost beautiful.
Does such a point of view make you recoil? Then ask yourself: why is this notorious movie now available uncut and over the counter with a standard 18 certificate? Because we have changed. For better or worse, we don't shock so easily anymore.
Gielgud and O'Toole at least have the good fortune to get out early. Helen Mirren also manages to come out smelling of roses, despite playing the Emperor's tart. McDowell throws himself into the quagmire with perfect abandon, and in truth any weaknesses to the performances can only be attributed to the shallowness and emptiness of the whole enterprise.
Who would have guessed such a cock and ball(s) story could be so boring?
Very disappointed - this was sold as the unrated edition, which I assumed was the same as the unedited edition. I'm old enough to remember the unedited version from before videos were required to carry certification, I also purchased an unedited version from Amazon previously (unfortunately stolen), this version was so heavily edited you could almost see the marks left by the scissor blades. I don't know when or if this film might be rereleased in its original format so this copy will do to remember it by - but I do wish the advertising had been clearer.
The most sexually explicit film I have seen, leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination. However, if you are looking for a great roman feature film with a memorable storyline along with great directing then sadly, despite some top class actors this is undoubtedly at the botton of the barrel. It is simply a pure porn film with a roman theme.