Caligula (Three-Disc Imperial Edition)
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Before Rome. Before Gladiator. The most controversial film of all time as you've never experienced it before! Combining lavish spectacle and top award-winning stars, this landmark production was shrouded in secrecy since its first day of filming. Now, this unprecedented special edition presents a bolder and more revealing Caligula than ever before, with a beautiful new high-definition transfer from recently uncovered negative elements and hours of never-before-seen bonus material! From the moment he ascends to the throne as Emperor, Caligula enforces a reign like no other as power and corruption transform him into a deranged beast whose deeds still live on as some of the most depraved in history.
Malcolm McDowell (NBC's top-rated Heroes, Rob Zombie's Halloween, A Clockwork Orange, Time After Time, If..., Cat People and O Lucky Man), Helen Mirren: 2007 Academy Award & Golden Globe Winner for The Queen; 2007 Emmy & Golden Globe winner for HBO's Elizabeth I; star of hit TV series Prime Suspect and films including National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Calendar Girls, Excalibur, The Mosquito Coast, and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover), Peter O'Toole (Lawrence of Arabia, The Lion in Winter, The Ruling Class, My Favorite Year, Venus, The Stunt Man), John Gielgud (Gandhi, The Elephant Man, Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, Alfred Hitchcock's Secret Agent, and Academy Award-winning role in Arthur).
Supporting cast includes a wide array of European cult actors including Teresa Ann Savoy (Salon Kitty), John Steiner (Mario Bava's Shock), Leopoldo Trieste (Cinema Paradiso), Mirella D'Angelo (Tenebrae), Paolo Bonacelli (Mission: Impossible III) and Adriana Asti (The Best of Youth).
Caligula is also a career curiosity for author Gore Vidal, who wrote the original screenplay, but later demanded his name be removed from the credits, and venerable actors Peter O'Toole, appearing briefly as the syphilitic Emperor Tiberius Caesar, and John Gielgud as Nerva, a Senator who'd rather take his own life than "live with this reptile." This controversial film's tortured history is untangled in a very helpful booklet that is packaged along with this set's three discs. One is hard-pressed to think of a more reviled film graced with such a gala presentation, but Caligula's defenders and the curious will be amply rewarded with both the original uncut theatrical version of the film and a re-edited alternate version. Supplementary material includes an hour of deleted footage, a pretentious "making of" documentary made during the film's production and a new interview with director Tinto Brass, whose softcore tendencies clashed with Guccioni's more extreme vision (Brass did not have final cut, allowing Guccione to insert more explicit footage into the film). McDowell contributes his own lively audio commentary. "God help us," he groans as the film begins, but by its bloody conclusion, he proclaims he has "no regrets at all" about making the film. Caligula, Mirren maintains, is "an irresistible mix of art and genitals." And you've got to hand it to Guccione. Especially in these politically correct times, it is still strong and scandalous stuff. --Donald Liebenson
Top Customer Reviews
Disc One contains an unrated X-rated version including all the Bob Guccione inserted scenes of somewhat hardcore sex acts. The editing is a little off as Guccione assembled this cut from what Tinto Brass directed and put some scenes out of order thus blurring the narrative and character development.
Disc Two contains a pre-release cut of the film without the hardcore scenes, and a more logical progression of scenes assembled to depict the order Tinto Brass wanted them in. It runs 3 minutes shorter, and you'll notice alternate footage in many scenes. Three commentaries are delivered over this version with Malcolm McDowell on one, Helen Mirren on the second, and Ernest Volkman on the final track. Each are joined by authors and film critics who help keep the conversation flowing and on topic. Also included are a dozen cut and alternate takes.
The third disc contains featurettes, interviews, and archival footage from the production. A 1980 documentary proves interesting and provides more graphic footage.
The transfer is improved, but still looks blurred and lacking in contrast. The reason for some of this is the movie was shot like a magazine spread with soft focus cameras. It's never super clear, and there's plenty of grain and digital artifacts to contend with.
This is the best the film has ever looked, and has tons of extra material to wade through. A dream for collectors, and a nightmare for the detractors.Read more ›
"Caligula" does have some merit from the historical point of view, surely already present in Gore Vidal's original script. It's also very weak in many points.
The bare events of Caligula's life and reign are actually quite accurate. It may surprise many viewers that most of the secondary characters - Emperor Tiberius, Senator Nerva, the praetorian prefect Macro, Tiberius's grandson and Caligula's rival for the succession Gemellus, Caesonia, Chaerea (who murdered Caligula), his sister Drusilla - were all historical and, as far as the facts have come down to us, their portrayal in "Caligula" was fairly accurate, at least according to some ancient authors.
Tiberius did retire to the island of Capri in his last years and did invite the elderly Nerva to join him there, and ancient authors do claim that he indulged in sexual perversions there. Nerva really committed suicide as shown in the movie.
The conversations between Caligula, Nerva and Tiberius, probably by Vidal, really reflect contemporary views and issues - for instance, the deification of Julius Caesar and Augustus, Tiberius's predecessors: Tiberius was totally cynical about the whole thing, whereas Caligula firmly believed it. Throughout the movie, many of Caligula's lines come straight from ancient authors.
On the other hand, Nerva's comment on Caligula's "gift for logic" seems to owe more to Camus than to ancient sources - still, a nice touch, I thought.Read more ›
The DVD has these things going for it: the creepy music added to the menu (the same as the opening title with the quote from Mark), the 30 chapters nicely divided up, the documentary about the making of featuring Gore Vidal and Bob Guccione (although in places everyone's face looked way too pale, but it was an old '70s film), and the sound is far superior to the VHS from what I can remember.
But this is Caligula and I would definitely not let anyone under 18 (or maybe even 21) watch it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Why Spanish subtitles?? Had I known they were to be on the screen, I would have never purchased the DVD.Published 6 days ago by John R. Maloney
Caligula a very strong adult movie this version Has R-rated and x-rated version and a lot of special features interviews with the woman that had a part in the movie check it if you... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Kenneth J Brower
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|A Longer Version of Caligula||
You can't. The footage is lost and is unlikely to surface.
The film was edited twice over as scenes were reshot several times and certain names wanted less association with it...the unedited version that screened in Cannes (not at the film festival mind you) was 210 minutes and likely... Read More
May 22, 2007 by K. Driscoll | See all 3 posts
|Caligula - Imperial Edition||
Because it was originally supposed to include a fourth disc which was a music CD containing the full soundtrack of the film but this was very recently taken out of the package for legal reasons.
Aug 4, 2007 by Ricardo Zaldivar | See all 3 posts
|Do we get to see Macro naked?||
Hi Scott: I had the privilege of knowing Guido Mannari (Macro) in Italy several years ago (he passed away in 1988). I asked him about that very issue. He told me that one of the conditions of his contract was no nude scenes for him. Other interesting facts: Peter O'Toole was drunk during most of... Read More
Aug 8, 2008 by Eileen | See all 3 posts
|how much sex and nudity is in this version?||
I saw the original 30 years ago and it had a LOT OF SEX! Graphic and violent. Certainly not a film for the faint of heart.
May 31, 2015 by Elsie | See all 4 posts
|what does each disc contain in the imperial version?||Be the first to reply|
|Where are the outtakes???||Be the first to reply|