Special Edition, 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).
Remember the dumbstruck, jaw-dropped expressions on "Springtime for Hitler's" shocked opening-night audience in Mel Brooks's original film of The Producers? That will no doubt be your face through much of the two-and-a-half-hour running time of this infamous 1979 pornographic epic that was a (Penthouse) pet project of publisher Bob Guccione. That's not necessarily a bad thing. But don't take our word for it. Listen to Helen Mirren--yes, the Oscar-winning Queen herself--who stars as Caesonia, Caligula's third wife and "the most promiscuous woman in Rome" (and in this film's salacious vision of Pagan Rome, that is saying something). In her very gracious, thoughtful and candid audio commentary that alone is worth the price of this set, she remarks, "I think it's a movie that is unlike any other, which is difficult to achieve." And for those of a more prurient bent, she adds, "It has an awful lot of bottoms." Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) gives a brave and fearless performance as Caligula, the hated and feared emperor corrupted by absolute power and no doubt voted Most Likely to Be Assassinated. The film unflinchingly charts his plummet into madness and the brutality of his reign in scenes of hardcore sex and violence that cannot be described here ("I can't watch," Mirren cries to her interviewers over one scene in which unfortunate characters are beheaded by a blade-spinning combine. "I can't even listen to it").
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
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I'm a huge fan of Helen Mirren, granted this is not her her best film but it's a great way can see where she started along with Malcolm McDowell. astounded by the fact how many huge actors are in this film. Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren, Peter O'Toole, John Geilgud, Teresa Ann Savoy and John Steiner are just to name a few.