What would you have done if you had been given absolute power of life and death over everybody else in the whole world?
The perversion behind imperial Rome, the epic story of Rome's mad Emporer. All the details of his cruel, bizarre reign are revealed right here: His unholy sexual passion for his sister, his marriage to Rome's most infamous prostitute, his fiendishly inventive means of disposing those who would oppose him, and more.
It's hard (sorry) to know how to review Caligula, especially in its full length (sorry again) version. I've seen lots of 10/10 reviews on other sites, but you can't help feeling (ahem) that they are actually reviewing the behind-the-scenes story. That of course is incredible, hilarious and tragic - all things that the film should be but isn't. It's swollen (cough), sloppy (cough cough) and gets itself into a proper mess (nurse!). Mark Kermode famously said that there was a great film in here waiting to get out, but surely that disappeared up its own rectum (OK that one's just a single entendre) when Brass started interfering (fnarr) with Gore Vidal's original script. You sense that even before Guccione began…
You know Caligula is going to be a special film when "Penthouse International Presents" appears at the beginning of it (Rosellini and Vidal couldn't obtain financing, so they contacted Bob Guccione, founder of Penthouse, to produce their film).
Caligula is a film that went through a lot of problems during its production. Problems with the actors, problems with the script and problems in post-production. Basically, it was a disastrous collaboration between the persons involved, with a project that ultimately became too big for them. And it shows. Because is bad. Pretty bad.
For staters, we have a lot of unnecessary and awkward sex, which was added in order to promote Guccione's magazine. Random naked people will pop-up in every scene…
Mad, bad and wild.
Part of my quest to see as many of Peter O'Toole's films as possible!
DARK, DISTURBING, SICK OR JUST PLAIN WEIRD: Review No.8
*This review is for the Unrated version*
I first saw the cut version of this around 10 years ago. I was fairly unimpressed, it seemed to not make a lot of sense in places and i couldn't see what all the hype was about. This was my first viewing of the Unedited Unrated version and i've got to say, what a difference it makes. Now some 2.5/3hrs long, the film suddenly makes so much more sense. All loose ends have been tied up and i thoroughly enjoyed it!
This version is VERY explicit, at parts it's just like one huge porno orgy, it's dark, depraved, sexy and funny. From the moment…
pretty impressive to get such a decadent, unfocussed bio-pic done in a high end production. maybe the best example for hollywood cocaine hystery in the late 70ies/early 80ies. you gotta love the exploitation and malcolm mcdowells craziness. thank you, drugs!
Hard core sex acts going on in this film, Explicit Oral acts at that. Id like to look more into this film and its history. The film itself around all this is pretty enjoyable, over the top and both fun and dramatic. Malcolm Mcdowell is so great and over the top playing the lead, you could say this is a bad film, but the film balances everything quite well, the sex is everywhere of course. nothing wrong with that.
Holy naked people Batman. Just nakedness everywhere. Malcolm McDowell is phenomenal as always. Helen Mirren is super foxy. Peter O'Toole also fantastic for as long as he lasts.
A mess and a bit dull, but I don't regret finally sitting down and watching it. While over-the-top portrayal of Caligula's cruelty and madness was fascinating (if not hard to watch sometimes), the movie could have worked if the director and screenwriter could have understood each other better.
1 out of 5 (D+)
Weird, weird movie. You are not culturally literate if you have not seen this film. And if you haven't, you are one damned lucky son of a bitch.
Caligula was so kind of a happy coincidence, after watching Quo Vadis and Spartacus, long time ago I thought that another movie with roman title would be good. But this one is actually subsidized by Penthouse and produced by Tito Brass. Even better Malcolm McDowell is Caligula and the movie involved in polemic ended up reaching the screen only 4 years after.
I had to buy the extra 201 min version and we get one of the weirdest historic movies ever made. Starting with Tiberius the movie follows the reign of terror of Caligula and is most of the time ultra sexual/erotic and depraved. If it wasn’t for the presence of Peter O’toole you would classify this as light porn, but it is still good non-the-less.
Still outrageous and bewildering. (this was the 'Imperial Edition'). McDowell couldn't be better.
'Caligula' is a strange film, first extended with soft-porn scenes, and then reduced again to a 'normal' film, it still managed to remain a mess which didn't really have any focus or know where it was going.
Malcolm McDowell is an interesting choice for the lead. Building on his performance in the earlier 'A Clockwork Orange', he invests the character of Caligula with wit, sarcasm, and psychosis. His portrayal is pure evil.
In support are such luminaries as John Gielgud and Peter O'Toole, who are both memorable. There's a nice story from Sian Phillips, who was Livia in 'I, Claudius' and Mrs O'Toole at this time, who recalls visiting her husband on set and remarking how cheap the costumes were…