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Thread: Gore Vidal's "Caligula"

  1. #1
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    Gore Vidal's "Caligula"

    I bought this dvd a while back, but a buddy of mine "borrowed it" (aka took it and hoped I'd forget he had it till I threatened to beat his brains in) for close to two years.

    Once I finally got it back, I wanted to watch it again. Amazingly, as I sat through it again (my second time) last night, I was taken back by so much I never really saw the first time around.

    The storyline is the main problem with Caligula. Gore Vidal and Tinto Brass just never could see eye-to-eye on anything and the result (with some unecessary help from Bob Guccione) is a choppy, scene to scene expose that never builds any momentum.

    With their willingness to "show it all", this version of Caligula could have been so much more, but alas, it is essentially a stage set for the occasional soft core and hard core pornography that Guccione wanted in the film.

    Anyone else have any opinions about this "most controversial film ever"?

  2. #2
    Send lawyers guns & money Howard Farmer's Avatar
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    Re: Gore Vidal's "Caligula"

    Gotta agree with the storyline problem. It's weak for sure. There's a lot to it but it's laid out in such a thin manner. The cinematography is competent but lackluster and wastes the authentic and often massive sets. I revisit the movie from time to time but only a few scenes at a time, and since it's more of a spectacle than anything else it doesn't matter where I drop in or out. Not much of the sex is sexy, the gore ain't too gorey. I think the actors are all fine. It's a weird movie. I think it's important as a relic from the film history archives. SOMEbody had to make SOMEthing like this. It had to happen and now we've got this weirdass movie forever.
    BTW the "making of" feature with Bob "Goldchains and Chestrug" Guccione is an interesting hunk of history too. Ah, the cocaine days...

  3. #3
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    Re: Gore Vidal's "Caligula"

    I've always had a soft spot for this one. It was the first "porn" movie I ever saw. This is, for me the ultimate "only in the seventies" movie and a classic case of what might have been. Fellini at one time was involved along with Maria Schneider. I found an article in Time Magazine from 1975 where Vidal is bitching about Brass and Malcolm Mcdowell changing the focus of his script because they were both uncomfortable with the script's focus on Caligula's bisexuality. It boggles my mind as to what this could have been. I've always agreed with what the Boston Phoenix said about it that it looks like a two and half hour coming attraction the way it's structured but still it is one of my favorites

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    Re: Gore Vidal's "Caligula"

    Well, I would like to see Brass' real cut of the film without the hardcore stuff that was spliced in by the producer Guccione. Having said that, I really don't like the film or anything by Brass for that matter. I just find the film an exercise in bad taste.

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    Re: Gore Vidal's "Caligula"

    I find that this movie has actually gotten better with age. Now it looks (in comparison to most porn of that era) to be a unique product. Never again will we see $17 million plus well-known actors combine with hard porn and gore. Parts of it even have camp value. This is now one of my most prized films.

    FYI--If you want a comparision, watch the R-rated cut (which shows up on Cinemax every now & then) & see how much was hacked out for an R-rating. (FYI--The R-rated version did get a wider release in 1981 as I know it played a number of theaters & drive-ins in the LA market then.)
    "The masses are a**es"

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    Re: Gore Vidal's "Caligula"

    Yeah, the R-rated version is totally unwatchable!

    You are right Howard, about the Making Of.. feature, it's good and I re-watched it after the movie the other night. I was laughing at Gucci trying to be all sophisticated and serious about the film as if we're supposed to believe him when he says, "We were trying to go for the real, authentic Rome, pagan Rome" to justify all the hard core.

    He's a trip!

  7. #7
    Tycoon Of Industry Tim Mayer's Avatar
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    Re: Gore Vidal's "Caligula"

    Bob G's next feature was supposed to be KATHRINE THE GREAT. Somehow it never happened. Maybe in another universe it did.

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    Re: Gore Vidal's "Caligula"

    I also recall that Guccione was going to do a film version of Lady Godiva (and in an LA Times article on Caligula, it was mentioned as his next film project. The actress who would be picked was to be nude for much of the picture.). I suspect it was hard to get financing for it, so it was never made. (And Caligula itself had plenty of heat from obscenity prosecution attempts in several markets, including Atlanta, Boston, and Dallas.)
    "The masses are a**es"

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    Alicia/GaGa/Snooki fan Ryan B's Avatar
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    Re: Gore Vidal's "Caligula"

    It's alright as whole. It's wierd, the uncensored version feels like it's missing something and it drags and the R-Rated cut feels worse.

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    Re: Gore Vidal's "Caligula"

    Check out this website:
    The Caligula SuperSite

  11. #11
    Scholar of Sleaze Paul A J Lewis's Avatar
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    Re: Gore Vidal's "Caligula"

    I like Giovanni Tinto (Brass)'s work, but this movie is a mess. However, despite its clumsy stature, I have a soft spot for this film: I spent years trying to get hold of an uncut copy of the movie, finally acquiring a dupe of the Dutch VHS release. (I've currently got the Dutch 2-disc release.)

    I'd love to see the much longer Cannes cut, which is rumoured to still exist.

  12. #12
    Registered User Ingolf Eskedahl's Avatar
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    Wink Re: Gore Vidal's "Caligula"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Mayer
    Bob G's next feature was supposed to be KATHRINE THE GREAT. Somehow it never happened. Maybe in another universe it did.
    Had a Danish ex-rental vhs of a German porn based on stories about Kathrine, it was from the early 80´ ore late 70´, proper 35mm and pretty classy. It had one ore two bloody scenes, and some pretty good sex scenes.
    It all ended with Katherine trying to make sweet love to a horse.

    It might be this one.....

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085777/

  13. #13
    Viva Maurizio Merli! Jonny Redman's Avatar
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    Re: Gore Vidal's "Caligula"

    I love 'Caligula'.

    NUDITY! RUDENESS!!!
    Beware!













    This film has my all time favourite blow job scene...



    You can't beat a good 'two hander'...
    Last edited by Jonny Redman; 01-17-2006 at 06:47 PM.

  14. #14
    Registered User Walter Green's Avatar
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    Re: Gore Vidal's "Caligula"

    After years of deliberating on whether to buy this or not I've decided to make the purchase. The only problem I'm having is which version to buy?
    It's either the Penthouse unrated or the 2 disc CE from France. The French disc has better picture quality and better extras but I'm concerened about it's uncut status, having read contradicting reports on the internet.

    Anyone seen both, and can help me out?

    Thanks

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    Re: Gore Vidal's "Caligula"

    scott favareille wrote in the 8th message on this thread:
    (And Caligula itself had plenty of heat from obscenity prosecution attempts in several markets, including Atlanta, Boston, and Dallas.)
    On Thursday February 10, 2000, the Ontario Film Review Board (OFRB) - the film and video censor board of the Government of Ontario - banned the commercial distribution (i.e., the "distribut[ion] for direct or indirect gain") within Ontario of the 156-minute version of Tinto Brass et al.'s Caligula:

    Distributor: Behaviour Distribution
    Address: 2221 Yonge Street, Suite 400

    Film Seq.: 2000589 - Feature
    Date Classified: 2000/02/10
    Title: Caligula
    Description: Adult Sex Film
    Classification: Not Approved
    Film Format: 35mm Film Format
    Country of Origin: United States
    Language: English
    Original Length (Min.): 156
    Elimination: Y

    Eliminations:
    Reel 1, Minute 17: Scenes of torture, which include a restrained man's penis being tied and the man forced to drink wine.
    Reel 1, Minute 18: Scene of bestiality, including the insertion of a snake into a vagina.
    Reel 1, Minute 22: Tortured man in 1:17 above being explicitly stabbed, with portrayals of extreme bloodletting, tissue damage, and brutality.
    Reel 2, Minute 34: Scenes of torture, including scenes of bondage, whipping, and spikes stabbed into a vagina.
    Reel 3, Minute 49 - Reel 3, Minute 60: Scenes of incest, including explicit sexual activity among siblings.
    Reel 4, Minute 72: Scenes of sexual violence, including rape, coercion, and physical abuse.
    Reel 5, Minute 99 - Reel 6, Minute 101: Scenes of torture, including bondage, explicit stabbing, and castration. Scenes of explicit urination on another person. Scenes of indignities to a human body, including castration, urination on a dead body, and the feeding of severed genitalia to dogs.
    Reel 6, Minute 103: Bondage depiction involving pain.
    Reel 6, Minute 110: Scene of necrophilia.
    Reel 7, Minute 126 - Reel 7, Minute 136: Scenes of coercion and verbal degradation.

    Notes:
    Portrayals of debauchery and violence in ancient Rome. This video is not approved pursuant to section 14 of Regulation 1031 under the Theatres Act, subsection 2 as circled below. (2)(a) a graphic or prolonged scene of violence, torture, crime, cruelty, horror or human degradation. (2)(b) the depiction of the physical abuse or humiliation of human beings for purposes of sexual gratification or as pleasing to the victim. More - see file.

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