Distributor: Image (Penthouse Video) Edition Details: 20th Anniversary Edition, Complete Unrated and Unedited Version A.K.A.: Gore Vidal's Caligula, Caligula My Son, Io Caligula Run Time: Two hours and 36 minutes Rated: Unrated Year of Release: 1980 Directors: Tinto Brass, Bob Guccione, Giancarlo Lui Written by: Gore Vidal (story & screenplay), Bob Guccione, Giancarlo Lui (additional dialog) Cast: Malcolm McDowell, Teresa Ann Savoy, Helen Mirren, Peter O'Toole, John Steiner, Guido Mannari, Paolo Bonacelli, Leopoldo Trieste, Giancarlo Badessi, Mirella Dangelo, Anneka Di Lorenzo, Lori Wagner, Adriana Asti, John Gielgud
Audio: 2.0 English Dolby Stereo, 5.1 English AC-3 Dolby Digital Surround Subtitles: none Video: Widescreen, 1.85:1 Regional Code: 0 (All) Disc: Dual Layered, Single Sided Special Features: Filmographies, The Making of Caligula
Pagan, Rome, 37 AD to 41 AD. Caligula tells the story of the rise and fall of Roman Emperor Caligula. The majority of the film shows the descent of a man who is in love with his sister that is driven mad by absolute power.
Caligula is presented in a matted widescreen, 1.85:1, ratio which is the original theatrical aspect ratio of the film. This presentation contains artifacts in most of the scenes and in a few scenes the film is grainy. The picture is sharp and the color levels are good. Overall, this is the best presentation of this film that I have seen.
The available audio tracks are an English 2.0 Dolby Stereo track and a 5.1 English AC-3 Dolby Digital Surround track. The 2.0 track sounds flat and very dated. The 5.1 track has been beautifully remastered to have deep and filling sound. No other language tracks and no subtitle options are available.
There are 30 chapters available from the main menu for Caligula, making easy navigation to most parts of the film very easy. For those who are interested in only the sex scenes, there are no chapters that go directly to them. There is a time code for this film.
Caligula doesn't offer much for special features, but those here have to do with the feature film. There are filmographies of the main stars: Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren, Peter O'Toole and John Gielgud. The Making of Caligula a 56 minute in depth documentary into the making of Caligula. The documentary is half a promotional piece and half deals with the making of the film. This disc isn't worth purchasing for the special features alone, but they definitely compliment the film.
Often referred to as the first and only $15 million dollar porno. As controversial today as back when it was made. The infamous Caligula. What do you get when you have a movie produced by Penthouse Films International and Bob Guccione starring Sir John Gielgud, Peter O'Toole, Malcolm McDowell and Helen Mirren originally penned by noted historical screenwriter Gore Vidal? Not erotica, but a mix of grisly violence and graphic sexual intercourse never before seen and probably never to be seen again.
How are the infamous hardcore sex scenes? There isn't much to them. Most of them are very short. The longest one is a lesbian scene with Lori Wagner and Annika Di Lorenzo which lasts for three minutes. Most of the rest of the scenes involve only blow jobs. There are barely any scenes of penetration or of cum shots. Many of the themes presented are disturbing there is a long running theme of incest and there is a short pissing scene onto a corpse. The sex that is present isn't very erotic because of the horrific violence present in the film.
The prolific violence will probably turn away many potential viewers. This is definitely not a film for those with a weak stomach. There are many deaths throughout the film including by decapitation, disembowelment and being whipped to death.
Caligula sports great acting from everyone involved, especially from Sir John Gielgud as Nirva and by Guido Mannari as Macro. Peter O'Toole and Malcolm McDowell can come across as over the top at times. The film also contains lavish, extravagant sets. Overall, Caligula is probably the most realistic portrayal of ancient Rome ever presented, although it does get excessive at times.
The disc is well set up and the menus look great. The film is presented in a matted widescreen instead of an anamorphic widescreen, so owners of widescreen televisions will hate this film. With the work that went into putting this disc together it would have been nice if they had gone all the way and made it an anamorphic disc.
The Money Shot:
Caligula is a mainstream film with graphic sex, not a typical adult film and that should be taken into consideration before purchasing or renting. If you are looking for a film to get stimulated by or get off on, this is not the film to do it. If the film sounds good to you and you are not squemish or easily offended I would recommend this film be rented before purchasing. Caligula is also available in an hour and 42 minute R-rated cut from Image as well, which has had 48 minutes removed from it. I have never seen the R-rated cut so I can't comment on it's continuity.
The opinions expressed in this review of Caligula (Unrated Version) from Penthouse are not necessarily the opinions of Adult DVD Talk. Adult DVD Talk provides a public forum for consumers to post their DVD reviews. Adult DVD Talk does not edit these reviews.