Sunday, August 1, 2010

“Let them hate me, so long as they fear me.”

image The quote that is the title of this post is from the 1979 film Caligula.  One of the most infamous films ever made.  Tonight for the first time, I watched it.  And as much as I love porn, even I was shocked—shocked, I tell you.  This film chronicles the rise and fall of the notorious Roman Emperor Caligula, showing the violent methods that he employs to gain the throne, and the subsequent insanity of his reign - he gives his horse political office and humiliates and executes anyone who even slightly displeases him. He also sleeps with his sister, organizes elaborate orgies and embarks on a fruitless invasion of England before meeting an appropriate end. There are various versions of the film, ranging from the heavily- truncated 90-minute version to the legendary 160-minute hardcore version which leaves nothing to the imagination (though the hardcore scenes were inserted later and do not involve the main cast members).
imageCaligula is a 1979 film directed by Tinto Brass, with additional scenes filmed by Giancarlo Lui and Penthouse founder Bob Guccione. The film concerns the rise and fall of Roman Emperor Gaius Caesar Germanicus, better known as Caligula. Caligula was written by Gore Vidal and co-financed by Penthouse magazine, and produced by Guccione and Franco Rossellini. It stars Malcolm McDowell as the Emperor. Caligula was the first major motion picture to feature eminent film actors (John Gielgud, Peter O'Toole, Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren) in a film with explicit sex scenes.
image With the cast of John Gielgud, Peter O'Toole, Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren, you have to wonder how these actors made a film that was panned by critics; Roger Ebert gave it zero stars, describing it as "sickening, utterly worthless, shameful trash." Perhaps the most scathing comment to ever appear in one of Ebert's reviews is attributed to a third party: "'This movie', said the lady in front of me at the drinking fountain, 'is the worst piece of shit I have ever seen.'" This was one of the few films Ebert ever walked out of; "two hours into its 170 [sic] minute length." Reviewer Leonard Maltin said the film was little more than "chutzpah and six minutes of not-bad hardcore footage." Newsweek magazine called Caligula "a two-and-one-half-hour cavalcade of depravity that seems to have been photographed through a tub of Vaseline."
image Basically, what was done was that the actors in the movie only saw the script for what later became the heavily- truncated 90-minute version.  The rest of the movie was shot by Penthouse founder Bob Guccione.  Guccione essentially made a porn film of orgies, full frontal and graphic nudity, and S&M  bondage scents.  He then spliced those into the movie without the actors knowing it.  The movie contained a lot of nudity before the graphically sexual scenes, but none of the penetrative sex.  You can certainly tell the difference when Caligula (Malcolm McDowell) is taking Livia’s virginity and then fists her husband, which appears to be quite fake, versus the penetrative vaginal and oral sex scenes in the orgy of the Roman Senator’s wives.  None of the main characters appear in the hardcore sex scenes though they can be heard in the background trying to put some continuity to the spliced up movie.
If you like seventies straight porn, a fan of huge thick cocks (and don’t mind seeing naked women), or are bisexual and enjoy straight porn, watch this movie.  The historical accuracy is pretty pitiful, but then what else could you expect from Gore Vidal writing the script.  Overall, I found it a very interesting movie, I just had no idea that is was so, so graphic.
Case in point, all of these pictures are from the movie.
By the way, some people say that this is the worst film of all time.  I say that sometimes a bad movie is fun to watch.  This one is perverse, but still interesting (maybe, fun).

Trailer for a remake Gore Vidal's Caligula (2005)

This is a short film (parody) based on the 1979 film of the same name. The film is stylized with the actors wearing modernized robes and Roman jewelry and females playing male characters and vice-versa. starring : Helen Mirren, Karen Black, Milla Jovovich, Benicio Del Toro, Adriana Asti,Glenn Shadix, Michelle Phillips, Gerard Butler

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